Civilian/military relations

The Media Bags a General
The elite plays “gotcha”

How to Make a Mountain out of a Molehill
A Tempest in a Teapot
How to blow things out of proportion
The media reveals its true mentor/muse :
M - I - C - K - E - Y
M - O - U - S - E

The Firing of General McChrystal

(There’s no doubt about who “The Ugly” is
in this story.)

This is about the firing of General Stanley A. McChrystal.
We begin with some events prior to that firing,
either for comparison purposes or to show what led up to that firing.

Gen. Jones and the Anonymous Long Knives
By Sally Quinn
Washington Post, 2009-05-18

The knives are out.
The tom-toms are beating.
And by Washington standards it's soon.
Usually the trashing of the national security adviser takes longer.

In recent days articles have appeared in The Post and the New York Times
questioning the abilities of retired four-star Gen. Jim Jones,
the former commandant of the Marine Corps and former NATO commander.
Of all the power games in Washington, this one probably has the highest stakes.
This is dangerous to the players and to the country.


[This is just to show that intra-mural sniping is a sport
hardly confined to military officers,
also that others other than those on General McChrystal’s staff
have previously aimed their fire at General Jones.
The identity of the snipers in this case
was protected by the press, protecting them from counter-fire.
The press made no such efforts to protect General McChrystal and his staff.]

"NATO general in Afghanistan: Victory will be slow" AP
by Patrick Lang
Sic Semper Tyrannis, 2010-05-30

[After quoting from an AP story, Lang wrote the following.
I have interpolated comments after some paragraphs.]

Is McChrystal really this delusional?
Does he really think that he can “log-roll” the media,
shape US public opinion
and thus force Obama to do what he wants him to do?

[As to the first sentence,
I don't see the slightest evidence of delusional thought
in what the article claims McChrystal said.
The "dramatic change" he asserted may not have been long-lasting,
but then he did not claim that it would be.
As to the last sentence, I see no evidence that that is what McChrystal thought.]

Apparently, the answer is yes.

The info-ops obsession seems to have reached a level of development
in which the monkish general believes that
he bestrides the world and can sculpt history to his taste.

[This paragraph seems utterly unsupported by what McChrystal said.]

The problem with being a senior personage for a long time
is that you live with sycophants for so long
that after a while you start to believe the nonsense they serve up
about how wonderful you are, how powerful, how handsome, etc.
My wife calls this the “great man syndrome.”

[No doubt a true concern all in power must worry about.
As Lord Ashton said,
Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
But unlike Colonel Lang, I do not see the evidence that
General McChrystal suffered from this affliction.
He certainly seems to have maintained an utterly ascetic and disciplined life,
for one thing.
Now Dick Cheney, that’s another matter.]

It sounds as though Stanley is riding hard for a fall... pl

[As to the last comment, Lang was certainly prescient.
One may wonder if he had inside information on
the elite's thoughts about McChrystal.]

General McChrystal: Kandahar operation will take longer
By Craig Whitlock
Washington Post, 2010-06-10


[McChrystal] said winning support from local leaders, some of whom

see the Taliban fighters
not as oppressors
but as their Muslim brothers,

was proving tougher than expected.


“When you go to protect people,
the people have to want you to protect them,”

McChrystal told reporters.
“It’s a deliberate process. It takes time to convince people.”


[When I read that, I thought
Uh-oh, General McChrystal is in big trouble now.
He just said something the elite doesn’t want to hear.
The elite, at least as exemplified by
the editorial boards of the New York Times and Washington Post,
follows their usual delusion that
the rest of the world shares their values
(that may be summarized as “political correctness”).
The elite believes that
anyone who doesn’t share those values ipso facto has something wrong with them
and must (or at least should) be corrected
(by persuasion, by force, by drugs)
and brought into a state of conformity
with their religion of political correctness.

At any rate, the assertion has been that
the vast majority of the Afghans want to be protected from the Taliban,
whom they fear as oppressors.
General McChrystal here, and in other situations, has shown signs of (gasp)
telling the truth about
how the Afghans really feel about the relative merits of the Taliban
versus whatever regime is acceptable to the editors of the Post and Times,
thus causing agonizing cognitive dissonance for the elite.
And the last thing the elite wants
is to have their own lies, deceits, and delusions pointed out to them,
most especially by one of their own hirelings,
in this case a four-star general.
Clearly they would have to figure out some way to get rid of him
before he confused the general public with too much more of the truth.

Note added on 06-23:
I was wrong about the editorial boards, at least.
The Post’s 06-23 editorial urges that President Obama retain General McChrystal,
while the Times’s 06-23 editorial is neutral on the subject.
However many of their columnists and quoted opinion-leaders
do confirm to the view I suggested above.]

Taking Stock in Afghanistan
New York Times Editorial, 2010-06-14


Western officials and experts also say that
the American military found it hard to read —
and in some instances they misread —
the complex tribal and societal relationships in [Kandahar and Marja].
Nearly nine years after the Americans arrived in Afghanistan,
American intelligence agencies, civilian and military, seem to be flying blind.
That is intolerable.


We don’t know if the Taliban leaders will ever compromise.
But we are sure that they will consider it only under duress.
General McChrystal is going to have to do a much better job in Kandahar.
Mr. Karzai is going to have to drop his illusions and commit to the fight.

The Runaway General
by Michael Hastings
Rolling Stone, 2010-06-21

Stanley McChrystal, Obama's top commander in Afghanistan,
has seized control of the war by never taking his eye off the real enemy:
The wimps in the White House

[It seems to me the most inflammatory parts of the article are
its title and subtitle, as above.

Some excerpts from the article:]

“How’d I get screwed into going to this dinner?”
demands Gen. Stanley McChrystal.
[Could he have been joking?
How many men have been forced to attend functions
they would really rather not have?]

It’s a Thursday night in mid-April,
and the commander of all U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan
is sitting in a four-star suite at the Hôtel Westminster in Paris.
He’s in France to sell his new war strategy to our NATO allies –
to keep up the fiction, in essence, that we actually have allies.
Since McChrystal took over a year ago,
the Afghan war has become the exclusive property of the United States.
Opposition to the war has already toppled the Dutch government,
forced the resignation of Germany’s president and
sparked both Canada and the Netherlands
to announce the withdrawal of their 4,500 troops.
McChrystal is in Paris to keep the French,
who have lost more than 40 soldiers in Afghanistan,
from going all wobbly on him.

“The dinner comes with the position, sir,”
says [McChrystal’s] chief of staff, Col. Charlie Flynn.

McChrystal turns sharply in his chair.

“Hey, Charlie,” he asks, “does this come with the position?”

McChrystal gives him the middle finger.

[Sounds like a pretty pedestrian bit of joshing around to me.
This is news?
Or anything worthy of criticism?]


Now, flipping through printout cards of his speech in Paris,
McChrystal wonders aloud what Biden question he might get today,
and how he should respond.
“I never know what’s going to pop out until I’m up there,
that’s the problem,” he says.
Then, unable to help themselves,
he and his staff imagine the general
dismissing the vice president with a good one-liner.

“Are you asking about Vice President Biden?” McChrystal says with a laugh.
“Who’s that?”

“Biden?” suggests a top adviser.
“Did you say: Bite Me?”

[First, as to the “Bite Me” comment from an adviser,
of course that was disrespectful.

But as to the “Who’s that?” from General McChrystal himself,
that was entirely appropriate.
The U.S. military works, not for the vice president, but for the president.
The president is commander in chief.
What title does the vice president have?
The vice president has no authority over the military.

Think about it.
Would you really want a situation where commanders,
in deciding what course of action they should take, would think
“Well, I know what the president would want me to do,
and I know what the vice president would want me to do.
So it’s up to me to mediate and compromise between those two courses of action”?
Of course not.

So, in terms of operational control and decision making,
General McChrystal’s response of “Who’s that?” was entirely appropriate.
Too bad those that make up the Washington establishment,
or at least those whose thoughts make it into the Post and NY Times,
seem not to have given much attention to this point.]


[T]he public eye has never been a place where McChrystal felt comfortable:
Before President Obama put him in charge of the war in Afghanistan,
he spent five years running the Pentagon’s most secretive black ops.

[Good point.]


[Here is the one paragraph where, so far as I can tell,
General McChrystal might be perceived as disparaging President Obama.]

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.”

[First, the reporting we are getting here is third hand:
from General McChrystal
to “sources familiar with the meeting” or an unidentified adviser
to author Hastings.
This is definitive enough to justify the judgments made,
let alone the firing?

Second, even if these recollections are totally accurate,
they seem neither exceptional nor problematic.
So what if General McChrysal thought a relatively young president
might take a while to become accustomed to dealing with
the five members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in joint session?
That hardly seems unreasonable.
And the assertion that President Obama was not fully up-to-speed
on the issues relative to Afghanistan
at the initial one-on-one meeting between the president and his Afghan commander
hardly seems newsworthy, let alone a slur on the president.
So what?]


[The final paragraph of the article:
Again, the emphasis and comments are added.]

Whatever the nature of the new plan,
the delay underscores the fundamental flaws of counterinsurgency.
After nine years of war,
the Taliban simply remains too strongly entrenched
for the U.S. military to openly attack.
The very people that COIN seeks to win over –
the Afghan people –
do not want us there.

Our supposed ally, President Karzai,
used his influence to delay the offensive,
and the massive influx of aid championed by McChrystal
is likely only to make things worse.

