McInsubordination

It seems Col. Kurtz and his crew have lost their damned minds:

The top U.S. general in Afghanistan was summoned to Washington for a White House meeting after apologizing Tuesday for flippant and dismissive remarks about top Obama administration officials involved in Afghanistan policy.

The remarks in an article in this week’s in Rolling Stone magazine are certain to increase tension between the White House and Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal.

The profile of McChrystal, , titled the “Runaway General,” also raises fresh questions about the judgment and leadership style of the commander Obama appointed last year in an effort to turn around a worsening conflict.

Apparently the list of people trashed include Biden, Eikenberry, and Jones. You have to question Mcchrystal’s judgment about everything after this nonsense, andI would bet Gates is doing a slow burn in his office right now. I think Laura Rozen might be on to something here:

One early thought: does he want to get fired for insubordination before his strategy is shown to fail?

Also, speaking of neo-cockroaches, look who turns up in the Politico’s edition of events:

But analysts who are close to the situation and know McChrystal well believe that while the remarks were wrong, it would be a bigger mistake to let McChrystal go at such a critical time in the war.

“He made a big mistake, but he is a fantastic general, and not only that but a modest man who is respectful of others,” says Michael O’Hanlon, a senior fellow at Brookings.

“That makes these comments even more uncharacteristic and unfortunate,” he said. “We need him, and Ambassador Eikenberry, for this effort, and I am confident knowing both men well that they can put these issues behind them for the greater good.”

Why is anyone in the world paying so much as a penny to hear O’Hanlon’s opinions on anything? Has he ever been right about anything? Ever?

Finally, remember a couple years back when Allahpundit occasionally said something clever and edgy, rather than just sneering “The One?” Does everyone associated with the Malkin empire just turn to complete shit? Is it like using the dark side of the force or something?






125 replies
  1. 1
    AxelFoley says:

    Re: McChrystal, to quote Menace 2 Society:

    “You know you done fucked up, don’t you? You know it, don’t you? You know you done fucked up.”

  2. 2

    I would normally say, “He is so shit-canned!” But with Obama, you never know. Should be interesting.

  3. 3
    4tehlulz says:

    McCrystal’s press aid has fallen on the sword, per TPM.

  4. 4
    Quiddity says:

    Well, at least Michael O’Hanlon has lots of wavy hair (like Liberace).

    If O’Hanlon says McChrystal is a modest man, then you can take that to the bank.

  5. 5
    Cat Lady says:

    So a music magazine committed journalism? Way to go MSM.

  6. 6
    Comrade Javamanphil says:

    When did Rolling Stone become America’s best print source for journalism?

  7. 7
    Comrade Jake says:

    The sad thing is that this is what the media picks up, as opposed to the epic fail that has become the surge in Afghanistan.

  8. 8
    Napoleon says:

    So who will be the first on the right to praise McCrystal as a hero?

    Obama should not let McCrystal walk out of that meeting with his rank. (I assume as President and Commander in Chief he can strip any officer of his rank at anytime, does anyone know that for sure?)

  9. 9
    El Cid says:

    I’m still fascinated by the notion that there are people out there in high positions of power that think that the Afghan occupation can “succeed”. There’s all this talk in the article about “if it fails”, etc.

    Later in the WaPo article, you learn that one of the real problems is that the troops are angry that McChrystal isn’t permitting the use of enough firepower on the locals.

    One soldier at the outpost showed Hastings, who was traveling with the general, a written directive instructing troops to “patrol only in areas that you are reasonably certain that you will not have to defend yourself with lethal force.”
    __
    During a tense meeting with Ingram’s platoon, one sergeant tells McChrystal: “Sir, some of the guys here, sir, think we’re losing, sir.”

    Presumably before McChrystal’s controversial “shoot the locals less” approach, or if it were abandoned, we’d start to see signs of success, because if you go after enough of the insurgents, things will of course go well, because in the end you can keep saying things are improving ad infinitum and if they don’t you can announce you’ve got yet another ‘new’ counter-insurgency strategy and this one is really gonna start to fix things, if that is, we’re given enough time and resources to make it work.

  10. 10
    stuckinred says:

    @Comrade Javamanphil: Ever hear of William Grider or Matt Taibbi?

  11. 11
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    says Michael O’Hanlon, a senior fellow at Brookings.

    Oh my god. Why is the Lanny Davis of the Dem Foreign Policy Establishment still around? Oh, that’s why. Forget it, Jim, it’s PoliticoTown.

  12. 12
    Napoleon says:

    @Comrade Javamanphil:

    When did Rolling Stone become America’s best print source for journalism?

    Funny, I was watching Olbermann last night when he was talking to another RS author and it hit me that arguably that is true.

  13. 13
    El Cid says:

    @Napoleon: Given the points in the article about crazy hippie peacenik McChrystal’s directives to firebomb fewer of the natives, he’s not quite likely to become a right wing hero. It’ll be cause to go after Robert Mugabe Barack Obama, but likely not enough to sanctify the insufficiently anti-brown-person McChrystal.

  14. 14
    superking says:

    Fire the aides. Keep the general around until it is proven that his strategy failed. Then fire him. Easy, smart, no one gets hurt, good politics.

  15. 15
    cleek says:

    Finally, remember a couple years back when Allahpundit occasionally said something clever and edgy, rather than just sneering “The One?”

    no, but i never paid attention, either.

    on the other hand, “The One” has been the favored put-down of the anti-Obama gang since the Days Of PUMA. and, the best part of it is that it has never borne any resemblance to reality. the idea that Obama supporters think Obama is some kind of messiah is an invention of his opponents. it’s a strawman. yet they whack away at this imaginary foe, not realizing how utterly stupid they look.

