Thoughts on the McChrystal Fallout

I am not quite sure what to make of the resignation/firing of General Stanley McChrystal, so I will break down my thoughts into individual, unrelated bullets in this post.

1) Rolling Stone is absolutely ridiculous. Their SOLE political purpose is to have their face so deeply buried in the President’s crotch that they can’t see the rest of the world around them. They just ruined a man’s career – a man who has fought bravely for his country and who was involved in some of the most secretive and dangerous black-ops in the war on terror (which we’re no longer fighting, apparently). This was their repayment to him for allowing one of their “journalists” (and I use the term loosely) into his trusted inner circle – to stab him in the back and relay private jokes and shop-talk complaints to the general public. EVERYONE in the military complains about their superiors in private. Hell, everyone in the civilian world complains about their superiors in private, too. I can’t think of a job where someone doesn’t complain about their boss. Even the self-employed complain. RS took advantage of the situation here. In the article, they clearly state that at one point during the interview, most of McChrystal’s aides (“Team America”) were “shitfaced” at a bar following a dinner where the general made an appearance. If you get a bunch of people liquored up and ask them about their boss (or their boss’s boss, in this case), they’re going to say things that they wouldn’t otherwise say – things that may be detrimental to someone’s career if spoken aloud in a public place or to a journalist who will publish those comments.

2) McChrystal, as most conservative pundits are quick to point out, is not a politician. He doesn’t give a damn if you don’t like him. He’s just there to get a job done, and to do it right. He has no tolerance for the BS and politics involved in Washington, which makes it extremely difficult for him to communicate with a President who deals almost exclusively in BS and politics. I can’t imagine how hard it must be for him to take the Prez seriously as a commander-in-chief. McChrystal, according to the RS article, sleeps 4 hours a night, eats one meal a day, was involved in top secret black ops, has been in the military for about 33 years (if I am correctly calculating based on his Wikipedia article), and has seen his wife a total of 30 days a month for the last 9 years. President Obama has NO military experience. None. How can anyone in our military take him seriously as a leader, when even the most inexperienced private in basic training has more military experience than he does? In a time of peace, it wouldn’t be as big of a deal, but we are in the middle of a two-front war where the leader of the military doesn’t have any more knowledge or experience than the average guy on the street.

3) As much as it may seem like it, I am not mad at the president for doing what he did. In the military hierarchy, public criticism (or private criticism made public by irresponsible “news” sources) of a superior is not tolerated, and never has been. It leads to a breakdown in the chain of command, which can lead to chaos and fatal problems in a combat situation. So, in short, the president did what he had to do. I do, however, think that it was totally naive for McChrystal and his aides to allow a Rolling Stone reporter into their fold. RS is notoriously anti-military and anti-war-on-terror, so McChrystal or one of his underlings should have seen this coming – they’re going to try to undermine the fight in any way they can, including publicly repeating private statements made about the president, other key players in the war, and the strategies being used in Afghanistan. I find it hard to believe that the general and his assistants are REALLY that naive, which leads me to two possibilities about why this reporter was allowed such up-close access to McChrystal and his staff: 1) McChrystal was set up with this reporter by his aides because they knew he lacked tact and was willing to say whatever was on his mind, and they knew it would get him into trouble, or 2) McChrystal knew EXACTLY what he was doing and set himself up in order to end his career and draw attention to the problems with the war in Afghanistan (lack of troops, etc). Both of these possibilities seem far-fetched, but they are both more plausible than simple naivete about RS‘s motives.

4) Maybe something good can come out of this fiasco for General McChrystal personally. As I mentioned before, the general and his wife have only spent 30 days a year together for the past 9 years. Maybe he can take Mrs. McChrystal on a nice vacation somewhere, and they can reconnect and renew their marriage since they will have more time together. Also, maybe he’ll be able to get more sleep and have time to eat more than one meal a day. Hopefully he will be able to relax and enjoy the company of his wife and family after 33 years of dedicated service to his country. Always look on the bright side of unemployment.

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