“Throwing money at the problem exacerbates the problem,”
says Andrew Wilder, an expert at Tufts University
who has studied the effect of aid in southern Afghanistan.
“A tsunami of cash
fuels corruption, delegitimizes the government and
creates an environment where we’re picking winners and losers”

– a process that fuels resentment and hostility among the civilian population.
So far, counterinsurgency has succeeded only in creating
a never-ending demand for the primary product supplied by the military:
perpetual war.

[What generated the war is the failure to negotiate our differences,
failures caused by policy decisions such as this.]

There is a reason that
President Obama studiously avoids using the word “victory”
when he talks about Afghanistan.
Winning, it would seem, is not really possible.
Not even with Stanley McChrystal in charge.

[You notice how the “elite” has played up
half-a-dozen minor bits of criticism
expressed by McChrystal or his staff over a period of three weeks,
while it ignored the last paragraph,
which clearly states that
“the Afghan people do not want us there”
and suggests the war is unwinnable.
How much more proof do you need that
the media/political “elite” will stop at nothing to keep this war going,
for the benefit of Israel and feminism?]

Rolling Stone McChrystal article understates the backbiting
by David Ignatius
Washington Post PostPartisan Blog, 2010-06-22

[I include this only to show that not all the Post's columnists
recommended that McChrystal resign or be fired.]

McChrystal’s Challenge
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2010-06-22

[Raimondo takes a lot of shots at McChrystal and his staff
that I feel are totally unwarrented, inappropriate, and juvenile.
Nonetheless, Raimondo does provide some good information on
the reactions that the Rolling Stone article has provoked,
so I am including this reference to his article.]

See the McChrystal post on 30 May, 2010
by Patrick Lang
Sic Semper Tyrannis, 2010-06-22

[I most certainly do not agree with
the negative assessment of General McChrystal made here by Colonel (ret.) Lang,
however I include this link for reference.
The 30 May 2010 post to which he refers is
"NATO general in Afghanistan: Victory will be slow" AP]

Scott Horton Interviews Michael Hastings

Michael Hastings,
author of the article “The Runaway General” in Rolling Stone magazine,
discusses the controversy surrounding his profile of Gen. Stanley McChrystal
(who has now been relieved of command in Afghanistan).

[Here are some excerpts from the eight minute interview.

By the way, I do not agree with most of what Horton and Hastings ascribe to be
the motivations and attitudes of General McChrystal and his team.
But I think it is useful to know where various people,
certainly including some of the journalists
who are influencing and leading public opinion,
are coming from,
their underlying assumptions and goals.

In particular, the key thing to observe is how Horton and Hastings,
especially in the final paragraph,
blame the military leadership
for decisions made by the politicians, egged on by the media.]

You have Gen. McChrystal and his team, “Team America,”
his closest buddies surrounding him,
really opening up about how much they cannot stand the administration,
and that seems to have been the thing that got Washington all upset.

Yeah, apparently to criticize and make fun of the vice president
in front of reporters,
that’s generally probably not a good career move.
But I think, I think what the comments point to from Gen. McChrystal’s view
is a real frustration that his team has with the White House
as well as a frustration he has with other civilian policy makers
who are involved in the Afghanistan strategy.

Yeah, I mean, that’s really what comes across in the article is that
it’s not a personal account really of McChrystal,
it’s about his inability to succeed in Afghanistan,
and then it seems like all the frustration,
all the finger pointing goes up from there,
instead of them taking responsibility, him and his “Team America.”

[My view:
They’re doing the best they can
to accomplish the mission the politicians have given them
with the resources the politicians have given them.
The frustration is when the mission is, in fact, “Mission Impossible”,
but the politicians cannot or will not admit it.]

Yeah, and I think certainly if we look at, you know,
President Obama’s role in selecting Gen. McChrystal,
why he selected Gen. McChrystal, and
what President Obama’s strategy for Afghanistan originally was –
remember, in March 2009, you know,
President Obama said he wanted to narrow the goals in Afghanistan,
narrow them to just fighting al Qaeda.
Then he selected a Gen. who proceeded to do just the opposite
and expand the goals almost exponentially.
We went from 50,000 troops to 150,000 troops.
We went from fighting al Qaeda
to building a nation on an almost unprecedented scale.
So, really, I think, you know part of this hostility
is the relationship between the president and the general
and the fact that
the president has just sort of lost control of the policy.

Yeah, well, and it doesn’t sound like the troops in Afghanistan
seem to be so gung ho about this anymore either.

No, I think, I mean I’m sure you’ve discussed counterinsurgency
many times on your program,
and we’ve discussed this before as well.
You know, the US military is made to fight.
That’s what they’re really good at, and they’re really efficient at it.
And it’s very difficult to put them in situations
and then tell them, you know, don’t fight.
And that rubs a lot of them the wrong way
and a lot of them feel that they may have to make sacrifices
and they might be putting their own lives more at risk
rather than, say, killing who they view are insurgents.

Yeah, well, and that’s an interesting thing too,
the whole, you know, sent out there to fight
with one hand tied behind their back.
They’re up against people who have rifles
and are willing to shoot back at them
and yet then
because they’re supposed to be trying to avoid civilian casualties,
even though all their enemies are civilians,
they’re put in a position where they have to get shot rather than shoot.

Really, and I think, I mean I think you know
this is a sort of fundamental flaw with counterinsurgency is that, you know,
we spend $600 billion a year on our military
but then we get involved in these wars
where we can’t even use our technological edge.
I mean, in a way it doesn’t make much sense.
So, yeah, I mean, you know,
once you take away the US and the ground troops’ air support,
you’re putting a US solider on, you know,
a somewhat level playing field with a Taliban fighter.
And so these guys who signed up to fight are like,
“What the hell, you know, like, why are we here?”

Yeah, they imagined they were going to be
a set piece battle against a different state’s military
instead of patrolling around like a, you know, a SWAT cop or something.
Well, now, you talk about how they changed the mission
from fighting al Qaeda to building a nation
and how McChrystal’s gotten his stamp on it,
and I guess they had to change the mission because, he says in here,
there are no al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

Exactly. I mean, the sort of connection
between nation building and fighting terrorism and fighting al Qaeda
is I think, you know,
a very tenuous connection at best,
and so you get stuck with this momentum of the campaign you’re fighting,
and it’s worse than a quagmire.
They’re saying that really it’s worse than a quagmire
because it’s a quagmire we knowingly walked into.
Because if say al Qaeda’s in Pakistan,
then what are we doing in Afghanistan?

[Man, are these guys in denial.
For the answer to that question,
see the quotes from Hillary Rodham Clinton and the New York Times editorial page here.]

Yeah. Well now, the centerpiece of the COIN strategy ...
was the invasion of Marjah.
They were going to give the people of Marjah a “government in a box.”
Did you have a chance to talk with Gen. McChrystal much about that operation?

Well, I did talk to him about that, and he, you know,
was sort of optimistically cautious as that’s the position they take.
But then, you know, much later he said that Marjah was a “bleeding ulcer.”
So what does that say?
And I think one of the funny things about this story is that
people have been saying,
“Wow, how could he have said these things in private to you?”
Well look at what he says in public.
He’s calling one of his operations a bleeding ulcer.
So what do we expect him to say in private?

Right, yeah, his centerpiece operation.
At least he’s bluntly honest, this guy.
Well, and look, this is not nothing here:
It seems like there is, you know,
a challenge to the civilian supremacy in a sense here, you have
a very powerful general mocking and ridiculing
the president, the vice president, the special envoy, the ambassador,
everybody but the secretary of state, apparently,
he thinks he’s better than them,
and that’s really not how it’s supposed to be in America.

[Wait a minute.
Nowhere did General McChrystal mock or ridicule the president.
As to the nasty cracks, I believe all of them were made by his aides.
Further, I think we all know that when you call someone a "clown",
often your putdown is only meant in relation to
the specific policy issue then on the table.
The putdown is just a shorthand for
your assertion of a better handle on or solution for a specific issue,
not "being a better person" than they.
E.g., take calling retired general Jones a clown.
Now, a former commandant of the Marine Corps and EUCOM commander
is, of course, not a clown.
However, it is very possible that
his knowledge base is indeed
both dated and not terribly relevant to
the challenges of fighting Islamic insurgencies in Afghanistan.
I understood that to be
what was meant by calling General Jones a "clown."]

Did you take that as a real challenge to civilian supremacy
or as just some drunk old general is letting off some steam here?

[Again, the insults were made by aides, not by General McChrystal.]

I think there’s a larger kind of structural issue here about –
you just compare the DOD budget to the State Department budget,
$600 billion to $50 billion.
You know, you look at every foreign service officer –
you know, there’s more people in the Army band
than there are foreign service officers.
You know, you could fit every foreign service officer on an aircraft carrier.
You know, so you look like at just the sort of decay of the State Department
and basically
our foreign policy has become our defense policy.
You know, the two are one.
And I think that translates into the fact that
a lot of the time just the leaders get the blame for all the wars,
and they should take their fair share of blame,
but I think

we also have to start looking at the military leaders
in a much more critical way
than they’re accustomed to be looked at.

Here, just for the sake of fun (or information),
is a comparison of the headlines in the (Washington) print editions
of the New York Times and Washington Post on Wednesday, 2010-06-23.