  16. 16
    dmsilev says:

    As insubordination events go, I’d rate this one at about 100 milli-MacArthurs. Maybe 50 mAr. Predicted result will be a seemingly-earnest apology from the general plus some aides falling on their swords.

    dms

  17. 17
    Nick says:

    @Betty Cracker: The media is already preparing to defend McChrystal.

    From Mark Knoller at CBS this morning;

    markknoller Is there any one among us who hasn’t said or spoken unflattering things about a boss, but continue to do our jobs conscientiously?

    Because telling your buddy your boss is an asshole and telling Rolling fucking Stone is the exact same thing. Or something.

  18. 18

    So does he become a front runner for the GOP in 2012 if he gets fired?

  19. 19
    David says:

    If you take Eddie Haskell, subtract any charm and then add in dead bodies and ruined lives, you wind up with Michael O’Hanlon.

  20. 20
    Ugh says:

    Fire McChrystal. Declare you have no confidence in the Military’s ability to acheive success in Afghanistan as a result of this, and thus you are withdrawing all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year. Iraq too.

  21. 21
    El Cid says:

    By the way, does anyone have any of the Rolling Stone quotes where McChrystal et al are really undermining policy, the command structure’s actual decisions, etc., or general command, instead of just being insubordinate-sounding dicks? Not that the latter is okay, it’s not, in the military (or in corporations) you cannot be allowed to sound like you’re disrespecting your chain of command. I’m just seeing if there’s really serious shit.

  22. 22
    Randy P says:

    I know, I know, IOKIYAR and all that, but didn’t we all get educated about how the UCMJ forbids criticism of the Commander-in-Chief by active duty officers during the Cheney-Bush years?

  23. 23
    Rhoda says:

    I think the biggest thing about this it that it steps on the “we need to stay in Afghanistan” narrative the Pentagon’s been trying to build with the roll out of the minerals/Afghanistan is rich story and the whole “we need more time” mantra. This just slaps everyone in the face with the “this is completely fucked up”; the best part being the fact that the troops on the ground have major issues here too.

    This is bigger than insubordination IMO.

    It completely derails the military’s current strategy of trying to box the administration into the war; see Gates comments yesterday about Biden and the draw down in Afghanistan.

  24. 24
    Nick says:

    @Comrade Javamanphil: This is snark, right? Because any publication that lets Matt Taibbi lie and speculate all over the place is hardly the best source for journalism.

    Or is it these days? I dunno.

  25. 25
    Zifnab says:

    Why is anyone in the world paying so much as a penny to hear O’Hanlon’s opinions on anything? Has he ever been right about anything? Ever?

    No one remembers who the hell O’Hanlon is. He’s a guy with a Serious Person title of senior fellow (whatever the hell that means), and his name looks great between quotes. So he gives whatever line they’re trying to sell a degree of gravitas and importance. That’s the only reason he’s in there.

  26. 26

    You cannot become a general by being stupid. Wrong, maybe but not stupid. The general had to know what he was doing.

    Why? Who knows?

    Is there a way we can declare victory in Afghanistan and leave?

  27. 27
    Nick says:

    @Ugh:

    Declare you have no confidence in the Military’s ability to acheive success in Afghanistan as a result of this

    Oh yeah, that’s a message that can’t possibly fail!

  28. 28
    Ugh says:

    You can read the full RS piece here:

    http://www.politico.com/static.....ystal.html

  29. 29
    Keith G says:

    @El Cid:

    Do they need a cause? I have been dealing with the conservatives in my family over the

    The president is well-intentioned but can’t walk the walk on the world stage.

    essay written by “noted liberal” Mort Zukerman.

    Oy.

  30. 30
    Rhoda says:

    @Nick: They’re not going to be able to defend him Nick; not with the facts on the ground as brutal as they are right now.

    The fact is; the military had a delicate dance. They needed to be able to prove progress and Obama had to give them the chance to keep peace in the Pentagon; but this destroys that IMO.

    Knoller/MSM is the outlier here with that comment; Mullen/Gates/Petereus are going to want McChrystal gone more than anyone IMO because he curbs they’re maneuvering room in the future and they can’t send him out like they did in that 60 minutes interview or that London speech and be cute about it all. The MSM don’t recognize how unpopular this war is; which is why Republicans want to keep it up. It is an open wound for the White House morally, diplomatically, and fiscally. Ironically, this flap gives them some fire to maybe cauterize this wound.

    I don’t know what’s going to happen; but I think the President has a real opportunity here if they can spin this properly. JMHO The Military needs Obama to sell this war; they need the presidency to be behind it fully.

    This gives the White House the means to begin separating IMO. That’s too the good.

  31. 31
    Ugh says:

    By my count from the RS article, this is the third time Mcchrystal has pissed off the White House in a year, at some point they have to get rid of him.

  32. 32
    Nick says:

    @Rhoda:

    They’re not going to be able to defend him Nick; not with the facts on the ground as brutal as they are right now.

    Of course they will, they’ll say McChrystal’s right and the facts on the ground are brutual because the President isn’t listening to him. The article even says Mullen, Gates and Petereus, along with Hillary Clinton, are allies of McChrystal in the administration. It’s Biden, Eikenberry and Jim Jones who are on the opposite side.

