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Advice Gen. Stanley McChrystal should have followed

It's not as if Gen. Stanley McChrystal didn't know that loose lips can sink not just military vessels, but military careers as well. Last October, when President Obama was conducting his in-depth review of U.S. policy in Afghanistan, McChrystal waged an inappropriate -- if not insubordinate -- public campaign to build support for the counterinsurgency approach he favored. Defense Secretary Robert Gates admonished him to give his advice to the president "candidly but privately." At the time, I wrote that the best translation of Gates's message would be: "Put a sock in it, Stan."

Which is what he should have done.

McChrystal, I'm sure, is every bit as brilliant and patriotic as his colleagues and admirers say he is. But we have a priceless tradition in this country: Elected civilians, not military officers, decide the big questions of war and peace. I lived for four years in Argentina at a time when South American countries were beginning to emerge from years of military dictatorship. As elected governments sought to consolidate their legitimacy and power, officials always had to look over their shoulders and take into account what the generals were thinking. Believe me, our way is better.

Whether the United States stays in Afghanistan for 12 months or 12 years is for our political leadership to decide, not the generals. When given instructions by the president, the proper response by Gen. McChrystal would have been to salute. With a sock in it.

By Eugene Robinson  | June 23, 2010; 2:39 PM ET
Categories:  Robinson  | Tags:  Eugene Robinson  
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Comments

If this General was black he would not have been fired. It's all racial.

Posted by: economy48 | June 23, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Whatever McChrystal's mistakes have been, you have nothing to say Robinson, given your own suspect patriotism.

Aside from that, let's hear how many years you spent serving your country in the military, Robinson.

Posted by: bbwk80a1 | June 23, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

I am amazed by both the lack of self discipline and the pure arrogance of McChrystal. The President really had no choise but to fire him. Shame on McChrysal.

Posted by: atravsky | June 23, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse


………..Elected civilians, not military officers, decide the big questions of war and peace………..


So true Eugene.

It’s just such a shame we have an ‘empty shirt’ as President.

Oh well, here’s hoping that whoever types for the Presidents teleprompter knows what they are doing.


Posted by: bcarte1 | June 23, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Funny, I don't remember Mr. Robinson feeling so strongly when the military leader in question was Admiral Fallon and the President in question was George Bush. Perhaps he should consider the degree of hypocrisy he shows, and how ridiculous it makes him look.

Posted by: Lookingforhonestyinjournalism | June 23, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Pres. Obama had no choice but to "fire" Gen. McChrystal. McChrystal had been warned to keep his mouth shut. As all former and current military know you CANNOT demean; critize; etc. your civilian leadership. He's a general he knew better and if he didn't shame on him.

Posted by: rlj1 | June 23, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

What did Robinson think of Eric Shinseki's ouster when he had a policy issue with the then administration? I'd be curious to know. I think it's ironic as hell that those who cried foul when Shinseki was let go because of what was perceived as insibordination at the time, are now extolling the virtues of civilian control of the military and unity of purpose in supporting of canning the outlier.

Posted by: squid1 | June 23, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Well said, Mr. Robinson and Dresenjo.

KCV257 and BBWK80a1: Since neither of you is capable of saying anything intelligent, please don't bother spewing your vitriol here.

As for you, Economy548, you are stupid even by racist standards, which is really saying something!

Posted by: DCSteve1 | June 23, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

If McChrystal honesty felt that the Administration was doing the wrong things in Afghanistan, he had several options. He could tell his theatre Commander, General Petreus; he could tell President Obama himself; or he could resign. For all I (or any of the rest of us know), he had already done the former two; if he has, or even if he hasn't, he owes it to the country to do the later.

Obama shouldn't need to fire McChrystal; McChrystal should resign, both because it is the best solution to an ugly public policy spat, and because, if he really feels the way the Rolling Stone article portrays him, he should take himself out of the situation. If you can't follow orders, your only option in the military is to resign.

I have much respect for McChrystal; but if he is the wrong man for the President's war strategy, then he needs to leave.

Posted by: haldon12 | June 23, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Excuse these rednecks.

They just can't stand the thought of a BLACK guy taking a WHITE guy out to a woodshed for a whipping. That's why they have to disparage the President, because at heart they are racists.