New York Times Washington Post
General’s Job Is in Doubt
In Exposing Afghan Rifts

McChrystal Called In to Explain
Remarks Contemptuous of Other Officials
Angered Obama orders
McChrystal to return

General’s Job In Jeopardy

Remarks in article disparaged U.S. officials

Note the similarity.
I am not a student of journalism, nor do I know much about textual analysis
(tracing texts back to a common origin;
cf. stylometry and the documentary hypothesis).
People more learned than I might comment
if there is any significance to the similarity.

McChrystal’s Fate in Limbo as He Prepares to Meet Obama
New York Times, 2010-06-23

[The NYT introduces the controversy.
Some excerpts:]

The firestorm was fueled by
increasing doubts — even in the military —
that Afghanistan can be won

and by
crumbling public support for the nine-year war
as American casualties rise.

The criticism of General McChrystal’s statements was swift,
and the general had apologized and prepared a letter of resignation,
though President Obama had not made up his mind whether to accept it
when they meet on Wednesday morning.

[That paragraph presumably reflects the situation as of Tuesday evening, 06-23.
It signifies, to me, that Obama did not immediately make up his mind,
potentially because he wanted to see how the news media would play the story
as it appeared on their Internet editions through the day on Tuesday,
ending with their final version late Tuesday night,
the version that would appear in print the morning of the next day, Wednesday, 06-23,
i.e., the stories that appear in part in this document with the 06-23 date.
Thus these stories very potentially influenced Obama’s decision to fire McChrystal.
What if the stories had said:

“The Rolling Stone story really isn’t very significant,
just the off-the-cuff remarks of a general far more used to war-fighting
than media-spinning.
They clearly call for him to be told to be more judicious in his remarks
about his colleagues in the national security apparatus,
but considering the outstanding job he does as the leader of troops
and strategist for the war in Afghanistan,
surely no more serious disciplinary action is called for.”

What if?

The Times article goes on to mention
many other examples of intra-mural sniping between
the members of the Obama administration mentioned by General McChrystal’s staff
(emphasis is added):]

[M]any of the president’s top advisers
have continued to criticize one another
to reporters and international allies alike,
usually in private conversations,
and almost always off the record.

“Yes, we do hear them disparage each other,”
said a senior European diplomat
who works closely with the United States on Afghanistan strategy.
“It’s never good to hear that.”

Bruce O. Riedel, a senior fellow at Brookings Institution
who helped the administration formulate its initial Afghan policy, added,
“This flap shows once again that his team is not pulling together,
but is engaging in backbiting.”

The many Afghanistan team conflicts include
complaints from the American ambassador, Karl W. Eikenberry,
about Richard C. Holbrooke,
the special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan,
who has been portrayed by some as disruptive
and whose relationship with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan
chilled last year after difficult meetings following the August election.
For his part, Ambassador Eikenberry has had his own tensions
with the mercurial Mr. Karzai.

In one episode that dramatized the building animosities,
Gen. James L. Jones, the national security adviser,
wrote to Ambassador Eikenberry in February,
sympathizing with his complaints
about a visit Mr. Holbrooke had recently made to Afghanistan.
In the note, which went out over unsecure channels, officials said,
General Jones soothed the ambassador by suggesting that
Mr. Holbrooke would soon be removed from his job.

The Jones note prompted Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
to complain to Mr. Obama,
and her support for Mr. Holbrooke has kept him in his job.

[Clearly, General McChrystal’s staff
wasn’t the only one disparaging their comrades;
merely the only one to be caught.

Continuing the article:]

The infighting has been made more severe by
the increasingly perilous situation on the ground.
Violence in Afghanistan is on the rise.
The mission to pacify Marja and Kandahar is far off track.
And the effort to create a viable Afghan government is increasingly in doubt
because of widespread corruption.
Criticism is mounting on Capitol Hill, even among the president’s backers,
and many allies have announced that they are looking for the exit,
with others expected to do the same in the coming months.

One administration official described Mr. Obama as being particularly furious
at a McChrystal aide’s characterization of him
as not seeming “very engaged” during their first White House meeting.

[I don’t know why Mr. Obama should be so sensitive about that.
It would be a significant criticism
if Mr. Obama were described as being unengaged on an ongoing basis.
But if the problem was only at one meeting, and the first meeting at that,
why worry about the comment?]

The Fury of a General, Released by Nature
New York Times, 2010-06-23

Of all the questions surrounding the Rolling Stone article
that detailed Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal’s surprisingly blunt criticisms
of the Obama administration, few are as puzzling as this:
Why would a top military commander allow a journalist
so much unfettered access to his inner circle?

The answer, it seems, is a volcano.

Michael Hastings, the freelance journalist who wrote the bombshell article
about General McChrystal’s displeasure with the war effort in Afghanistan,
was with the general and his staff in Paris in April
as the Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted in Iceland,
forcing the closing of airspace over most of Europe.

As a result, Mr. Hastings waited in Paris with the general and his staff
as they tried to get to Berlin by bus.
Mr. Hastings traveled to Berlin separately.
He later rejoined the general’s inner circle at the Ritz-Carlton hotel there,
where they all spent the week waiting for the ash cloud to clear
so they could fly to Afghanistan.

“I was so amazed by it myself,”
Mr. Hastings said in a telephone interview from Kandahar, Afghanistan,
where he is now reporting on another story for Men’s Journal.
“At times I asked myself that question:
Why are they giving me all this access?”

Though Mr. Hastings said that
most of the eyebrow-raising comments in the article
came from the general during the first two days in Paris,
he found him and his staff to be more welcoming as time went by.

Initially, Mr. Hastings was not scheduled
to travel with General McChrystal to Afghanistan.
Only after he arrived in Europe did Mr. Hastings learn that
the general’s staff was eager to take him with them.
“They suggested the idea,” Mr. Hastings said.

Mr. Hastings ended up spending about a month
on and off with the general and his staff
while they were in Afghanistan —
most of the time in settings and interviews
that the general allowed to be on the record.
“The amazing thing to me was that no ground rules were set,”
Mr. Hastings said.


[I really hope that, after the dust settles and the shock abates,
we will get to hear from the general and those quoted in the article
their views on why the interview was given
and how accurately the article portrayed what was said.
Were statements taken out of context?
Were ground rules, perhaps not put in writing, violated?
I for one really would like to hear
General McChrystal and his staff’s side of the story.
Yes, I know the military attitude is “No excuses, sir!”,
but in this case I think we do need to know both sides of the story.]

Obama orders McChrystal back to Washington after remarks about U.S. officials
By Greg Jaffe and Ernesto Londoño
Washington Post, 2010-06-23

[The WP introduces the controversy.]

Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal’s belittling critique
of some of the Obama administration’s top officials
left the president with a stark choice on Tuesday:
comments that border on insubordination,
or fire his top commander at a critical moment in Afghanistan.

Even as thousands of U.S. troops were moving into Kandahar province
for what is expected to be a crucial phase in one of the longest U.S. wars,
McChrystal appeared dangerously close to losing his command
because of the incendiary remarks
he and members of his inner circle had made
in an article in the current issue of Rolling Stone magazine.

While a U.S. official said that McChrystal had already made
an informal resignation offer to senior military officials
before flying to Washington,
President Obama made it clear that it is up to him to decide the general’s fate.

“I want to make sure I talk to him before I make any final decision,”
said Obama, whom aides described as furious over the article.

There was a widespread recognition
among military and political officials

McChrystal had crossed a venerated line
in criticizing his civilian chain of command.

[There the elite goes again.
Lie, lie, lie.
See the remarks on the chain of command here.]

Even though McChrystal issued an apology,
many of his staunchest backers said
the remarks by him and his staff members in the article --
titled “The Runaway General” --
were grounds for dismissal.

[As to the very strong first sentence of the above paragraph,
an earlier version of this story was even stronger:]

The sentiment that McChrystal and his staff
had crossed
an almost sacred line
in criticizing the civilian chain of command
was almost universal.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said McChrystal
made a “significant mistake” and used “poor judgment.”

“Our troops and coalition partners
are making extraordinary sacrifices on behalf of our security,
and our singular focus must be on supporting them
and succeeding in Afghanistan without such distractions,”
Gates said.

[The only distraction is this tempest in a teapot
the “elite” have been going gaga over.]

During his 12 months in Kabul,
McChrystal has earned a reputation as a forthright commander
with an unscripted style and a strong work ethic.
He has forged a close working relationship with Afghan President Hamid Karzai,
who was quick to come to the general’s defense Tuesday,
saying that his loss would be a major setback for the war effort.

Still, McChrystal has stumbled frequently in his interactions with the media,
often to the great irritation of the White House.
It has interpreted the general’s outspoken manner
as an effort to box Obama into backing a major troop surge
and large-scale counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan.

[HO! HO! HO!
Even with McChrystal gone,
the “elite”, from Obama on down,
seem to be having no trouble inventing reasons for showing how false was
Obama’s original suggestion of a significant U.S. drawdown after July 2011.]

In the article, McChrystal suggests that
Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberry, the top U.S. civilian in Afghanistan,
“betrayed” him by suggesting in a classified cable last fall
that Karzai was not a credible partner
in the counterinsurgency strategy that McChrystal was advocating.
He and his staff also made derisive comments about
Richard C. Holbrooke, the special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan,
and Vice President Biden, who has expressed skepticism
regarding McChrystal’s counterinsurgency strategy.

“Are you asking me about Vice President Biden? Who’s that?”
McChrystal is quoted as saying at one point in the article.

“Biden?” chimes in an aide who is seated nearby,
and who is not named in the article.
“Did you say: Bite Me?”

