General Discontent

From The New York Times:

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, who had sponsored Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal as commander in Afghanistan, expressed profound disappointment in his judgment Thursday — tempered with thanks for his years in combat — after he was fired from the post. The dismissal followed publication of a profile of the four-star general in Rolling Stone that quoted him and his aides disparaging other officials.

“Honestly, when I first read it, I was nearly sick,” said Admiral Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.


Original movie poster

Mr. Gates said he wholly supported the decision by President Obama to retire General McChrystal, who had helped design the administration’s risky and expensive strategy of counterinsurgency in Afghanistan and was in charge of implementing it.

…snip…

During a Pentagon news conference, Mr. Gates and Admiral Mullen made their first lengthy comments on the controversy and the command change. They were both clearly saddened by the sidelining of one of the military’s most combat-tested Special Operations officers.

Mr. Gates conceded that in his advice to Mr. Obama about the matter, he had expressed concern that a change of command would sap the war effort of momentum at a pivotal moment, when by all accounts it is already proceeding more slowly than expected.

It was Mr. Obama’s suggestion to give the job to Gen. David H. Petraeus, the former commander in Iraq who now leads American forces across the Middle East; Mr. Gates said that the choice of General Petraeus eased his mind.

…snip…

Well aware that a perception of disarray in the American and NATO military headquarters in Kabul might worry American troops and allies while emboldening the insurgency, Mr. Gates spoke directly to all of those audiences.

“No one — be they adversaries or friends, or especially our troops — should misinterpret these personnel changes as a slackening of this government’s commitment to the mission in Afghanistan,” Mr. Gates said.

…snip…

For his part, Admiral Mullen spoke of the pre-eminence of civilian control of the military.

“We do not have the right, nor should we ever assume the prerogative, to cast doubt upon the ability or mock the motives of our civilian leaders, elected or appointed,” Admiral Mullen said. “We are and must remain a neutral instrument of the state, accountable to and respectful of those leaders, no matter which party holds sway or which person holds a given office.”

The Rolling Stone article continued a number of quotations attributed to General McChrystal and his aides that were rude and dismissive of members of Mr. Obama’s national security team.

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30 Comments

Filed under Afghanistan, Barack Obama, Defense Department, Democrats, humor, Iraq War, Joint Chiefs of Staff, movies, NATO, parody, Pentagon, politics, Robert Gates, snark, Wordpress Political Blogs

30 responses to “General Discontent

  1. the daily sloth

    I’m very sad I don’t see Obama whipping McChrystal on that poster.

  2. writechic

    :lol: Obama looks so funny as Indiana Jones. I can’t stop looking at the big ropey vein on his whipping arm!!!

    McChrystal’s an insubordinate douchebag. I wish you’d put his head on Lady Gaga’s. :-)

    Great headline! Great movie title! All thumbs up. :-D

  3. Lady Gaga made one of your posters. W00t!

  4. Looks like Mc was suffering from a terminal case of Pattons Bi-polarality, a condition that has cashiered many a military man. Now we just need to decide on a date somewhere between a fortnight and a milinea where we get tired of rearranging the rocks with high explosives and do what the Brits always do: declare victory and leave!

  5. McChrystal is now McMud, always creeped me out. He has a plastic ambience about him, like he sold his sole long ago.

    Why the hell the Obama admin has all these old Bush admin war hawks hanging around makes no sense to me. They gave bad advice then & they are giving it now.

    Petreus was in charge of the Iraq surge….. which, last time I checked Iraq is still an endless war/mess too.

    I still favor pulling out & give humanitarian aid thru the United Nations.

    • i think they need to send in more civilians to teach the people how to build infrastructure, schools, etc. i think that would help to change people’s attitude toward americans. of course, there would still have to be a military presence to protect the civilians, but i think that is better left to nato troups.

  6. MNLatteLiberal

    The wireless on my computer burns up, I lose a day and miss a raisin eternity. First things first, LOVE the poster. Big Indiana fan, huge Harrison Ford fan, even bigger Obama fan, so how could I not love Barack as Indie?

    Without the benefit of a big screen or a zoom, wonder what I’m missing in the ubiquitous nonnie detail? Got Gaga, got the map of Afghanistan, but what else is lurking in those Inca glyphs?

    Same with McChrystal, I can’t help wondering what’s subsurface that we don’t see? My inner European is pouring over his action for the lurking motivation. High brass, esp. special ops decorated generals do not make off-the-cuff statements willy-nilly. What McChrystal said and more importantly, what he allowed to be said by his staff, cannot be an accident. It cannot be repeated, protracted slip of a bevy of loose tongues. These guys are all chess players, master tacticians. Even though the RS reporter ended up overstaying his intended visit because of the Icelandic ash disrupting travel back, the statements he recorded HAD to be calculated.