Posted by: BattleOffSamar | June 23, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Robinson it is up to Obama to ignore the experts or take their advice.

McChrystal screwed up but I can understand his frustration, it is hard working for a boss who does not listen to good advice.

Posted by: flonzy1 | June 23, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

....Mr. Robinson, you say 'Salute and put a sock in it'....actually, what the good general should have done is saluted and said "Mr President, I disagree with the current direction, I submit my resignation" and then he should have run his mouth....

Posted by: Thevorlon | June 23, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Virginia conservative...what does this mean?

"That man has done one while sleeping..."

are you saying he's a bedwetter?

Take a break and go take you medication. I think it's wearing off.

Posted by: AHappyWarrior | June 23, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

After reading the Rolling Stone article, it is clear Obama doesn't have the respect of the military. That is not good.

Posted by: sold2u | June 23, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Simple postulate would be that to gain respect then act respectable. Certain Leaders have earned respect through years of Military or Public Service. We could argue to doomsday whether or not President Reagan was the persona of Chief Executive of our Nation yet Reagan still enjoys respect today as part of his Legacy.

Punks of public discourse spouting off political dissatisfaction are a dime a dozen. These punks trashing Leaders through print, radio and TV show absolutely no respect for Duly elected, elected by and for the People. Of course, what would one expect from punks but deviance from the tongue or pen which disrespects the Chain of Command as well as Executive Authority.

Recently, supply-side spending was all the rage. I never believed in supply-side spending mainly because economics is a science and not a religion. If entities are encouraged or forced into believing a plan then perhaps that plan is really metaphysical or voodoo science and not real science applied.

In days, weeks and months to come, certain parties will try to sell certain strategies in public domain. With a lack of respect for real trusted Public Servants, the mudslinging and character assassination will increase. In attempts to gain advantages and to win arguments in the short term, rovian political philosophy (which really has no self-respect) will be used over and over again.

Let us hope that the unity of our Nation is not affected by anarchists whipping the public into mob frenzies. And that radicalism will be in decline after al-queada made extremism a fad popular a disenfranchised minority.

Posted by: truthhurts | June 23, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

General McCrystal's recklessness was plain and simple "insubordination." The president did the right thing by reliving him of his command, and should really should kick him out of the military (that is most likely what an NCO would have gotten had they done the same thing..).

McCrystal was told once before about publicly stating his opinions.....there is nothing admirable, strong, wise or courageous about what he did. His actions are a disgrace to the chain of command (speaking as a veteran myself...), and the code of discipline in the armed services.

I think that was the "real" reason he fell out (was delirious and almost unconscious..) last week when he was being question my the "Armed Service Committee." He must have been told that his reckless and opinionated states during the Rolling Stones interview was about to become public in the next couple of weeks.

I say court martial him for insubordination, his actions show him to be a disgrace to the authority of the chain of command. His job like every other military person, is to do the job they are told to do, that is it.....no opinions necessary.

Posted by: rayven-t | June 23, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

General McCrystal's recklessness was plain and simple "insubordination." The president did the right thing by reliving him of his command, and should really should kick him out of the military (that is most likely what an NCO would have gotten had they done the same thing..).

McCrystal was told once before about publicly stating his opinions.....there is nothing admirable, strong, wise or courageous about what he did. His actions are a disgrace to the chain of command (speaking as a veteran myself...), and the code of discipline in the armed services.

I think that was the "real" reason he fell out (was delirious and almost unconscious..) last week when he was being question my the "Armed Service Committee." He must have been told that his reckless and opinionated states during the Rolling Stones interview was about to become public in the next couple of weeks.

I say court martial him for insubordination, his actions show him to be a disgrace to the authority of the chain of command. His job like every other military person, is to do the job they are told to do, that is it.....no opinions necessary.

Posted by: rayven-t | June 23, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Stanley McChrystal for president in 2012!

Posted by: CityDC | June 23, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

He was wrong and now he is paying the price. To many Disrespectful people around this President, and color has nothing to do with this. This President is our leader and he is due respect just like all other presidents we have had.

Posted by: johnsonj3 | June 23, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Correction: "And that radicalism will be in decline after al-queada made extremism a fad popular {to} a disenfranchised minority".