  33. 33
    El Cid says:

    @Keith G: I just meant that it should theoretically be easy for the right to attack Obama over this while less likely for the right to turn McChrystal into a hero — the reports that he has issued directives to shoot and blow up fewer locals is something that the right would absolutely hate.

  34. 34
    Punchy says:

    Even Joe Scarborough is angry.

    I think McDumbass is toast. He HAD to know what he said would be a fire-bombing, and said them nonetheless. This is open insubordination.

  35. 35
    Josie says:

    @Linda Featheringill: That puzzles me too. How could an intelligent person have done something so incredibly stupid? There has to be a part of the story that we know nothing about. Or maybe he was set up in some way?

  36. 36
    Fr33d0m says:

    You all are taking this as gospel? It doesn’t sound to you like some cheap right-winger hit job? Look at the facts again.

    What did the General actually say? Seriously, we have seen credible reports of General’s saying stupid things but to do so to their staffs and at so large a target list? Does this really sound realistic? His staff isn’t simply a list of his best buds, it is a part of his force structure. He needs to present a certain appearance to them just as he does any other Soldier he comes into contact with. The thought that he’s going to crap all over anyone above him to his staff seems out of character for a senior officer in today’s military. Not that its impossible, just not immediately believable.

    Couple that thought with who makes-up his staff. These are not those “slippery” enlisted types, they are seasoned officers–Colonels to Majors or something like that with a few enlisted cautiously sprinkled around. They would talk like this freely of their General? Really? The moral of his staff would have to be way out of whack and even then one might expect a single staffer could be out of line.

    No my thought is that this is a hit job. I’ll have to see more before I take this at face value.

  37. 37
    Rhoda says:

    @Nick: They can SAY that but then look at what they’ve created; a division with one side advocating a policy that we can see failing and others advocating a limited policy that may succeed.

    It’s just a bad place to be all around IMO.

    I can actually see a turnaround in the policy now that I didn’t think would be possible just a bit ago; all because the maneuvering room for those in the building who want to continue the war is smaller. And they’re failing.

  38. 38
    Punchy says:

    @El Cid: MSNBC said the article has McChrystal’s aids calling the NSA top guy, Jim Jones (I think I have that correct) a “clown”.

    That’s a ridiculously inflammatory and immature adjective. NOBODY calls their superior a clown in a national print mag without getting fired, demoted, or both. Triple that when you consider this is the military, where respect is numero uno in importance.

    I have to believe McChrystal wanted out. There’s no other way to believe he’s this stupid.

  39. 39
    Rhoda says:

    @Punchy: Scarborough isn’t angry IMO. He’s beating a drum implying all morning the President was weak; he’ll pick up the RNC meme tomorrow about how Obama isn’t a military president and this never happened to Bush (forgetting Petreaus’ own insubordination that Bush pretty much rolled over on and forgave).

  40. 40
    fortygeek says:

    @Josie: The story includes a lot of back-comment by aides to McChrystal. General McChrystal may not have said all those unflattering things himself, but the negative attitudes in his command are an indication of how things are run.

  41. 41
    Rhoda says:

    @Fr33d0m: The General issued a blanket apology for the piece and hasn’t pushed back on the story at all. From the Rolling Stone editor on Morning Joe; I get the feeling the stuff off the record is very very bad and big. But they didn’t put it in.

    So, it seems to me Rolling Stone dotted their i’s and crossed their ts on this one.

  42. 42
    cleek says:

    @Fr33d0m:

    Couple that thought with who makes-up his staff. These are not those “slippery” enlisted types, they are seasoned officers

    the staffer who resigned today was a civilian.

  43. 43
    Jonny Scrum-half says:

    If Obama wants to get rid of McChrystal and then take away his ability to criticize Obama after being relieved of his duties, all he needs to do is have someone suggest to the press that it actually focus on McChrystal’s role in the Pat Tillman friendly-fire cover-up.

  44. 44
    Bill H says:

    You have to question Mcchrystal’s judgment about everything after this nonsense,

    I questioned Mcchrystal’s judgment about everything long before “this nonsense” cropped up. I began doing so while he was still in Iraq.

  45. 45
    New Yorker says:

    Well, at least we now know who Pinochet will be when the Teabagger/Neocon alliance decides to destroy the Republic in order to save it. Now I’m just wondering who our Victor Jara will be…..Steve Earle maybe? He plays Real ‘Murkan music, but he sings songs of treason.

  46. 46
    Taterstick says:

    Personally, I think this is going to be one of Obama’s most “defining moments.” Whether he pulls a Harry Truman or digs in deeper with Stanly McArthur, this will tell us more about him than the oil spill bullshit ever did.

  47. 47
    Ash Can says:

    The only possibilities I can think of are that he didn’t think his comments would be published, that he didn’t think anyone actually reads Rolling Stone, or that he’s begging to be fired. None of these possibilities make any sense, though — for either of the first two to be true, the guy would have to be an imbecile, and for the third to be true he’d have to be willing to give up an awful lot (I seem to recall hearing somewhere that insubordination has long-term negative ramifications such as reductions in pay and benefits). Either he’s absolutely desperate to get out of the situation he’s in, or someone’s set up a safety net of some kind to catch him and make up for what he’s deliberately giving up. Regardless, though, this is just weird.

  48. 48
    Face says:

    someone’s set up a safety net of some kind to catch him and make up for what he’s deliberately giving up.

    Fox.News. Take it to the bank.

    Never trust a general with the prefix of “Mc”.