    IMHO, McChrystal already has a plan in his back pocket. He’s engineered himself a soft landing somewhere in the tea-bag patch; I bet he is eying a political office. He had to know that even the Rethugs will not take kindly on his dissent; military serves the civilian government in this country, and except for nonnie’s fave Capt Underpants, most of them did everything in their power to AVOID armed service. They love the military unconditionally only if the military accepts their authority over them. They cannot afford insubordination any more than Obama.

    So, Mac had to know all that b4 opening his big mouth. He also had to remember how sternly he was warned on Pres’ plane only a few months ago when he preempted the Presidency by force playing his the Afghan policy over the VP’s. This was Mac’s 3rd strike overall, and he knew he could not survive it, esp. in light of the magnitude of the disrespect shown.

    So, if the Rethugs won’t back him, where can he go? My call is, General Tea Bag, presidential hopeful. Look for him in theaters near you, come 2010, trying to squeeze a bit of ass space between Princess Sarah and Rand Paul.

    ~ Latte

    • don’t strain your eyes, latte. there are no hidden little jokes this time. you found everything.

      i keep going back and forth on mcc. sometimes i think that he just got drunk with the boys, and they forgot they were hanging out with a reporter. then i think that he might want out of the service, and faux news has a space reserved for him. howevah, i tend to lean toward the first explanation.

      • MNLatteLiberal

        got drunk with da boys would work once. According to the accounts I’ve heard/read (he as on Rachel Maddow the eve of the day the news broke, the next day NPR did a piece on it, etc.) the RS reporter was stranded at the Afghan theater HQ for over a week, and all his info was compiled over several days of interviews. This was not a one-shot deal; this was not shooting oneself in a foot; this was a sustained twisting off a toe at a time.

        It would also seemed to me, that a disciplined officer, a decorated general who had already misstepped twice, would not step into the same pile of shit yet again, drunk or sober. As the old Russian joke, borrowed by Travolta in Be Cool, goes: what do you say to a Russian with two black eyes? Nothing; he’s been told twice.

        Mark my words, nonnie, this was intentional and well thought out. Watch for a soft landing in several months.

        ~ Latte

        • i think it was because the reporter was stranded that mcc and his entourage felt comfortable around him. from everything i could find, mcc voted for obama and didn’t allow his soldiers to watch faux news. i just can’t see it being deliberate, because i don’t think a military guy would want to exit stage left in that way. then again, who knows what’s going on inside someone else’s head?

          • MNLatteLiberal

            :) at the same time, who knows what’s behind door number two at the stage left exit?

            If either you or jeb can explain to me how McChrystal could step in the same pile of shit after Air Force 1 visit last October, I’d love to hear it. I think all of us are used to Obama’s and esp. Biden’s detractors to have the IQ of a Palin or Steel. But this time, we are dealing with a very bright and a very disciplined man, who has already been told twice. Recently.

            I am not going to keep repeating myself, done enough of that already in this thread, but to me there is something else going on here, subsurface. It doesn’t have to be sinister or Machiavellian, as jeb has put it. Occam’s razor tells me that’s the simplest explanation. But it doesn’t have to be. It could be related to another famous literary figure: Marquis de Sade. McChrystal could be a simple glutton for punishment :).

            • latte,

              stepping in the same pile of shit over and over can be explained as a pattern of behavior. if it’s your tendency to step in a pile of shit (even when you know you really shouldn’t step in a pile of shit), when you pass a pile of shit, it takes an act of will to not step in it. it appears that it’s in mcc’s nature to be outspoken. he comes from a military family, and he knows that you’re never supposed to badmouth your superior, but he can’t seem to help himself. maybe the answer is psychological. it seems that everyone in his family was expected to serve in the military. maybe down deep, he resented that, and now that he’s middle-aged he’s realized that it’s not how he really wanted to spend his life. maybe he always wanted to be a ballet dancer. he seems to be a rather strange man. he runs 8 miles a day, eats just one meal a day, and only sleeps 4 hours each night. it seems like discipline has always been imposed on him, by his family, his training, and himself. maybe he just cracked. maybe the booze allowed him the freedom he was never given or allowed himself. maybe he sabotaged himself, because doing what he wants to do was never an option for him.

              • MNLatteLiberal

                nonnie,
                I see your point, and I hope that’s the only thing we disagree on.

                What you describe, what was featured on (was it 20/20?) a tv news magazine several months ago was a man who was full of himself, a man with Napoleon complex, etc.. What the RS reporter saw was pervasive and ingrained pattern of dismissal of and disrespect for authority and superiors. That aspect of it cannot be explained by stepping in the same pile of shit. That attitude among the staff would mean as soon as McChrystal got back from Europe in October, he waved off his President’s words like a horsefly and continued nonchalantly with the same disregard.

                IMHO, that’d be either a mark of a sociopath (or some other ~path) which I do not believe he is, or a man with an alternative career path already lined up.

                So, I see your argument, I see the logic in it, but I remain unconvinced. Methinks you see my argument(s) too and at least some of their validity. We are both missing a key piece of the puzzle still, a piece which I hope will reveal itself in due time. I agree to disagree on this one.