“I say this as someone who admires and respects Stan McChrystal enormously.
The country doesn’t know how much good he’s done. But
this is a firing offense,”
said Eliot A. Cohen ...


Much of McChrystal’s career has been spent
in the military’s secretive Special Operations community,
which rarely deals with the media and often views outsiders,
even those within the military, with suspicion.
Some of the most damaging statements in the Rolling Stone article
were from his staff officers,
who are also drawn heavily from the Special Operations community.

Gen. David H. Petraeus, head of the U.S. Central Command,
spent a major part of his career in Washington
and is far more practiced
in dealing with reporters and the political leadership.

An administration official,
discussing internal White House deliberations on the condition of anonymity,
said McChrystal and his senior advisers are part of a unit
“that is typically focused on intensive, sensitive, kinetic action.”

But McChrystal’s current post requires handling
international diplomacy, military strategy and Washington politics.
The official said that “it reaches beyond an insular fraternity of brothers.”

“This wouldn’t have happened in a thousand years with Dave Petraeus,”
the official added.

A U.S. military official said that the author of the Rolling Stone article,
Michael Hastings, a freelance journalist
who has also written for The Washington Post,
was supposed to have had limited to access to McChrystal
while he was in Europe.
But after the eruption of a volcano in Iceland
shut down air travel across Europe, stranding the general,
Hastings had access to him for much longer.

The U.S. military official also said Duncan Boothby,
McChrystal’s civilian press aide,
allowed Hastings to chat with staff members
without establishing clear ground rules.
Boothby resigned Tuesday.

White House officials said Obama was alerted to the article Monday
when Biden called him around 8 p.m.
Biden told Obama that McChrystal called him
while he was traveling back from Illinois aboard Air Force Two
to apologize for the article,
which Biden had yet to read.

Obama got in touch with White House press secretary Robert Gibbs,
requesting that he distribute the article to the president’s senior advisers
and to have them discuss its contents
and begin to think about which course to take.

After reading the piece,
Obama told aides that he thought McChrystal
should be ordered to return
for the monthly Situation Room meeting to be held Wednesday,
the officials said.
His advisers agreed.

The White House’s frustration with the story ran deeper than
ham-handed media relations.
It hinted at a civilian-military divide that could damage the war effort.

McChrystal and his inner-circle officers have spent much of the past decade
either at war or in some of the Pentagon’s most demanding staff positions.
The grinding deployments
have fueled tension between the White House and the military
that dates to the Afghan strategy review last fall.

[I do not see that particular connection.
The grinding deployments no doubt stress those who endure them in many ways,
but to assert that they are the cause of policy disputes
seems to me a stretch.]

Some military officials, including many on McChrystal’s staff,
interpreted the president’s decision at the time
to impose a deadline on the U.S. troop surge
as a sign that
the administration wasn’t serious about winning the Afghan war.

[Yes, that certainly gets to the issues.
But the key questions are:
1. What does it mean to "win" the war?
2. Is "winning the war" in the sense just defined necessary for America?
3. What is the cost, to America and to Afghanistan, of so "winning" the war?
4. What is the cost/benefit ratio, for each of the affected parties?]

The major question confronting Obama was
whether he could lose his general without losing the war.

“My advice is to call him back to Washington,
publicly chastise him and then make it clear that
there is something greater at stake here,”
said Nathaniel Fick, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan
and is the chief executive officer of the Center for a New American Security,
a think tank that has backed Obama’s Afghan strategy.
“It takes time for anyone to get up to speed,
and right now time is our most precious commodity in Afghanistan.”

If McChrystal is allowed to stay in command,
he will have to work hard to repair his relationships with civilian leaders
such as Eikenberry and Holbrooke.
In recent months, senior U.S. officials and military experts
have characterized the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan as disjointed,
with the military and the State Department at times working at cross-purposes.

Before the article was published,
the relationship between McChrystal and Eikenberry seemed to be improving.
But deeper divides between the State Department and the military remained.

“Of all the keys to victory in counterinsurgency campaigns,
the only one we fully control is unity of effort,”
said a civilian adviser to McChrystal’s command.
“It’s absolutely critical.
And we’ve made a complete mockery of it.”

[This article contained, after the jump, the following displayed comment, in boldface
(line-breaks are as in the original, but the color is added):]

“The country doesn’t know how
much good [McChrystal] has
done. But this is a firing offense.”

Eliot A. Cohen, adviser in George W. Bush administration

The President and His General
New York Times Editorial, 2010-06-23

Its sixth paragraph:

The most incendiary quotes, the ones that have drawn the White House’s fury, predictably have no names attached to them.
“One aide” describes James Jones,
a retired general and the president’s national security adviser,
as “a clown” who remains “stuck in 1985.”
A “top adviser” is even more insulting about Vice President Biden,
who opposed sending more troops to Afghanistan.
An unnamed “adviser” says that “the Boss”
was “disappointed” with his first one-on-one meeting with President Obama,
who “didn’t seem very engaged.”

On McChrystal, little bark -- or bite -- from Obama
By Dana Milbank
Washington Post Opinion, 2010-06-23


President Obama’s hand-selected commander in Afghanistan
had, along with his aides,
made shockingly insubordinate comments to Rolling Stone magazine:
calling the national security adviser a “clown,”
describing Obama as intimidated and disengaged,
disparaging allies and top U.S. diplomats, and
converting Vice President Biden’s surname to Bite Me.
Obama ordered McChrystal to appear in the Situation Room on Wednesday,
but in the briefing room on Tuesday,
press secretary Robert Gibbs was already feasting.

First bite:
“General McChrystal,” Gibbs said, “has made an enormous mistake.”

Second bite:
“I think the magnitude and graveness of the mistake here are profound.”

Third bite:
“The purpose for calling him here is to see what in the world he was thinking.”

Gibbs kept on chewing out the commander.
“I think anybody that reads that article understands . . .
what an enormous mistake this was,” he said.
Parents of soldiers “need to know that
the structure where they’re sending their children
is one that is capable and mature enough in prosecuting a war.”

ABC News’s Jake Tapper stopped him.
“Did I hear you correctly? So you’re questioning
whether General McChrystal is capable and mature enough
for this job he has?”

“You had my quote right,” Gibbs said.

Only two words were missing from this disembowelment of the commander:
You’re fired.
Gibbs hinted that Obama would deliver that message to McChrystal in person
on Wednesday.
If he doesn’t,
it’s hard to see how he can maintain his credibility as a leader.


Now Gen. Bite Me may have gone too far even for President Dangerfield
to tolerate.
The insults from McChrystal and his men --
packaged with vulgarities, a middle finger and drunken singing in a Paris bar --
challenge not just Obama but
the sacred concept of civilian control of the military.
That’s probably why figures such as
Republicans Sens. John McCain (Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.)
gave Obama a free pass on Tuesday
to fire the general.

The president, nibbling around the edges,
said nothing about McChrystal until remarking in the evening that
the general had shown “poor judgment.”
Gibbs, in the briefing room, was similarly slow to bare his teeth
when asked for Obama’s reaction.
“Well, suffice to say, our combatant commander does not usually participate in
these meetings from Washington,”
he said of Wednesday’s session in the Situation Room.

But it didn’t suffice to say that, and reporters tried to provoke Gibbs,
sniffling and sipping tea from a paper cup, to unload on McChrystal:
“How can the president keep someone in his job
who offers that level of insubordination? . . .
Does the president at all feel betrayed?

The Wall Street Journal’s Jonathan Weisman, pointing out that
McChrystal had already been in trouble (for disagreeing publicly with Biden),
“How many times can this man be taken to the woodshed?”

Gibbs followed the familiar route of expressing the president’s anger.
“I gave him the article last night, and he was angry,” he announced.

“How so?” asked CBS’s Chip Reid.

“Angry. You would know it if you saw it,” Gibbs said.

Reporters pressed: “Did he pound the table? Did he curse? Can you elaborate?”

“No,” Gibbs said. “I’m not going to elaborate.”

Good answer.
It’s time for Obama and his aides to stop talking about his anger,
and start acting on it.

The Other Truman Doctrine
New York Times Op-Ed, 2010-06-23

IRRESPECTIVE of anything he said,
Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top American commander in Afghanistan,
committed a clear breach of traditional standards
by even agreeing to give an interview to Rolling Stone magazine.

[Is Dallek a bozo, a liar, or crazy?
Consider, for example (even if Professor Bozo is unaware of it),
this Newsweek interview with General David Petraeus,
not to mention the famous (but evidently not to Professor Bozo)
2004 Newsweek cover story, "Can This Man Save Iraq?".
Or note what Bloomberg said about David Petraeus:
“Articulate, photogenic and media-friendly”.
Does that sound like a man who avoids media interviews?

How many embedded journalists were there in the invasion of Iraq,
all busy conducting interviews with every general they could find?]

Presidents and defense secretaries make policy decisions,
and military officers, from the lowest to the highest ranks,
are obliged to follow orders without public comment.
To be sure,
civilian authorities ask military chiefs for private counsel
on the best means to fight a war,
but final decisions on grand strategy are the responsibility of the president.

[Very true, Professor Bozo. What's your point?]

If a top officer feels strongly that his commander in chief is mistaken,
he can resign and take his case to the public as a private citizen.

[Again, very true.
But where in the Rolling Story article you supposedly are discussing
did General McChrystal say anything that can be construed as asserting
“his commander in chief is mistaken”?]


