Are we sick of hearing about General McChrystal’s Rolling Stone interview, yet? I don’t know what to make of it, myself…. talk about buyer’s remorse:
Even though he had voted for Obama, McChrystal and his new commander in chief failed from the outset to connect. The general first encountered Obama a week after he took office, when the president met with a dozen senior military officials in a room at the Pentagon known as the Tank. According to sources familiar with the meeting, McChrystal thought Obama looked “uncomfortable and intimidated” by the roomful of military brass. Their first one-on-one meeting took place in the Oval Office four months later, after McChrystal got the Afghanistan job, and it didn’t go much
better. “It was a 10-minute photo op,” says an adviser to McChrystal. “Obama clearly didn’t know anything about him, who he was. Here’s the guy who’s going to run his fucking war, but he didn’t seem very engaged. The Boss was pretty disappointed.”
The Rolling Stone editor says McChrystal saw the piece before it was published and didn’t object….so, apparently he didn’t mind if it got back to the White House, which of course, it would. One could even assume that he wanted it to get back to the White House – but why???
Most pundits on the right are saying, this was not a shrewd move on McChrystal’s part. Captain Ed says it best:
That is the kind of revelation that either a commander of a theater of war saves for his memoirs, or resigns to make to Congress. During the war, however, the expectation is that all sides refrain from airing this kind of dirty laundry. McChrystal appears not to know that. Worse yet, these and other anecdotes from his inner circle appear to show that McChrystal either tolerates or actively encourages disrespect for the civilian leadership that runs the US military.
According to Byron York, McChrystal has a history of bad-mouthing civilian leaders, but why would he do it so publicly, and to a President who is famously “thin skinned”, and “ass-kicking”?
James Pinkerton at Fox News doesn’t think that Obama will fire McChrystal:
My guess is that McChrystal will survive his post. The words attributed to him and his team in Rolling Stone–he felt “betrayed” by the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan; James Jones, the national security adviser, is a “clown”; and, perhaps most stark of all, he regarded “the wimps in the White House” as an enemy–were pretty strong, bordering on insubordination, and yet his apology was pretty abject.
And Obama really can’t afford to fire McChrystal in 2010, as Lincoln fired McClellan in 1862, and as Truman fired MacArthur in 1951. If the president does fire McChrystal, his administration will then see an enormous blow-up over Afghanistan policy, with critics on both the hawkish right and the dovish left pounding away at the commander in chief in the muddled middle.
Moreover, Obama might think to himself that if he fires McChrystal, he will be minting a possible new Republican presidential or vice presidential candidate to oppose him in 2012.
Why are we assuming he’d run on a Republican ticket if he voted for Obama? I don’t know about you, but that was the most disturbing aspect of the story for me.
There are conflicting reports about McChrystal resigning….did he or didn’t he?
The last update at Sister Toldjah’s: Clarification from Joe Klein: Gen. McChrystal as “offered to resign” he has NOT submitted his resignation.
A top aide to General McChrystal did resign.