Posted by: truthhurts | June 23, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Where was a good ol' Archie Bunker re-run when McChrystal really needed it?

"Stifle yourself, Edith..."

Posted by: gracelet | June 23, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

If this General was black he would not have been fired. It's all racial.

Posted by: economy48
*****************************
I guess the fool on the hill found his way here to post. Be sure to get to your Klan meeting on time...

Posted by: LABC | June 23, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

The General and his "entourage" behaved like juveniles. I was shocked when I read the article. My previous opinion of the General was he was a man of intense devotion and discipline. That image was shattered. It wasn't just one or two off the cuff statements regarding disagreement of policy. It was sustained, personal, derogatory, disrespectful, and highly unbecoming of an Officer of any rank, let alone a General of his caliber. And I don't recall Shinseki doing anything other than disagreeing with policy. A 4 Star? He knows better. What a let down.

Posted by: yinyang2 | June 23, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

squid, you're a nincompoop. Shinseki wasn't insubordinate, he was a man doing his job, giving the president the best counsel he knew to give. Problem was that Bush was more interested in the fawning admiration he was getting from that preening pompous nutjob Rumsfeld and didn't dig what Shinseki had to tell him.

Turns out Shinseki was right all along, but even after thousands of dead troops President Smirk still considered himself a genius.

Posted by: Noacoler | June 23, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Time to end both of these foreign civil wars and bring all our troops home.

That said, President Obama did Gen. McChrystal a favor by allowing him to resign in person instead of the required court martial for his actions.

Posted by: WillSeattle | June 23, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Having spent 25 years in the military, both as an enlisted man and an officer, I will tell you with certainty that having individuals show blatant disrespect for those above them is a disaster. It must not be tolerated. Far too often I saw really good senior officers dissed by those under them. The damage to morale and unit cohesiveness is enormous. No active serving officer or NCO for that matter should so such disrespect to their superiors, military or civilian. It is, in fact, a court martial UCMJ offense. It would actually be proper, in my opinion, at this point, to reduce General McChrystal to one star at best! General McChrystal's public pronouncements amount to a form of treason in this instance. Retire and you can speak your mind freely so long as it does not violate security issues.

Posted by: danceblade | June 23, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse


It is sad to realize that some people are so blind and bias that they cannot distinguish between common sense and politics. For some others it is pure ignorance.

Posted by: colonfr2002 | June 23, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

No, Robinson.....he would rather put his foot in it instead of a sock.

Posted by: wrock76taolcom | June 23, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Eugene, Eugene when will you ever learn to shade your bias. There is no hope that you could ever hide your bias, so stive to just shade it, shall we? Ugh!

Posted by: prossers7 | June 23, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Squid1 wrote:

"What did Robinson think of Eric Shinseki's ouster when he had a policy issue with the then administration? I'd be curious to know. I think it's ironic as hell that those who cried foul when Shinseki was let go because of what was perceived as insibordination at the time, are now extolling the virtues of civilian control of the military and unity of purpose in supporting of canning the outlier."

As I recall, George W. Bush kept on saying that he would listen to the generals -- and he kept on firing them when they wouldn't tell him what he wanted to hear. And he kept on ignoring everyone else who told him what he didn't want to hear. It should be noted that Gen. Shinseki was asked his opinion at a Senate hearing, a most appropriate place for him to express his opinion. He did not volunteer it through leaked memos, etc.

Although there is some disagreement as to whether his retirement was actually accelerated as the result of providing to Congress his Constitutionally required opinion, there is NO disagreement that the psychopaths and sociopaths in the Bush Administration who lied us into the Iraq War instantly condemned him, marginalized him despite his role, and continued lying us into a war that has resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans and Iraqis.

And your rebuttal, if any, Squid1, is??

Posted by: edallan | June 23, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Typical of so many Leftwingtards Eugene loves to kick one of his old buddies when he's down ~ and we know McChrystal is one of Eugene's buddies because he was appointed to the job by Obama himself.

Wish these lefties could get it figured out ~ they're either FOR Obama or they are AGAINST Obama ~

Posted by: muawiyah | June 23, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Ahh, the MoveOn.org crowd, including the likes of Eugene Robinson -- and, well, Barack Obama himself to be perfectly honest -- now has to embrace General Petraeus.

It's really quite delicious.