General McChrystal ... is not Douglas MacArthur.
His misdeed was not an insubordinate demand for a change in grand strategy.
Rather, it seems more like
a few mindless expressions of irritation at higher authority
in a magazine he probably never reads:
snidely mocking Vice President Joe Biden
with the comment “Biden ... Who’s that?”;
complaining about frequent e-mail messages
from the administration’s special representative
to the Afghan war area, Richard Holbrooke.

[Whoa, academic clown.
With respect to the ISAF commander,
Richard Holbrooke was not a higher authority.
(And Vice President Biden is most certainly not in the military chain of command.)
You lie, professor.]

Couldn’t one dismiss these remarks as
relatively harmless examples of poor taste
by a general burdened with a difficult, if not unwinnable, war?
If so, the appropriate punishment might be a public slap on the hand.
That would certainly insulate President Obama from accusations
that he was overreacting to a misstep
by a good soldier who has already apologized.

[6 and 7]
If only things were that simple.

[Professor (boy does he ever dishonor that word) Dallek
lays out what he believes happened.
I have run together two paragraphs, numbered the sentences,
and added the emphasis.
Otherwise this is exactly as published.]

  1. It is impossible to believe that General McChrystal
    didn’t know exactly what he was doing.

  2. Surely he understood that
    an interview with a left-of-center magazine
    would produce headlines across the country.

  3. He was reading the president the riot act.

  4. So, while this was not the sort of overt defiance
    that MacArthur challenged Truman with,
    it was defiance nonetheless.

  5. And the only fitting punishment is dismissal.

[Consider the statements emphasized in red.
  1. In general,
    each of them requires an understanding of the general’s mind,
    either as to its state of knowledge or its intentions.
    Is the professor an expert on General McChrystal’s mind?

  2. While I am not an expert on generals,
    I think it is fair to say that they vary from
    those who have specialized in the internal operations of the Army
    (I think it fair to say that General McChrystal leans in that direction)
    to those who have spent much time in Washington and in the academic world.
    The book The Fourth Star makes clear that
    General Petraeus, for example, falls in that latter category,
    as did General Colin Powell.
    So to expect that General McChrystal would know, in advance,
    what the civilian press would make of his remarks,
    or even more, which of his remarks the author, Michael Hastings,
    would choose to include in the article versus ignore,
    seems to me to be impossible to make.
    But such recognition of the limits of our knowledge
    doesn’t stop the rash professor.

  3. Statement 2 is, quite simply, absurd.

  4. So is statement 3.
    There is nothing from General McChrystal in the article
    that in the most remote sense rates that description.
    Dallek’s statement here is so far from reality
    as to raise questions about his sanity.

  5. Defiance?
    Precisely what act or statement of President Obama
    was the general defying?

  6. A general comment: Note the faith Dallek places
    in what Hastings claimed was what General McChrystal and his staff said.
    Is Hastings the voice of God?
    Is it possible that Hastings got something not quite right?
    Would not prudence, not to mention some degree of respect
    for a general with a record of service to the nation
    as distinguished as that of General McChrystal,
    call for qualifying the criticism with phrases such as
    “If what Hastings says is true …”?

  7. Notice the curious issue of timing.
    The on-line edition of the Rolling Stones story bears the time-date
    [Tuesday] “Jun 22, 2010 10:00 AM EDT”.
    Newspaper accounts of the sequence of events claim that
    bootleg PDF versions of the story
    were put on-line by Politico.com and Time on Monday evening, 06-21.
    Somehow the White House also got hold of copies Monday evening.
    Rolling Stone itself put its official version on-line Tuesday morning.

    Now, Dallek’s article appeared in the print edition
    of the Wednesday, 06-23 New York Times.
    I have never worked in journalism,
    nor know much of anything about its internals.
    But I would imagine that
    something appearing on the op-ed page, with a large graphic,
    of the Wednesday Times
    would have to be in the possession of the Times editorial page staff
    Tuesday afternoon at the very latest.
    Now think about it:
    Would a reputable (?) professor write an op-ed
    based on a bootleg version of an article
    without waiting to check that it was the real thing?
    I wouldn’t think so.
    But then, between Tuesday morning and Tuesday afternoon,
    how is he able to
    read the article, digest the article,
    come up with the appropriate historical analogies
    (he includes one with WWII general Vinegar Joe Stilwell),
    write his op-ed, arrange for it to be published by the New York Times,
    and get it into their hands?
    Clearly, this is utterly impossible.
    In other words, Dallek must have had some advance version of the article,
    either from the author or from the magazine.
    Further, he or they must have coordinated with the Times in advance
    (as they have to know what is being offered to them
    so they can decide whether it is worth running on their precious op-ed space).
    In other words, there was advance coordination
    between Hastings or the magazine and the Times.
    Conspiracy is not a popular word to the “intelligentsia”,
    but I don’t see how that scenario varies far from one.


[The final paragraph of Robert Dallek's article:]

The president will surely take heat if he replaces McChrystal,
and critics are already claiming that any reshuffling at the top
will make it impossible to begin drawing down American forces next July,
as the president has promised.
In fact, the opposite is the case:
the best way to ensure that we keep to the timetable
is to designate a top commander
who will closely follow the lead of his commander in chief.

[That last, surely, is a very reasonable statement.
But where, in the Rolling Stone article Dallek supposedly is discussing or elsewhere,
is there the slightest indication
that General McChrystal ever did anything but
“closely follow the lead of his commander in chief”?

The nature of Dallek's article,
an argument that McChrystal be dismissed
based on reasons which, quite simply,
do not fit the facts of McChrystal's situation,
together with much of the eruption of
negative commentary in the media about McChrystal's article,
suggest to me that
this whole situation was a premeditated hit job on McChrystal.

“What was the motivation?” you ask.
Well, here are two indisputable facts:

Before McChrystal was dismissed, there was a whole spate of articles
about how poorly the war in Afghanistan was going,
with the conclusion often being drawn that
American public support for the war was or would ebb,
leading to a withdrawal from Afghanistan forced by American public opinion.
(See, e.g., the NYT article announcing McChrystal’s recall.)

After McChrystal was dismissed,
and replaced in the very same presidential addresss
by General David Petraeus,
the news stories have taken a much happier tone.
The elite, at least for now, obviously just loves General Petraeus.
Whether he is a better general than McChrystal was
is not for me to know.
But there seems general agreement that
he makes a better salesman for the war
than General McChrystal was.
He also may be more invested in the notion of permanent involvement in Afghanistan than McChrystal was.
If you don't believe me, see what Robert Kagan said.]

Switch to Petraeus Betrays Afghan Policy Crisis
by Gareth Porter
IPS News, 2010-06-23

[T]he decision obviously reflects a desire by Obama to find a way out of
a deepening policy crisis in Afghanistan.

Howard Kurtz has several articles on the article and the reaction to it:
2010-06-23 0943: Rolling Stone's Afghan grenade
2010-06-24: Rolling Stone's McChrystal interview shows the magazine's nonmusical side

As a baby-boomer,
I have no direct memory of events during WWII,
however all of us baby-boomers
certainly were well-indoctrinated in those events during our youth.
The older generations certainly enjoyed rehashing them.
In particular, we were informed that
there was no shortage of
dissension, dislikes, disagreements, and back-biting
among the various Allied commanders.

For example, British Field Marshal Montgomery
was, supposedly, viewed by SACEUR Eisenhower
as a showboat, more interested in
actions which would make him, and presumably his forces, look heroic,
than in letting the supreme command decide
what campaigns would contribute most to the overall success.

There was always intense infighting over
which field armies would receive the most of the vital supplies,
in particular petrol for the tanks, which was always in short supply.

Further, there was vast disagreement over
the balance between effectiveness and morality with regard to the air war.
British Air Marshall Harris was dubbed “Butcher Harris
for the ferocity of his campaign against German civilians,
most notably the firebombing of Dresden, an act of pure terrorism
which continues to stir up emotions even to this day
among descendants of those who were impacted.

So strong and vigorous disagreement
among those responsible for conducting a war
is nothing unusual, and probably inevitable.

A striking feature of the controversies which led to
the firings of Admiral Fallon and General McChrystal
was the editorial judgment, or lack thereof, of, respectively,
Esquire and Rolling Stone.
Surely sniping between administration officials,
civilian, military, or mixed, happens all the time,
and inevitably this will sometimes come to the attention of media figures,
perhaps even in the form of on-the-record quotes.
But was it really necessary to hype them as being challenges to the president?
I think not.

The media has without a doubt hyped this story,
painting the remarks of General McChrystal and his aides in the worst light.
Are they not allowed to blow off steam?
Does anyone really believe that, in the corridors of power in Washington,
the civilians do not sometimes resort to
crude and derogatory language towards their bureaucratic and policy foes?
How much have we heard about “Rahmbo” and the dead fish?
(Oh wait, he’s Jewish. He can get away with it.)

As to the, gasp, profane language used by those warriors,
do any of you know what SNAFU really expands to?
Do you think World War II soldiers never swore?
Or 19th century generals
never touched the hard stuff?
What a bunch of pussys.
But what do you expect
when the Ivy League,
from which so much of
the American pseudo-elite comes,
has for forty years
cut itself off from the military,
and an understanding of its culture,
by banning ROTC.

From the Rolling Stone article:
“The dinner comes with the position, sir,”
says [McChrystal’s] chief of staff, Col. Charlie Flynn.

McChrystal turns sharply in his chair.

“Hey, Charlie,” he asks, “does this come with the position?”