  49. 49
    GregB says:

    Col. Lang posted a link to the military code that indicates that this is a court-marshal worthy offense.

  50. 50
    demimondian says:

    McChrystal’s behavior is incomprehensible. The President would be well within his rights to tell McC that he was dismissed from the service effective immediately — hell, to bust him down to SPC1, and *then* dismiss him from the service. I don’t expect that, since it would be politically confrontational, and Obama isn’t. I do expect that General McCheese is going to have to can a bunch of his aides, and that he’s going to have to do it himself.

  51. 51
    Ella in NM says:

    @Taterstick:

    $50 bucks our “No Drama Obama” digs in deeper.

    I love the guy, but this is getting so old.

  52. 52
    Ash says:

    MChrystal’s ass needs to be fired, immediately. It has nothing to do with whether someone agrees or disagrees with what you’re doing, but for the top people to openly mock the administration?

    You’re not MacArthur, you dickhead.

  53. 53
    Ash says:

    @Comrade Javamanphil:

    When did Rolling Stone become America’s best print source for journalism?

    Rolling Stone is not The New York Times. Nor is it The National Enquirer. They do actually employ real journalists, you know.

  54. 54
    cat48 says:

    He has to be fired.

  55. 55
    60th Street says:

    I know I’m probably being way outta line, but when I hear people on the teevee say things like “this is the second time McChrystal has been dressed down by the President.”….I think about things like this

  56. 56
    4tehlulz says:

    @Ash: True. MacArthur would have invaded Iran, then be asked to “retire”.

  57. 57
    kindness says:

    Isn’t this the exact same thing that happened to General McChrystal’s predecessor? Man, you’d think these guys would remember stuff that only happened a couple of years ago. Guess they don’t know about Google.

    Who has seen today’s This Modern World?

    I know the oil spill isn’t funny but ripping the media always is.

  58. 58
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    The obvious precedent here is what happened to Admiral Fallon a few years ago. Shitcanned for not joining in with the Bush/Cheney “Bomb, Bomb, Iran” singalong.

    Going by that McChrystal shouldn’t let the door hit him on the way out. But I suspect these are kinder, gentler times.

  59. 59
    Shalimar says:

    @Nick: I understand the speculation part, his interpretations of events are different from yours, but what has Matt Taibbi ever outright lied about?

  60. 60
    PeakVT says:

    The COIN doctrine, bizarrely, draws inspiration from some of the biggest Western military embarrassments in recent memory: France’s nasty war in Algeria and the American misadventure in Vietnam.

    I wonder if anybody in the military really groks that the Taliban is now, like the Vietcong was in Vietnam, primarily a nationalist movement.

    ETA: McCrystal recalled to DC.

  61. 61
    El Cid says:

    @Punchy: That is ridiculously offensive, but technically the NSA chief isn’t, I don’t think, in McChrystal’s chain of command. He shouldn’t be calling anyone in the U.S. government a ‘clown’ or saying anything other than professional military comments. Or, if he feels it personally necessary to dissent from policy, then doing so publicly and being understanding and willing to face professional consequences.

  62. 62
    El Cid says:

    Also, the best way for Obama to get conservatives to demand McChrystal’s ouster would be for Obama to hug him in public.

  63. 63
    schrodinger's cat says:

    Again, why are we still in Afghanistan?

  64. 64

    […] an Apocalypse Now reference, while The Artist Formerly Known as Tacitus thinks shitcanning is imperative if the republic is to […]

  65. 65
    cleek says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:
    we’re there because the Taliban still exists and is still trying to control the country.

    but, because i don’t think we will ever change either of those things, i think we should leave.

  66. 66
    some other guy says:

    Who needs McChrystal anyway when we’ve got Erik Prince?

  67. 67
    Bill H says:

    @demimondian:

    McChrystal’s behavior is incomprehensible.

    Actually, it’s not entirely. The atmosphere of “support the troops” has grown to to point where no negative word may be uttered about them or their efforts, no legislation containing so much as a dollar for the troops can be voted against, etc., that is is not surprising to me that their leadership has developed an attitude of political invulnerability. I’m not saying that any part of that is right or wrong, good or bad, merely commenting on it.

  68. 68
    KXB says:

    I questioned McChrystal’s judgment when he said the Pakistanis may have a point that India’s reconstruction aid in Afghanistan was unhelpful to stability.

  69. 69
    someguy says:

    @PeakVT:

    I wonder if anybody in the military really groks that the Taliban is now, like the Vietcong was in Vietnam, primarily a nationalist movement.

    Nope. I don’t think they grok much. But that’s what happens when a bunch of right wingers take over your institution.

  70. 70
    Mike in NC says:

    I don’t think they grok much. But that’s what happens when a bunch of right wingers take over your institution.

    Who’ll be the first Villager to write about “the light at the end of the tunnel”?

  71. 71
    Svensker says:

    @Keith G:

    I have been dealing with the conservatives in my family over the ” The president is well-intentioned but can’t walk the walk on the world stage” essay written by “noted liberal” Mort Zukerman.

    We must have the same relatives. Oy, indeed.

  72. 72
    Randy P says:

    @Viva BrisVegas: Whether these are kinder, gentler times or not, McChrystal still falls under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), specifically this provision.

    888. ART. 88. CONTEMPT TOWARD OFFICIALS
    Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Transportation, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.

    Seems pretty cut and dried to me.

  73. 73
    Ana Gama says:

    Fire him? Nah. Firebomb him.