I wonder if we'll see another 'Betrayus' ad in the New York Times now that Petraeus is in charge of this mission.


No? Hmmm, funny that.

Posted by: etpietro | June 23, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

economy48 wrote: "If this General was black he would not have been fired. It's all racial."

Oh, how silly.

Posted by: martymar123 | June 23, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

rayven-t ~ frankly there's absolutely no reason for ANYONE to believe anything published in "Rolling Stone" magazine.

At a minimum I would require two independent sources first.

What we have, alas, is a situation where the electronic format for Rolling Stone has the McChrystal story leading the Lady GaGa story.

Fur Shur Goober had to go through the homepage to get to the GaGa stuff (more discussion of her costumes and her appendages), and that's where he found this dissertation on graba&&ing on the part of his officer corps (supposedly), and probably just couldn't get past it to the GaGa stuff ~ which irked him considerable.

A basic rule of thumb is you never allow interviews by reporters from Rolling Stone, Nation, CBS, GQ or National Enquirer. No matter what you say, they will make you say something else ~ and none of it any good.

Posted by: muawiyah | June 23, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't Petraeus McChrystal's boss??? So why is Obama giving Petraeus a downgrade??? Eventually someone else has to be named as area commander.. now Lincoln replaced generals.. one replacement was Grant which was great but one replacement was Burnside which was a disaster.. who Obama will get and how well he does will tell if he made a mistake in firing McChrystal..

Posted by: sovine08 | June 23, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

What about that lefty love for "speaking truth to power"?

The General was wrong, the President is still inept.........

November is when normal Americans get to get even with the antiAmerican democrats

"Obama" means "failure" in several languages.............

Posted by: georgedixon | June 23, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

"If you can't follow orders, your only option in the military is to resign."

- - -

What evidence do you have that McChrystal was unwilling to follow orders? Where does the Rolling Stone article say or suggest that?

Also, I'd like someone to post all the offending quotes from McChrystal (not from his aides) that appear in the article. Again, McChrystal, not an aide.

Posted by: Swat02 | June 23, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

If this General was black he would not have been fired. It's all racial.

Posted by: economy48 | June 23, 2010 2:59 PM
________________________________________

CORRECTION: If this president were white, he wouldn't have to deal gross insubordination in his military ranks or from ranking members of congress who flat out accuse him of lying in front of the world during an address to the nation. Name one president who has had this happen. Racism, you say? Look no further than your tea party brethren.

Posted by: sjcsando | June 23, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

@sold2u...no, draft dodgers Bush, Cheney et. al. had the military's confidence, esp. with that huge banner stating "Mission Accomplished" with Shrub in a jumpsuit. That's real respect...lmfao

Posted by: dc1020008 | June 23, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

TO: economy 48 who wrote:
"If this General was black he would not have been fired. It's all racial."
____________


If this were "all racial" a black General would have NEVER said it.

I think McChrystal is one of those Tea Bag Republicans who had no respect for a black person even if the ARE President of the United States, and McChrystal conducted himself that way, and spoke that way.

He's gone. Good riddens.


Posted by: lindalovejones | June 23, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

I think the military did respect Bush more than Obama. The military is largely right-wing, and its culture is alpha-male, warrior, no-mercy. Bush fits into that culture way more than Obama. Not necessarily fair, it just is.

Posted by: sold2u | June 23, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

I read the Rolling Stone article. McCrystal agrees with the current Afghan policy, in fact it is largely his policy as the article makes clear.

He just cannot keep his mouth shut around reporters. Any general who makes contentious remarks in the presence of a Pfc. needs his head examined.

Posted by: glynnjp1 | June 23, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

The comments on this post by right-wingers lays their disrespect for our constitutional form of government, and their preference for militarism and fascism, bare for all to see. They tell you all you need to know about their false patriotism.

I wonder how many of them are bothered by the draft-dodging lack of military service, accomplished by phony educational deferments and medical claims, of their chickenhawk conservative heroes Cheney and Limpbaugh?

What frauds and hypocrites.

"Fascism will come wrapped in a flag and carrying a Bible." ~ Sinclair Lewis 1935

Posted by: toc59 | June 23, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Remember 2 rules, General Stan. #1. The boss is always right. #2 In the event the boss is wrong, see rule #1.

