For about six of the past eight years, we were blessed with a flood of outcry against any minor criticism of the president, of the military, of the United States, calling even the most minor deviations from the stated objectives “treasonous”. What then to think of General McChrystal’s almost baffling statements against the administration?
Full of choice quotes (“Biden? Who’s that?”), it’s the kind of thing that is so far out of line for a military leader, especially in what we’re repeatedly told is a “war time”, that it’s amazing he still had a job ten minutes after the article came out. Yet he’s still around, somehow, not fired. Personally, I echo the sentiments from a WaPo editorial on the subject:
Here is a man who talks about “honor.” He has dishonored the presidency and his own profession. There are those who suggest it would be better to leave him in the job so as not to compromise the “mission.” The mission has already been compromised. McChrystal has broken the most sacred rule in the military. Without the respect and the obedience and duty of command, you will indeed have “Chaos-istan.” The example McChrystal has given to his subordinates all over the world, be they generals or privates, is that it’s okay to disrespect your commanders. That and that alone is enough to fire him. Some people have suggested that a firing would hurt troop morale. Rather, that morale would be destroyed if the troops understood that the person who commanded them did not believe in his mission or that of the United States.
I often defend the military to liberal-minded colleagues and friends by pointing out that for the security of the nation at large, they shouldn’t be picking and choosing when they agree with their commanders. “My country, right or wrong” is a bad sentiment for a citizen, but it’s the only way to fly as a soldier. To have the goddamn general saying it’s perfectly all right to piss in the mouths of the administration just tells absolutely everyone along the power structure that there’s no reason to respect anyone above you.
When I started writing this, I was actually prepared to hop in and find some right-wing articles praising McChrystal for giving Obama the finger. Reality? Not so much, which only shows how serious of a line this guy crossed. Although, I admit, the way it was done in the Weekly Standard was pretty douche-tastic, in that the whole thesis was that he should be fired because Obama’s strategy actually is bad and they need someone better than McChrystal to make it happen.
But I’ll say this much: imagine if this had happened during the Bush years. Yikes.