  74. 74
    matoko_chan says:

    @Cole
    Allahpundit is emblematic of the pure unadulterated contempt conservative elites have for their base.
    They think the base is too stupid to learn, as well as too stupid to factcheck.
    dig razib khan, another of my onetime cohort of young, hip, early weblogging adopters.

    Visiting HotAir Commenter: Telling people they are stupid won’t change their minds —especially if they are stupid.
    David Hume (aka razib khan of the Secular Right Racists): this is a very good, and depressing point.

    The contempt for the conservative base is just breathtaking– they basically believe anything can be spun into Obama hatred to gin up the base, no matter how riddickulous or false it is.

  75. 75
    El Cid says:

    @Ana Gama: Make him attend an Afghan wedding party.

  76. 76
    4tehlulz says:

    @matoko_chan: It’s not like they’ve been proven wrong.

    @El Cid: Win.

  77. 77
    norbizness says:

    You’ll have to wait for my detailed power point presentation concerning the devolution of Allahpundit.

    No, really. Keep waiting.

  78. 78
    PeakVT says:

    A backgrounder on McChrystal.

  79. 79
    Ana Gama says:

    @El Cid: OH! Perfect.

  80. 80
    Mumphrey says:

    I can’t understand people like O’Hanlon and Kristol. They and all these other assclowns go on and on and on and on and on about what’s going to happen and what won’t happen, and damn, you can take anything they say to the bank, you just know if these guys say something is going to happen it’s damned well going to happen, since they’re so smart and serious and steeped in the ways of the world and reality and such…

    And then, whatever they said would happen, well, every time, pretty much the opposite happens. Are they ever right? And you’d think that anybody who ends up being shown to be so wrong every damned time might learn just a little humility, but it doesn’t happen. I wonder if they even know that they’re wrong; I wonder if they even know what’s really going on in the world. Maybe they think that what they spout off about really is happening, which would seem to undercut their claim to be “realists” and “hard-headed” and all that shit.

    I do wonder about any “reporter” or “journalist” who would ask these guys anything; but I wonder even more about them. How oblivious do you have to be not to feel even a little bit ashamed or worthless that you’re wrong every damned time? You’d think anybody who’s remotely normal would just be too embarassed to say anything else by now.

  81. 81
    cleek says:

    @Randy P:
    it looks like the Sec of Agriculture is fair game, though !
    watch your back, Vilsack.

  82. 82
    matoko_chan says:

    @Cole
    and Rozen is right….McChrystal is trying to be fired.
    his strat is FAIL so hes wilin’ out trying to blame everyone he can.
    You see….. he has the raw data feed from the boots on the ground in the Graveyard of Empires…..he knows hes already lost.
    hes trying to salvage his career.
    pretty fugly.

    my prediction? O won’t fire him.
    he’s going to make him OWN it.

  83. 83

    OK, I’ve actually read the RS article, and I’m going to say the noise is a bit over the top.

    First and foremost, nobody dissed the president in the article. Nor were they derogatory to the next person in the CHAIN OF COMMAND (critical for those thinking he should be fired), the Secretary of Defense.

    If you read the article you actually get some understanding for why the distaste and derision — and there’s an impression (and in one case flat out statement) that they’re actually responding in kind to things coming from the other direction. Recall, for example, that there were two competing strategies for Afghanistan (besides withdraw now); Biden’s and McChrystal’s. The president went with McChrystal. Biden was publicly unhappy about that and had to be reminded he wasn’t the president and his boss had made a decision.

    Legally, neither McChrystal nor his staff were insubordinate. They were not classing the entire White House as wimps, but instead were referring to individuals within the white house they collectively considered wimps. The difference is critical on several levels.

    Just to hammer the point, I’d like to point out the team considers the Secretary of State to be an asset and supporter. Yes, I mean Hillary Clinton.

    Everybody is reacting to articles about an article; pundits responding not to the event but to what someone else said about it. I seem to recall other threads remarking on this problem and how unhappy folk were about it happening. Perhaps a bit of mirror time is needed?

  84. 84
    zippity says:

    Some of the comments I’ve seen refer to some of this being the result of drinking in a bar with the reporter. Someone in the military correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t alcohol against the law when you’re in a muslim country? I know that when my brother was deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, they could not have any alcohol.

  85. 85
    ed drone says:

    @Face:

    Never trust a general with the prefix of “Mc”.

    Fixed.

    Ed

  86. 86
    Svensker says:

    @Kirk Spencer:

    Yes, but…

    The point is, the military is NEVER supposed to diss the civilians in charge in public. Ever. Doesn’t matter whether Joe Biden said mean things about someone on McC’s team, or whether someone in the WH staff is a moron who is personally setting the cause of “victory in Afghanistan” back 50 years. There are channels to lodge complaints. Rolling Stone magazine is not one of them. End of story.

    Also, El Cid win.

  87. 87
    matoko_chan says:

    @norbizness: no need for powerpoint. AllahP is playing the wingnut wurlizter for cash monies like the rest of them.
    Malkin had him pithed and neutered when she signed him.
    gotta admit the guy is loyal….it must be intellectual torture for him..that is why hes so eeyore…hes actually quite bright.
    but the paycheck trumps starving-lawyer-ethics everytime.

  88. 88
    matoko_chan says:

    @Kirk Spencer: i don’t think so…i think McC knows darn well the Graveyard of Empires is kicking our butts in spite of O giving what he ax for, and hes pre-staging the blame for his eventual fail.
    spreading it around.