When you have to answer to a superior (individual or board), it is unwise to ridicule and disrespect them.

How did Stan ever survive in the military where authority is unquestioned? In this case, Stan burned too many bridges too often.

Posted by: Phred2 | June 23, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

McCrystal fired himself. He was willfully comitting an insubordinate offense. He gets a retirement and a cozy spot on Fox News. He was wrong about the strategy in Afghanistan and didn't want to face the music of his failure. So he drummed up the help of a leftist magazine(with good investigative values--unlike most these days) and opened fire. Very calculating distraction. But no accident or mistake. Took the heat right off his incompetence.

Posted by: wd1214 | June 23, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Gee, ain't it awful? Like the rabbi who let Helen Thomas hand himself, Rolling Stone did the same for McChrystal.

Shame, shame on you Rolling Stone. Bet you feel bad. You should apologize for what McChrsystal said.

Posted by: farnaz_mansouri2 | June 23, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Gee, ain't it awful? Like the rabbi who let Helen Thomas hang herself--Rolling Stone did the same for McChrystal.

Shame, shame on you Rolling Stone. Picking on a battle weary public servant. Bet you feel bad. You should apologize for what McChrsystal said.

Posted by: farnaz_mansouri2 | June 23, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Is it the trolls or some of the Michigan Militia who have jumped from Milloy to Robinson so fast today? Stan is not the Man!

Posted by: judithclaire1939 | June 23, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

From the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Article 88: Contempt of Officials:

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

I served in the military enlisted for 22 years and am an Iraq vet. I never liked Bush, in fact thought him a moron and a draft dodger. But when you're in the service you serve at the discretion of the President and whether you "like" him or not you serve the office not the man.

This has nothing to do with race. McChrystal is a career officer and knew better. Hopefully Petreaus will succeed.

Posted by: Navy8810 | June 23, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Navy8810: You are absolutely correct. I was enlisted in the Navy for only 4 years and I learned that.

Posted by: peter_nd | June 23, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Let's blame Obama and then go ahead and apologize to BP.

Posted by: motogp46 | June 23, 2010 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Yes, General McChrystal was fired, the smoke-screen of a resignation not withstanding.....

Now, come November, 2012, we, the people, will fire BHO! No smoke-screen needed, just votes!

The general violated the military chain-of-command.....

BHO has violated the trust of the American people and shredded the Constitution.

Tell the racist Mr. Robinson that's how to "put a sock in it!"

Posted by: jworsr | June 23, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Gene Robinson,
I find it comical that a female [teabag], would demand that you address Stanley McChrystal by his military rank even though you are a civilian. I think adults in our generation have an options when addressing high ranking civilian and military leaders. I sometimes address the president by his given name, and other times I will use President Barack Obama. As Bobby Brown said in the 1988 LP "Don't Be Cruel" - It's My Prerogative.

And I will add you have a lot of right-wing nut-jobs spewing ignorance and stupidity in their commentary which makes me LOL at times.

Posted by: mdavis0505 | June 23, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

A five star General defeated by himself in a two bit left wing magazine. Only in America.

Posted by: bobbo2 | June 23, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

I have a question for you flonzy1. Do you read? Do you listen? Do you think? When elected one of the things POTUS did was ask the military to give him options, their best advice and from that he would decide what direction to go. At that time McChystal was the chosen and rather than allow the President the time and space to chose between all the options he went to Europe and gave a highly publicized speech saying if they didn't take HIS approach it was doomed. So here is a new President, trying for the first time to get some real objectives and a plan to get our troops out and accomplish something and the new General in charge is putting limits on him -- that way if Obama had gone another way the General would have been the darling of the Republican party -- and "I told you so" would have been the refrain.

So the McChystal plan was adopted and he was in charge. To now blame Obama for giving him everything he asked for as the reason the blabbermouth gave the interview is the height of typical blind Republican behavior.