McChrystal gives him the middle finger.

Come on. Can't they be allowed a joke, or some joshing with each other?

Statement by the President in the Rose Garden
President Obama

1:43 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon.
Today I accepted General Stanley McChrystal’s resignation
as commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.
I did so with considerable regret, but also with certainty that
it is the right thing
for our mission in Afghanistan, for our military, and for our country.

I don't make this decision based on
any difference in policy with General McChrystal,
as we are in full agreement about our strategy.
Nor do I make this decision
out of any sense of personal insult.
Stan McChrystal has always shown great courtesy
and carried out my orders faithfully.

I've got great admiration for him
and for his long record of service in uniform.

The conduct represented in the recently published article
does not meet the standard that should be set by a commanding general.

It undermines the civilian control of the military
that is at the core of our democratic system.

it erodes the trust that’s necessary for our team to work together
to achieve our objectives in Afghanistan.

It is also true that our democracy depends upon
institutions that are stronger than individuals.
That includes
strict adherence to the military chain of command,
and respect for civilian control over that chain of command.

And that’s why, as Commander-in-Chief,
I believe this decision is necessary
to hold ourselves accountable to standards
that are at the core of our democracy.

Second, I have a responsibility to do what is --
whatever is necessary to succeed in Afghanistan,
and in our broader effort to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda.
I believe that

this mission demands unity of effort
across our alliance and across my national security team.

And I don’t think that we can sustain that unity of effort
and achieve our objectives in Afghanistan
without making this change.

That, too, has guided my decision.


1:51 P.M. EDT

This is actually being written on 06-28,
after I’ve had time to read the article and formulate my thoughts.

I don’t see how any of the acts and statements described in the article,
even if verbatim true,
indicate a problem with the chain of command.
As I understand the chain of command to General McChrystal,
it ran from the president
to the secretary of defense, Robert Gates,
to the CENTCOM commander, General David Petreus, and then
to the International Security Assistance Force (Afghanistan) commander,
General McChrystal.

If that really is the chain of command,
then precisely where was there a failure, in the words of President Obama,
“strict adherence to the military chain of command,
and respect for civilian control over that chain of command”?

Of Vice President Biden, National Security Adviser Jones,
Ambassador Eikenberry, and Special Representative Holbrooke,
none are or were in General McChrystal's chain of command.
As to President Obama, in his statement just above
he said that General McChrystal
“carried out my orders faithfully”.
So again, where was the lack of
“strict adherence to the military chain of command,
and respect for civilian control over that chain of command”?

Now remember,
we have been told over and over again how smart President Obama is,
further that he has taught constitutional law.
So I challenge him,
and the many people in the “elite” who have also been claiming
that General McChrystal disrespected the chain of command,
to show precisely where that disrespect occurred.

Some background:
The military has traditionally had a “unitary” chain of command;
that is, each member of the military has one and only one commanding officer.
The reason should be quite clear:
in part, so that there is never any question as to
whose orders he should be following.

Now, in the case of General McChrystal,
the names of VP Biden, NSA Jones, Ambassador Eikenberry, and Representative Holbrooke
have come up.
But from the point of view of the ISAF commander,
their views, while perhaps interesting,
do not replace or supplement the instructions he gets from his chain of command.
To say otherwise would indeed be a violation of the chain of command.

Obama Says Afghan Policy Won’t Change After Dismissal
New York Times, 2010-06-24


President Obama on Wednesday
fired his top Afghanistan war commander

after only a brief meeting in the Oval Office,
replacing Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal with
his boss and mentor, Gen. David H. Petraeus.

It has been nearly 60 years since
President Harry S. Truman fired Gen. Douglas MacArthur
in the midst of the Korean War,
the last time a president directly stepped in
to remove the senior commander in a war zone
for disrespect toward the White House.
For Mr. Obama, this was a MacArthur moment,
a reassertion of civilian control.

[What a media lie!!!
Even if you take the assertions in the Rolling Story at face value,
there was never the hind of a “loss of civilian control.”]


“I welcome debate, but I won’t tolerate division,”
the president said....
He said that it was crucial
for American troops and military officers to observe a
“strict adherence to the military chain of command
and respect for civilian control over that chain of command.”


Lawmakers from both parties as well as
senior military officers in Afghanistan and in Washington
expressed regret at General McChrystal’s departure,
but strongly supported Mr. Obama’s decision.

Short, Tense Deliberation, Then a General Is Gone
New York Times, 2010-06-24


By the time he woke up Wednesday morning,
President Obama had made up his mind.

During the 36 frenetic hours since he had been handed
an article from the coming issue of Rolling Stone
ominously headlined “The Runaway General,”
the president weighed the consequences
of cashiering Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal,
whose contemptuous comments about senior officials
had ignited a firestorm.

Mr. Obama, aides say, consulted with advisers —
some, like Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates,
who warned of the dangers of replacing General McChrystal,
others, like his political advisers,
who thought he had to go.


After a seesaw debate among White House officials,
“there was a basic meeting of the minds,”
said Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff and
a major player in the deliberations.
“This was not good for the mission, the military and morale,”
Mr. Emanuel said.


The press secretary, Robert Gibbs,
walked a copy of [the article] to the president in the private quarters.

After scanning the first few paragraphs —
a sarcastic, profanity-laced description of
General McChrystal’s disgust at having to dine with a French minister
to brief him about the war —
Mr. Obama had read enough,

a senior administration official said.
He ordered his political and national security aides
to convene immediately in the Oval Office.

[If those paragraphs disturbed Obama, there’s really something wrong with him.]


On Tuesday(6-22),
while General McChrystal was making the 14-hour flight to Washington,
the White House was involved in a whirl of meetings about his fate.
Along with [Secretary of Defense Robert] Gates, aides say,
four other senior officials were influential:
Vice President Biden;
the national security adviser, Gen. James L. Jones;
the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Adm. Mike Mullen; and
[White House Chief of Staff Rahm] Emanuel.

Mr. Emanuel’s opinion and that of other advisers swung back and forth,
a senior official said.
Mr. Obama seemed inclined toward dismissing the general,
but heard out the debate.
By Tuesday night, officials said, they ended up hoping that
the general would simply resign.


Gen. McChrystal is dismissed as top U.S. commander in Afghanistan
By Scott Wilson and Michael D. Shear
Washington Post, 2010-06-24

Obama shows McChrystal who's in command
By Dana Milbank
Washington Post Opinion, 2010-06-24

[The conclusion of Milbank's column:]

“Our democracy depends upon institutions that are stronger than individuals,”
[President Obama] said.
“That includes strict adherence to the military chain of command
and respect for civilian control over that chain of command.”

Those could have been dismissed as “just words,”
to use the phrase Hillary Clinton once applied to Obama.
But this time, Obama gave the words meaning.

Obama should have sent a Marine
by Michael Scheuer
Non-Intervention.com, 2010-06-24 (Michael Scheuer's website)

From Great Man to Great Screwup: Behind the McChrystal Uproar
by Norman Solomon
Antiwar.com, 2010-06-24


For months, the McChrystal star had been slipping.
A few days before the Rolling Stone piece
caused a sudden plunge from war-making grace,
Time magazine’s conventional-wisdom weathervane Joe Klein
was notably down on McChrystal’s results:
“Six months after Barack Obama announced his new Afghan strategy
in a speech at West Point,
the policy seems stymied.”


The latest events reflect unwritten rules for top military commanders:
Escalating a terrible war is fine.
Just don’t say anything mean about your boss.


But none of such pro-war handwringing makes as much sense as
a simple red-white-and-blue bumper sticker that says:
“These colors don’t run . . . the world.”

The Culture of Exposure
New York Times Op-Ed, 2010-06-25

McChrystal's mystifying media ignorance
by Jonathan Capehart
Washington Post, 2010-06-25

Nation building in Afghanistan?
That's Afghans' job.

by Eugene Robinson
Washington Post Op-Ed, 2010-06-25


In recent testimony before Congress, [General David] Petraeus was less than definitive when asked about Obama’s July 2011 deadline.

Because he [Petraeus]
has such credibility and standing in Washington,
his view on when we can begin to leave Afghanistan
will be more important than
McChrystal’s ever was.

I hope that by putting Petraeus in charge of the war,
President Obama hasn’t consigned us to a longer stay.

McChrystal Past, Present and Future?
by Karen Kwiatkowski
LewRockwell.com, 2010-06-25


Hastings is classically liberal ...

In Week of Tests, Obama Reasserts His Authority
New York Times, 2010-06-26

After two months in which an oil gusher
seemed to underscore the limits of his powers,
President Obama spent the last week trying to reassert control over
a triumvirate of forces
that almost always test a new president’s authority:
the military, the markets and the lobbyists.

Mr. Obama’s remarkable victories in little more than week,
nearly a year and a half into a presidency that was saddled from the start
by two wars and a terrifying financial plunge,
may not prove to be lasting.

His firing of Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal for what appeared to be
an attitude of disrespect and disdain for the civilian chain of command
does not make success in Afghanistan any more likely.
The financial regulatory bill that was agreed upon in Congress on Friday
reverses two decades of increasingly blind faith
in the ability of financial markets to regulate themselves,
but few think it will stop Wall Street’s constant effort
to route around Washington in pursuit of profits.

Still, add those together with
the use of raw presidential power
to force BP to set up a $20 billion fund
for victims of the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico,
and the conclusion is unmistakable.
George Bush and Dick Cheney may have left the White House, but
the need for an extraordinarily strong executive lives on.