  89. 89
    Svensker says:

    @zippity:

    Some of the comments I’ve seen refer to some of this being the result of drinking in a bar with the reporter. Someone in the military correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t alcohol against the law when you’re in a muslim country? I know that when my brother was deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, they could not have any alcohol.

    We had friends who were with State Dept. in middle eastern countries — they had the best booze in the world there. It all depends on who you are and whom you are with.

  90. 90
    bemused says:

    So many quotes from unnamed & remarkably blabby aides makes me wonder if some peeps wanted McChrystal gone.

  91. 91

    […] P.S. – I think Morrissey’s post is a pretty good example of why John Cole is just wrong plain wrong in the last paragraph of this post. […]

  92. 92
    zippity says:

    @Svensker: I was referring to military personnel only. My brother was a company commander in Iraq and complained about the totally different rules for the other gov’t agency personnel and contractors. They even had their own bars-where the military was subject to discipline if someone wanted to enforce the rules.

  93. 93
    debbie says:

    Am I the only one who heard this morning that McChrystal’s real motivation for talking to Rolling Stone was the leak by Eikenberry a while ago of a memo that undercut McChrystal’s overall plan for Afghanistan?

    If this is true, it doesn’t justify what McChrystal did, but it certainly casts Eikenberry in a lousy light.

  94. 94
    slag says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    You cannot become a general by being stupid. Wrong, maybe but not stupid.

    I’m fairly convinced you can become anything by being stupid. Hell, you can become president by being stupid.

    That said, you’re probably right about this situation.

  95. 95

    @Svensker: And the key phrase you used was “in public”.

    One of the scary things about having an embed reporter (and that’s basically what Michael Hastings was for a few weeks) is that they aren’t ‘in public’. They’re present when the warts are showing. Notice when all these comments are being made. Take for example the remarks about Biden. Just before a speech and Q&A, trying to prep for the latter, just after Biden’s raised some complaints which will inevitably be brought up. So, how to respond? Add a bit of levity, then deal with the real. The levity gets mentioned in the article, but none of the (boring) real.

  96. 96
    Nellcote says:

    @zippity:

    Some of the comments I’ve seen refer to some of this being the result of drinking in a bar with the reporter.

    They were in Europe, grounded because of the volcano ash.

  97. 97
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @debbie:

    Am I the only one who heard this morning that McChrystal’s real motivation for talking to Rolling Stone was the leak by Eikenberry a while ago of a memo that undercut McChrystal’s overall plan for Afghanistan? If this is true, it doesn’t justify what McChrystal did, but it certainly casts Eikenberry in a lousy light.

    Did the publication of the Pentagon Papers cast Ellsberg in a lousy light?

  98. 98
    LD50 says:

    Finally, remember a couple years back when Allahpundit occasionally said something clever and edgy, rather than just sneering “The One?

    Uh, actually, no, I remember no such thing.

  99. 99
    Svensker says:

    @Kirk Spencer:

    One of the scary things about having an embed reporter (and that’s basically what Michael Hastings was for a few weeks) is that they aren’t ‘in public’.

    I’m sorry, but if a general and his aides don’t realize that talking with a reporter around (embed or not) is “public” then they should lose their jobs. You may examine the word “reporter” and ponder its meaning.

  100. 100
    LD50 says:

    @zippity:

    Some of the comments I’ve seen refer to some of this being the result of drinking in a bar with the reporter. Someone in the military correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t alcohol against the law when you’re in a muslim country? I know that when my brother was deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, they could not have any alcohol.

    In many of the less medieval Muslim countries it is legal for foreign non-Muslims to buy and consume alcohol. But Afghanistan is just the kind of Muslim country to not make even that exception.

  101. 101
    cokane says:

    Allahpundit always seemed like a conceited idiot to me. When he first came on the scene and choose his handle with the lame attempt to offend, be topical, and be edgy.

    Just like that Captain’s Quarters asshole after him, all these guys always seemed like morons to me. They had occasional nuggets, but any idiot can do that.

    Then again I’ve been reading Sadly, No for years and years, and they do a good job of making all these clowns look silly.

  102. 102
    salacious crumb says:

    McChrystal is pissed he and his Special Forces men aren’t being given the chance to bomb the hell out of the civilians aka the brown people they know nothing about. So he is throwing in the towel and declaring Obama to be clueless so that he can wash his hands off the disaster unfolding in Afghanistan

  103. 103
    Tsulagi says:

    @Kirk Spencer:
    I think I’ll go with McChrystal’s own assessment

    It was a mistake reflecting poor judgment and it should have never happened.

    Poor judgment indeed. Even at Blackfive two pagers have it right…

    …if the quotes are accurate and in context, they stepped over the “no-no line”. While it all may be entirely true, you don’t ever – ever – air this sort of crap in pubic. And if you do, as a military person – regardless of rank – you are wrong.

    McChrystal’s comments are simply inexcusable and demonstrate either an arrogance or lack of understanding of his place in all of this (or both). Regardless, he’s put himself in a stupid place by his own doing.

    And from the other pager…

    I will withhold judgment until the article is out and some other facts are in evidence. Yet, I will be very honest in saying that my respect for Gen. McChrystal and his judgment (and of the staff who thought this interview a good idea) has already been diminished.

    Yep.

    When McChrystal meets with the President tomorrow, he should offer his resignation. Up to the President to accept or decline.

  104. 104
    Smedley says:

    @Napoleon:
    Every Flag officer has a signed resignation letter on file.
    It lacks only a date. They serve at the pleasure of the Commander-in-Chief.