                ~ Latte
                PS: I am still waiting on the wireless problem to be fixed on my pc, and I hate using the back up for net access and typing. I do not have the tools at present to argue this point. I blame the equipment :). Let’s move on and see what happens.

                • there’s really no sense in arguing it, because we won’t know the answer unless mcc or someone who knows him well tells us. this might have been a hissy fit, for all we know. in the end, it probably doesn’t matter anyway. it happened, and it’s over. now, if we could just say the same about the damned war.

    • jeb

      Sorry, can’t buy anything so Machiavellian. I’m not saying he won’t end up chasing office or providing punditry to an adoring audience but I believe that McC has lived in a cocoon for a long time. He’s built an insular group around him that protected him and whether anyone agrees with what he’s done in his year in Afghanistan or not, it takes a toll on a person. All those long days with little sleep and continuous strain starts to affect judgement and builds a belief that you’re bullet proof to those who sit safely back in the US. I think that in the end it really was poor judgement which was a very real reason why Obama had to get rid of him.

      What I had not realized or forgotten until I read the article though was that he was the general responsible for the Pat Tillman cover up. For that alone, he should have been fired a long time ago. However, the Bush Administration thrived on fairy tales and so he got promoted instead.

      • i agree 100%, jeb. i think he felt safe, had a few drinks, and that loosened his lips. when you’re around people you feel comfortable with, you let your guard down. the reporter became just one of the guys, and mcc wasn’t being careful (i still think booze was a factor). he should have been fired after the pat tillman cover-up. that was unforgivable in my estimation, and it showed that this man’s word could not be trusted.

      • MNLatteLiberal

        jeb,
        we agree on the Tillman issue. That is to say, the military MO under Rummie and dubya was to cover up the friendly fire incident and let McChrystal get away if not with murder, then with cover up. That part is largely viewed as his strike one.

        Strike two is more important here, and cannot be dismissed: last October McChrystal went public lobbying for 40,000 more troops/build up in Afghanistan, preempting his President and dictating his opinion upon the Administration. That incident had two key consequences, as far as we are concerned: 1) President Obama delayed announcing his decision by over a week, initially rejecting all options presented to him. And 2), on his way to receive his Nobel Peace Prize, Obama summoned McChrysal to Air Force One and proceeded to chew him a new one over the next 45 mins. Nobody really knows what exactly was said on that plane and exactly what aspect of decorum was explained to the obtuse general, but I’d like to believe that the level of detail our President shared with his general was sufficient even for a scatterbrain drunkard like McChrystal to remember his chain of command and expectations of his conduct beyond the next 9 months.

        Therefore, IMHO, the repeat of the the October events and their escalation by McChrystal cannot be an accident. What he did this time and allowed to happened among his senior staff this time was far worse. It was not a single incident, it was a wide-spread and pervasive attitude among the senior staff. The spilling of that to the RS reporter was not a single incident either; it was a repeated series of interviews with a multitude of staffers and McChrystal himself.

        Under different circumstances and with singular incident, I could see how it would be good ole boys getting drunk and accidentally saying more than they ought to. Without the October precedent and the subsequent chewing out, it could be attributed to carelessness and a Napoleon Complex of the general. But the onus of McChrystal’s recent past, the combined weight of it upon the shoulders of a brilliant strategist and a tactician, a man who has been trained to keep his mouth shut and knows how to do it better than all of us – all that is enough to convince me that this was no accident, no cocoon, no mistake. This was a calculated move by a remarkable chess player.

        He might’ve overplayed it with the Rethugs, but I bet he knows where he has support, present and future, and what next chicken hawk wing of the Rethugs or Tea Baggers will use an ally like this general. Time will tell. Let’s give this a few months and see where McChrystal lands.

        ~ Latte

  7. tulips4dolphins

    i truly believe mccrystal is simply an ego maniac that thought he could get away with anything after getting away with everything he’d done so far.
    IMHO, there is no need to search any further.
    he does not and will not ever have the penache to go anywhere in civilian life. and speaking of said ego, he would never PLAN a disgraceful exit as he was given over the rolling stone article.
    4 me the real travesty was not so much the juvenile name calling, but the spewing of military info that could be seen as confidential inmformation. i’m watching to see if he get’s court marshalled.
    love this site…just linked my way to it from DK. keep up the great work.
    i’ll be baaack…!

    • hello tulips4dolphins,

      welcome to the raisin! :D

      i think your assessment is about right. i think he’s gotten away with a lot in the past, so he gets a bit cocky and thinks he’ll always get away with the same sort of thing. i’m watching the colbert report right now, and the rolling stone reporter said that mcc’s press aide called a couple of months after the interviews, and he asked that a lot of what he had seen and heard be deleted. well, that didn’t happen. mcc won’t be courtmartialed, but he’s leaving in disgrace. that’s gotta hurt after so many years in the military. i feel a little sorry for him.

      put your feet up, and look around t4d. i’ll get the cabana boy to bring you a cocktail. hope to see you again real soon! :D

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