“This is a clear respite from
the theme that Obama had lost control,”
said David Rothkopf, a former Clinton administration official
who wrote the definitive history of the National Security Council,
the organization American presidents have used for 60 years
to assert authority around the country and the world.

“He sent a loud and clear message to the generals about
who is in charge.

And he has engineered a pivot-point in U.S. economic history,
an end, or at least a big change, to the ‘leave it to the markets’ era.”

The White House certainly has an enormous interest
in portraying Mr. Obama as a president
who has grown comfortable with his powers
and is unafraid to exercise them.

One top national security aide noted to a reporter on Wednesday that

the decision to oust General McChrystal
and replace him with Gen. David A. Petraeus
was “considered, decided and executed in less than 36 hours”

and sent a message that the president would not tolerate
what he called “division” in the ranks of his team after he had set strategy.


“I think we used this week or so
not only for a reassertion of executive authority,
but as an demonstration that,
when presidential power is judiciously applied, you can get a lot done,”

Rahm Emanuel, the president’s chief of staff,
who argued for
a more confrontational approach to BP and for
General McChrystal’s ouster.


The messy encounter with General McChrystal
forced Mr. Obama to reassert his faith in a strategy in Afghanistan
(a troop surge,
a counterinsurgency strategy
that exposes American forces to significant danger,
and the eventual transfer of recaptured territory
to Afghan government hands)
that so far has shown little signs of working.
The left remains deeply apprehensive about
his growing commitment to the war;
the right argues that
his 18-month deadline to begin withdrawing troops
is a sign of absence of commitment.

When Mr. Obama declared,
“I welcome debate, but I won’t tolerate division,”
it amounted to an unspoken acknowledgment that
his national security team remained split,
and never really ended the argument over
whether the current approach to the war was the right one.
Even without General McChrystal, the argument seems bound to flare again
in December, when it is up for a major review.


Gen. McChrystal allies, Rolling Stone
disagree over article's ground rules

By Karen DeYoung and Rajiv Chandrasekaran
Washington Post, 2010-06-26

Endless war, a recipe for four-star arrogance
By Andrew J. Bacevich
Washington Post Outlook, 2010-06-27

[Bacevich is a distinguished commentator,
but I disagree with the use of the term “arrogance” for the condition he describes.]

Will there be an Afghanistan Syndrome?
By Eliot A. Cohen
Washington Post Outlook, 2010-06-27

In Afghanistan,
Petraeus will have difficulty replicating his Iraq success

By Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post Outlook, 2010-06-27


[T]he disgraced Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal.

[This was about as predictable as it could be.
The media, having hyped the charges against McChrystal,
declaring his comments to be “explosive”, “incendiary”, “insubordinate”, and so on,
now declares McChrystal “disgraced”.
I forcefully disagree.
The only party that is disgraced is the media,
for its rush to judgment,
for taking the claims of Rolling Stone’s Hastings at face value
(how serious were McChrystal’s men in calling themselves “Team America”?),
and most important of all,
for not just treating them as normal intramural griping and sniping.
Are media organizations free of such intramural griping and sniping?
Dollars to doughnuts, they’re not.
What hypocrisy to drive the outstanding officer McChrystal from command
for something so commonplace, and so penny-ante!]

The last post: McChrystal’s bleak outlook
By Jonathan Owen and Brian Brady
The Independent (UK), 2010-06-27

President Obama lost patience with Runaway General’s failed strategy

Sacked US General Stanley McChrystal
issued a devastatingly critical assessment
of the war against a “resilient and growing insurgency”
just days before being forced out.

Using confidential military documents,
copies of which have been seen by the IoS,
the “runaway general” briefed defence ministers from Nato and the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) earlier this month,
and warned them
not to expect any progress in the next six months.
During his presentation, he raised serious concerns over levels of security, violence, and corruption within the Afghan administration.

[Although this is properly attributed to the commander, General McChrystal,
it should be noted that an assessment such as this
is also critically due to his intelligence staff,
in this case led by Major General Michael T. Flynn.
(And by the way, my suspicion is that
they should be complimented, not condemned,
for telling truth to power.)]

Details of General McChrystal’s grim assessment
of his own strategy’s current effectiveness
emerged as the world’s most powerful leaders
set the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai,
a five-year deadline to improve security and governance in his country.

The G8 summit in Toronto called for “concrete progress” within five years
on improving the justice system and
for Afghan forces to assume greater responsibility for security.
David Cameron said a “political surge” must now complement the military one.

[What BS.]

But the “campaign overview” left behind by General McChrystal
after he was sacked by President Barack Obama last week
warned that only a fraction of the areas key to long-term success
are “secure”, governed with “full authority”,
or enjoying “sustainable growth”.
He warned of a critical shortage of “essential” military trainers
needed to build up Afghan forces -
of which only a fraction is classed as “effective”.

He pinpointed an “ineffective or discredited” Afghan government
and a failure by Pakistan “to curb insurgent support
as “critical risks” to success.
“Waning” political support
and a “divergence of coalition expectations and campaign timelines”
are among the key challenges faced, according to the general.

It was this briefing, according to informed sources,
as much as the Rolling Stone article,
which convinced Mr Obama
to move against the former head of US Special Forces,
as costs soar to $7bn a month and the body count rises to record levels,
because it undermined the White House political team’s aim
of pulling some troops out of Afghanistan
in time for the US elections in 2012.
In addition to being the result of
some too-candid comments in a magazine article,
the President’s decision to dispense with his commander
was seen by the general’s supporters
as a politically motivated culmination of their disagreements.

[That, if true,
would certainly explain why the White House acted as it did.
But it would not, directly, explain why the MSM
so totally hyped the most sensational aspects of the Rolling Stone story,
giving the most damaging (to General McChrystal) possible interpretation of them,
rushed to judgment, and,
in the 40 hours between when the RS story hit the Internet
and when McChrystal was sacked,
made no significant effort to find people who would defend the general.]

General McChrystal’s presentation to Nato defence ministers and Isaf representatives
provided an uncompromising obstacle to Mr Obama’s plan
to bring troops home in time to give him a shot at a second term,
according to senior military sources.
The general was judged to be “off message” in his warning to ministers
not to expect quick results and
that they were facing a “resilient and growing insurgency”.

It came as mounting casualties added to US and UK discomfort. June has been the bloodiest month for coalition forces since the conflict began, with 88 killed. A soldier from 4th Regiment Royal Artillery died yesterday in hospital in Birmingham of wounds sustained in an explosion on 10 June. He had been on patrol with members of the Afghan National Army in Nahr-e Saraj North District, Helmand Province. He was the 308th British soldier killed since the start of the war nine years ago. The death toll is escalating, with 62 deaths this year - almost double the 32 that died in the same period last year.

Nato played down the chances of success. “I don’t think anyone would say we’re winning,” said a Nato spokesman. The revelations provide context to the disagreements between Mr Obama and his general, highlighted in the article in Rolling Stone in which senior White House figures were criticised.

The reality, according to a senior military source, is that General McChrystal’s candour about the reality of the situation was an obstacle to Mr Obama’s search for an “early, face-saving exit” to help his chances in the 2012 presidential elections. “Stan argued for time, and would not compromise. Rolling Stone provided an excuse for Obama to fire the opposition to his plan without having to win an intellectual argument,” he said.

General McChrystal knew “his time was up” and had been told by White House aides his “time-frame was all wrong”, with the general thinking in years while the President was thinking more in months, he added.

The general’s departure is a sign of politicians “taking charge of this war”, a senior Whitehall official said. “The Taliban are feeling the pressure, but we’re not harvesting it politically,” he said. “Obama sacking McChrystal was a show of strength. What we are seeing on both sides of the Atlantic, at long last, is the politicians starting to take charge of this war. Wars are won when you have a Churchill and an Alanbrooke, when you have a proper balance between political direction and military leadership.”

Mr Cameron asked for a political settlement to be mapped out at a special cabinet meeting held at Chequers earlier this month, he said. “Cameron doesn’t want to make Brown’s mistake of getting bogged down in details instead of doing grand strategy.”

He said General McChrystal had been urging Washington to “start the political track as soon as possible” while his replacement, General Petraeus, has argued “that we need to get the upper hand militarily and regain the military initiative, and then negotiate from a position of strength”. He said it would take time to recover from General McChrystal’s loss, “particularly if Petraeus just ploughs on with trying to get the upper hand militarily”.

Admiral Mike Mullen met with President Karzai yesterday to assure him that the new Nato commander will pursue the same strategy followed by his predecessor. He pledged that General Petraeus would also do his best to reduce civilian casualties.

General McChrystal said progress in the next six months was unlikely. He raised serious concerns over levels of security, violence, and corruption within the Afghan administration. Only five areas out of 116 assessed were classed as “secure” - the rest suffering various degrees of insecurity and more than 40 described as “dangerous” or “unsecure”.

Just five areas out of 122 were classed as being under the “full authority” of the government - with governance rated as non-existent, dysfunctional or unproductive in 89 of the areas. Seven areas out of 120 rated for development were showing sustainable growth. In 48 areas, growth was either stalled or the population were at risk. Less than a third of the military and only 12 per cent of police forces were rated as “effective”.