  105. 105
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    Time for some McChrystal Blue Persuasion?

  106. 106
    Joseph Nobles says:

    Ed Morrissey’s weighed in and he’s hammering McChrystal. Well, he’s “Oh, boy”ing the situation and gulping. So McChrystal’s toast.

    The article itself is now out at Rolling Stone.

    And from emptywheel, the truly damning quote is this:

    Even in his new role as America’s leading evangelist for counterinsurgency, McChrystal retains the deep-seated instincts of a terrorist hunter. To put pressure on the Taliban, he has upped the number of Special Forces units in Afghanistan from four to 19. “You better be out there hitting four or five targets tonight,” McChrystal will tell a Navy Seal he sees in the hallway at headquarters. Then he’ll add, “I’m going to have to scold you in the morning for it, though.” In fact, the general frequently finds himself apologizing for the disastrous consequences of counterinsurgency. In the first four months of this year, NATO forces killed some 90 civilians, up 76 percent from the same period in 2009 – a record that has created tremendous resentment among the very population that COIN theory is intent on winning over. In February, a Special Forces night raid ended in the deaths of two pregnant Afghan women and allegations of a cover-up, and in April, protests erupted in Kandahar after U.S. forces accidentally shot up a bus, killing five Afghans. “We’ve shot an amazing number of people,” McChrystal recently conceded.

    The article then explains McChrystal’s ire over dead civilians, but the damage is done. This is “ask forgiveness” writ large.

    Marcy also points to this:

    McChrystal nods. “Strength is leading when you just don’t want to lead,” he tells the men. “You’re leading by example. That’s what we do. Particularly when it’s really, really hard, and it hurts inside.” Then he spends 20 minutes talking about counterinsurgency, diagramming his concepts and principles on a whiteboard. He makes COIN seem like common sense, but he’s careful not to bullshit the men. “We are knee-deep in the decisive year,” he tells them. The Taliban, he insists, no longer has the initiative – “but I don’t think we do, either.” It’s similar to the talk he gave in Paris, but it’s not winning any hearts and minds among the soldiers. “This is the philosophical part that works with think tanks,” McChrystal tries to joke. “But it doesn’t get the same reception from infantry companies.”

    He’s talking to a group of soldiers angry that they could never get an abandoned house pulled down and it costing them one of their men. The article later observes that McChrystal could sell Obama on counterinsurgency, but not these men.

    Jesus, what a mess.

  107. 107
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    The Taliban, he insists, no longer has the initiative – “but I don’t think we do, either.”

    Hm. I like Patton’s “When you have your enemy on the ground, you grab ’em around the neck and kick ’em in the ass” approach better. Can you imagine old George telling his men that “the Krauts no longer have the initiative, but I don’t think we do either?”

    Har. What has Generallin’ come to?

  108. 108
    Smedley says:

    @Linda Featheringill:
    Linda, that’s exactly what bothers me. No officer gets to be a senior flag officer without a clear understanding of politics (small p), nuance and knowing who your talking to. I have on occasion made sure that a CG had plausible deniability on some issues. Also, a General Officer gets to select his own staff; and the General Staff or Command Group are pretty much alter egos of the boss. They are all aware that what they say can and will comeback to haunt them regardless of where it’s said.
    So my cynical take is that this was deliberate.
    To what end? I’m not sure.
    They have to know this wonderful ammunition for the Republicans

  109. 109
    kay says:

    Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said in a statement this morning that Gen. Stanley McChrystal “made a significant mistake and exercised poor judgment” for his comments in a Rolling Stone profile.

    “Gen. McChrystal has apologized to me and is similarly reaching out to others named in this article to apologize to them as well,” Gates said. “I have recalled Gen. McChrystal to Washington to discuss this in person.”

    That doesn’t sound good, at all.

  110. 110
    cleek says:

    @kay:

    That doesn’t sound good, at all.

    really?

    sounds like the prelude to a whole lot of nothing, to me. a big steaming pile of status quo. a mountain of press fappage and hand wringing, then nothing. nothing will change. McChrystal will give a few apologies and then the war will proceed as “planned”.

  111. 111
    kay says:

    @cleek:

    I don’t know, of course. Just listening to Gates over the years, I think this is probably as outwardly angry as he gets. He’s not much of a talker.
    Still, it seems to me if Obama wants to change his Afghanistan approach, this gives him an opening to do just that. I haven’t seen any indication that he does, however.

  112. 112
    Mr Furious says:

    Yet another case where the Law of Glengarry Glen Ross applies:

    “I said, the real favor, follow my advice and fire [his] fucking ass, because a loser is a loser.”

  113. 113
    Silver says:

    What’s the matter? A known liar and war criminal (no, I’m not referring to the President, but I”m aware that he falls into #2 now as well) turns out to be a bit of a dickhead who has a problem with authority?

    Ask Pat Tillman’s family how they feel about Stanley McChrystal.

    Why do we feel the need to suck the dick of everyone who wears a uniform in this country, anyways? They kill brown people for fun and profit. Default heroes they are not.

  114. 114
    Corner Stone says:

    @Taterstick:

    Personally, I think this is going to be one of Obama’s most “defining moments.” Whether he pulls a Harry Truman or digs in deeper with Stanly McArthur, this will tell us more about him than the oil spill bullshit ever did.

    Ok. But how about a little pre-analysis? What will either of these two decisions tell us, or how will they lead to a “defining moment”?

  115. 115
    scarshapedstar says:

    Finally, remember a couple years back when Allahpundit occasionally said something clever and edgy, rather than just sneering “The One?”

    No, not really.

    Does everyone associated with the Malkin empire just turn to complete shit? Is it like using the dark side of the force or something?

    No. They were already complete shit. It’s more like a shit magnet being dragged through the wingnut sewer.

  116. 116
    scarshapedstar says:

    Actually, I should clarify that. Their writing quality has gone down since the whole 9/11 fever subsided. They have no emotional impetus anymore; “taxed enough” is just not in the same ballpark as “THEY’RE NOT ANTI-WAR, THEY’RE ON THE OTHER SIDE!”

    It’s almost sad, because we theoretically have a Fifth-Columnist-in-Chief and they’re just spouting the same shit with a little nigmuslim muddled in. But it is, indeed, the same shit they’ve been spouting for the past 8-and-a-half years.

    It just lacks inspiration. It’s like jerking off to a Baywatch poster every day for your entire life.

  117. 117
    Nick says:

    @Shalimar: Well for starters Taibbi named Bob Rubin as the primary force behind repealing Glass-Steagall during the Clinton administration when actually Rubin wanted a compromise legislation that kept some of it intact, because a Clinton veto would have been overridden. When Gramm and Leach lined up enough votes, Rubin relented and Clinton signed the bill. Rubin wasn’t a driving force, he was a reluctant convert.

    He also identified Jamie Rubin as Bob Rubin’s son when in reality he’s the son of Harvey Rubin, who is married to Christiane Amanpour

    He also faults Rubin for things that happened to Citigroup before he was even CEO.

  118. 118
    The Populist says:

    Rightwingers crow about this stuff but I remember when one of the joint chiefs was questioning Bush and he stepped down mysteriously one day.

    Let’s face facts righties, it’s funny for you to see this kind of insubordination because it plays to your worldview. Fine. The problem you just do not want to step back and acknowledge is that CIVILIANS run the military in this country and not the other way around. If Gen. Mcwhiney wants to complain, he should quit his job and go work for Fox. Until then HE works for the PRESIDENT.

    If he did that to one of your guys, you’d be crowing for his resignation. Be real for once and acknowledge a fact. We are still IN Afghanistan even though all evidence points to Al Qaeda being elsewhere. The President has kept us there and hasn’t “retreated” (even though he should start withdrawing). I just do not understand this irrational crowing when you guys deep down KNOW it’s wrong of any general to openly question the civilian leaders of this country regardless of their party affiliation.

  119. 119
    scarshapedstar says:

    sounds like the prelude to a whole lot of nothing, to me. a big steaming pile of status quo. a mountain of press fappage and hand wringing, then nothing. nothing will change. McChrystal will give a few apologies and then the war will proceed as “planned”.

    If anything, I bet he’s angling for a promotion. Consider:

    If Obama does nothing, the media will call him a big sopping pussy.

    If Obama fires or demotes him, they will call him a hormonal drama queen.

    If Obama promotes him… Mission Accomplished!

  120. 120
    Athenawise says:

    @Comrade Javamanphil: The same@Cat Lady: The same time “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” became America’s best television source for journalism.

  121. 121
    Joseph Nobles says:

    Is this MacArthur redux or McClellan?

  122. 122
    Joseph Nobles says:

    @Napoleon: The first to praise McChrystal is Eric Cantor:

    Obviously a General and his top brass don’t make statements like these without being frustrated, so I hope that the President’s meeting with General McChrystal will include a frank discussion about what is happening on the ground, and whether the resources and the plan are there to defeat terrorists and accomplish our mission in Afghanistan. Without question, the article in Rolling Stone raises a lot of concerns, but our top priority must be to ensure that our forces in Afghanistan have what they need in order to successfully execute their mission and win the war there.
    __
    At the moment, Democrats in Congress are standing in the way of a clean bill to fund our troops and provide the resources needed because they want to lard it up with domestic spending. We need to get our troops these funds, and should do so without any pork or unrelated domestic spending items thrown in.

    There is enough outrage in the day that this slips by, though.

  123. 123
    debbie says:

    @Bobby Thomson:

    Not quite the same thing. From Rolling Stone:

    The relationship [btw. McChrystal and Eikenberry] was further strained in January, when a classified cable that Eikenberry wrote was leaked to The New York Times. The cable was as scathing as it was prescient. The ambassador offered a brutal critique of McChrystal’s strategy, dismissed President Hamid Karzai as “not an adequate strategic partner,” and cast doubt on whether the counterinsurgency plan would be “sufficient” to deal with Al Qaeda. “We will become more deeply engaged here with no way to extricate ourselves,” Eikenberry warned, “short of allowing the country to descend again into lawlessness and chaos.”

    McChrystal and his team were blindsided by the cable. “I like Karl, I’ve known him for years, but they’d never said anything like that to us before,” says McChrystal, who adds that he felt “betrayed” by the leak. “Here’s one that covers his flank for the history books. Now if we fail, they can say, ‘I told you so.’ ”

  124. 124
    fucen tarmal says:

    and so begins the mcchrystal in 2012 campaign.

  125. 125
    Tony J says:

    It just lacks inspiration. It’s like jerking off to a Baywatch Baywatch Nights poster every day for your entire life.

    Fixt.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] P.S. – I think Morrissey’s post is a pretty good example of why John Cole is just wrong plain wrong in the last paragraph of this post. […]

  2. […] an Apocalypse Now reference, while The Artist Formerly Known as Tacitus thinks shitcanning is imperative if the republic is to […]

Comments are closed.