A strategic assessment referred to in the presentation revealed just how close the strategy in Afghanistan is to failing. It stated that the campaign was “on track temporarily” - but this was defined as meaning that there was “a low level of confidence that positive trends will be sustained over the next six-month period”. It also said the Afghan people “believe that development is too slow” and many “still generally mistrust Afghan police forces”. Security was “unsatisfactory” and efforts to build up the Afghan security forces were “at risk”, with “capability hampered by shortages in NCOs and officers, corruption and low literacy levels”.

Danielle Pletka on Afghanistan
by Danielle Pletka
Washington Post Topic A, 2010-06-27


[E]ven as professional and competent a general as David Petraeus
cannot succeed if the president continues to tolerate
the Shakespearean drama that is Washington Afghan policy.
Special envoy Richard Holbrooke connives to undercut the military command;
Ambassador Karl Eikenberry
won't talk to International Security and Assistance Force leaders
and connives to discredit his opponents at the Pentagon.
Both should go
because they have put politics above the mission and ego above all.

Without them, and with a new command
and a president committed to a serious, drama-free policy,
we can begin down the road to victory in Afghanistan.

[Note yet again how many commentators
who refused to come to the defense of General McChrystal
when he was being pilloried
for the comments his aides had made about Eikenberry and Holbrooke,
after McChrystal has been fired,
now come forward with comments supporting
the views that got McChrystal fired.
How's that for perfidy!]

The 36 Hours That Shook Washington
By Frank Rich
New York Times Week In Review Op-Ed, 2010-06-27


THE moment he pulled the trigger,

there was near-universal agreement
that President Obama had done
the inevitable thing,
the right thing and,
best of all, the bold thing.

But before we get carried away with relief and elation,
let’s not forget what we saw in the tense 36 hours ...

Obama's 5 foreign-policy victories
By Robert Kagan
Washington Post Op-Ed, 2010-06-29

President Obama’s biggest move, of course,
was naming Gen. David Petraeus commander in Afghanistan.
The decision signaled Obama’s determination to succeed in Afghanistan,
despite the growing chorus of wise men counseling,
as our wise men always seem to do, a rapid retreat.
Those in the region
who have been calculating on an American departure in July 2011,
regardless of conditions on the ground,
should think again.
That date was never realistic, and

the odds that
Petraeus will counsel a premature withdrawal --
or be ordered to withdraw
regardless of his assessment of the situation --
is infinitesimal.

Petraeus Pledges Look at Strikes in Afghanistan
New York Times, 2010-06-30


General Petraeus carefully straddled in his answers,
saying that he fully supported the [July 2011] deadline as a
“message of urgency to compliment this message of enormous commitment”
of nearly 100,000 American forces in Afghanistan,
but that it was only “the beginning of a process” and that
the United States’ commitment to the country was enduring.

[What right does a military officer have to make or assert such a commitment?
In the past, I believe such commitments could only be made by
the president, vice president, secretary of state, or congress.
Isn’t that correct?]


General Petraeus displayed a political deftness with Washington
that had eluded General McChrystal,
who was dismissed
after the publication of
comments in Rolling Stone by the general or his staff
that disparaged Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.
and other senior Obama administration officials.

At one point Senator Lindsey Graham ...
tried to pin General Petraeus down about
comments attributed to Mr. Biden in “The Promise,”
a recent book about the first year of the Obama administration
by Jonathan Alter.
According to Mr. Alter,
Mr. Biden said that
“in July 2011, you’re going to see a whole lot of people moving out,
bet on it.”

[Note the double standard.

Comments in Rolling Stone are not merely attributed to the general or his staff,
they are by them.
On the other hand, comments are not by Mr. Biden,
they merely attributed to him.

supposed quotes from Mr. Biden are preceded with “According to Mr. Alter”.
When in the coverage in the New York Times or elsewhere
of the Rolling Stone article
did you ever see supposed quotes from General McChrystal or his staff
preceded with “According to Mr. Hastings”?

If that isn’t a double standard,
to the material and consequntial detriment of General McChrystal and his staff,
what is?]

Afghan Shift Puts Top U.S. Civilians in Tricky Spot
New York Times, 2010-07-01


As General David H. Petraeus takes command in Afghanistan,
the two top American civilian officials in the war
face an uncertain and tricky future,
working with a newly empowered military leader,
under the gaze of an impatient president who has put them on notice that
his fractious war council needs to pull together.

Richard C. Holbrooke,
the Obama administration’s special representative to the region, and
Karl W. Eikenberry, the ambassador to Afghanistan,
both hung on to their jobs in the uproar that followed
Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal’s career-ending quotes in Rolling Stone magazine.

But privately, at least one senior White House official suggested
using General McChrystal’s exit as an excuse for a housecleaning,
according to senior officials.
That was rejected as too disruptive during a military campaign
that relies heavily on civilian support, these people said.


[Notice how in leading up to General McChrystal's firing
his comments about Eikenberry and Holbrooke were widely portrayed as
"threats to civilian authority."
Now they start to look entirely reasonable.
Talk about timing!]

'This Week' Transcript: Biden
This Week, 2010-07-11

There was a recent incident involving the commanding general --
now the ex-commanding general in Afghanistan, Stanley McChrystal.
And I just wondered,
since you were one of the people mentioned disparagingly by his aides.
I know he called you to apologize.

BIDEN: He did.

TAPPER: I'm wondering, what was your reaction when you...

I didn't take it personally at all.
I really, honest to God, didn't, compared to what happens in politics,
this is -- that was a piece of cake.
And it wasn't so disparaging is that I -- I was the enemy.
It wasn't that I -- I wasn't the clown.
I was the guy who, in fact, was their problem, they thought.
I'm not their problem. I agree with the policy the president put in place.
But it was clear -- I was asked to and I did on my own survey,
I think, six four star generals, including present and former,
every single one said he had to go.

So we did -- we made -- the president made the right decision.
He changed the personalities, but not the policy.
He put the strongest guy in the U.S. military
and a counter-insurgency policy in place.

So I think it was -- it was the absolutely necessary thing to do.
The president didn't take it personally. I didn't.
I met with McChrystal. The president met with McChrystal.
He was -- he was really apologetic. He knew they had gone way beyond.
But we also knew that if a sergeant did that, if a lieutenant did that,
I mean no one could stay.

[Did what, Mr. Biden?
Just what is/are the statement/statements that caused the dismissal?
I think that is a very appropriate question,
and one the White House really owes the military to answer.

And is it really appropriate or fair
to hold General McChrystal responsible
for every statement made by any of his aides,
whether or not he was aware of or approved of the statement?

And as to the statement about VP Biden specifically attributed to Gen. McChrystal,
namely, “Who’s that?”, would you not agree that,
with respect to the chain of command,
that is an entirely appropriate statement?]

TAPPER: Why do you think they thought of you as the enemy,
because you had been in favor of...

BIDEN: Well, because...

TAPPER: -- the counter-terrorism instead of the counter-insurgency?

BIDEN: -- they -- because I had been someone
who -- who offered a plan that was different in degree.
But, you know, again, I -- I --
someday I'll be able to lay out exactly what the plan I offered was.
It would be inappropriate to do that because
it was so close to what -- what, in fact, the plan ended up being
that there was virtually no difference.
But I got characterized because I was really very challenging
to some of the assertions made.

If you notice, what we have is
a counter-insurgency plan along the spine of the country,
where the population is.
It's not a nationwide counter-insurgency plan.
We're not engaged in nation-building,
which the original discussion was about.
We have a rec -- we -- we have a date
where we're going to go look and see whether it's working.
And we have a timetable in which to transition.

All of those things were things I was supporting.
All those things were -- so.
And to -- to conclude,
when -- when General Petraeus was picked the day in the office --
it was the day we were supposed to go downstairs into The Situation Room,
they call it, to discuss the overall policy.
Everyone was there. I pulled him aside and I said,
David, there is no daylight between your position and mine.

And he said, I know that. Will you tell people that?

[By the way, on the issues, I agree more with VP Biden than with
anyone advocating a counter-insurgency strategy in Afghanistan.
But even so, I think firing Gen. McChrystal was overkill,
and disproportionate to the offense.]

McChrystal Ends Service With Regret and a Laugh
New York Times, 2010-07-24

Gen. McChrystal retires in military ceremony
The Associated Press, 2010-07-24

“There are misconceptions about
the loyalty and service of some dedicated professionals
that will likely take some time,
but I believe will be corrected,”

[General McChrystal] said.

Washington Post photo gallery (begins with advertisement)

McChrystal Article Inquiry Leaves Questions Open
New York Times, 2010-09-23


An Army inquiry into a Rolling Stone magazine article about Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal has found that it was not the general or senior officers on his staff who made the most egregious comments that led to his abrupt dismissal as the top Afghan commander in June, according to Army and Pentagon officials.

But the review, commissioned after an embarrassing and disruptive episode, does not wholly resolve who was responsible for the inflammatory quotations, most of which were anonymous.

The Army review has been turned over to a higher-level inquiry by the Pentagon’s inspector general, because the matter involves not only a four-star general but several subordinates outside the Army.


Months later, his forced retirement remains a topic of Pentagon discussion, and the investigative process has only fueled the consternation. “More of this ‘Who shot Stan?’ serves no purpose,” said a senior Pentagon official.

In undertaking the review, the Army inspector general set out not to extend the controversy, but to settle it, Army officials said.

Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the Army chief of staff, ordered the inquiry to determine how Rolling Stone was granted access to a wartime commander and also to assess responsibility for quotations offensive to civilian leaders.


[If I saw someone in my organization being fired
for what appeared to be no good reason,
I sure as hell would want to know what happened.]