As a non-military person who lived first hand through the Vietnam war I watched our former President engage us in two Vietnam style wars - he avoided service overseas and Cheney avoided all things military until it was time to send OTHERS to die. There are no winners there, Iraq may someday be OK but they will have to be at arms length to us and friendly to our so-called enemies - and Afghanistan has been the ruin of too many empires and armies over the eons. I had hoped Bush would go into Afghanistan, hit them hard, drive the Taliban to extinction and get out. Instead he had too little units there, the Taliban is back stronger than ever, more areas are in trouble (Pakistan) and money and blood spilled in Iraq for no reason at all except Saddam dissed W's daddy. I had hoped Obama would just get us out but with the Republicans pushing the Democrats are unAmerican button now this is his war too. Petraeus might be smart enough to start planning on how to really get us out before we are completely broke and the best of our military burnt out, dead or too injured.


Posted by: Lemon7221 | June 23, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Well, mdavis0505, I'm delighted that "right-wing nut-jobs spewing ignorance and stupidity" make you laugh out loud.

Reading your fractured and ungrammatical prose and seeing your inability to properly capitalize certain words, or allow them to remain uncapitalized, as the case may be, makes me laugh out loud, too!

Here's to more a longer laughs for both of us!!!

Posted by: jworsr | June 23, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

A five star General defeated by himself in a two bit left wing magazine. Only in America.''

I hate to point this out to you but he only has 4 stars the last 5 star Omar Bradley died at Fort Hood in the 90s they have not given anyone 5 stars since nor the title "General of the Army" there was talk of giving it to Colin Powell after Desert Storm but the Senate never did it now David Petraues may get it after this he is definately in a position to be named Chief of Staff of the Army when it opens in a couple of years and will more than likely be named JCS to replace Admiral Mullen just my thoughts

Posted by: mikey30919 | June 23, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Obama haters need to take a deep breath and ask themselves a question. Is their hatred of one man so great that they are willing to sacrifice such a fundamental American principle as civilian control of the military. If they are, then they should know they are setting a dangerous precedent that could come back to bite us one day.

Posted by: vrnnwillis75 | June 23, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

I think the left-wingers need to relax a bit. You would think McChrystal is plotting a junta instead of just thinking Obama and Biden are boobs.

Posted by: sold2u | June 23, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

I'm hoping the general will resign, so he can speak without fetters about the fecklessness of Obama and his minions. Obama is the definition of incompetence, and Biden is a synonym.

Posted by: stratman1 | June 23, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: mike_hardesty7

McChrystal is absolutely correct as was MacArthur in 1952. Gene Robinson is Obama's House Negro and has never had an original thought in his life. He's a total black racist and we can predict his Party Line views in our sleep. Another bad affirmative action hire at the Post.
___________________________________________
Man... you can smell the crazy. This guy thinks we should have invaded China in 1952. That pretty much says it all.

Posted by: Observer001 | June 23, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Obama doesn't have a clue about running the military. For one, he is anti-military, and ran for president, allegedly, as an anti-war pacifist.

But pointing out the contradictions between Obama's rhetoric and his actions would cause too much cognitive dissonance for some people here to wrap their little minds around.

Obama would do best just to close up shop in Afghanistan and bring the troops home. Either way he will have failed in his efforts to conduct his "good war," but at least it wouldn't be at the continued unnecessary expense of more U.S. soldiers' lives.

Posted by: ttj1 | June 23, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

What about that lefty love for "speaking truth to power"?

The General was wrong, the President is still inept.........

Posted by: georgedixon | June 23, 2010 4:53 PM |

=========================================

"Speaking truth to power" was officially outlawed in January 2009. You must have missed the memo.

Seriously, Eugene is right. If a military man can't keep his mouth shut he needs to resign before he starts talking.

Posted by: bbface21 | June 23, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

If I recall correctly, President Obama got his generals to agree not to box him in. Generals have no purpose except to wage war. Absent a war, general officers have nothing to do but design and build hugely expensive weapon systems to counter the Soviet threat. Meanwhile, the U.S. Military is failing at counter-insurgency. It is far easier for a third-world warrior to louse up our plans than for first-world us to louse up his. Three options. First, the U.S. Congress votes to commit troops and resources to Afghanistan for a minimum of fifty years or until victory is achieved. Second, withdraw without victory today. Third, withdraw without victory later. Obviously a decision to drop a nuke or two is out of the question.

Posted by: BlueTwo1 | June 23, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

I could have written this for Robinson; he's such a predictible radical racist!

Posted by: GordonShumway | June 23, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Stanle McChrystal, please call Helen Thomas..

Posted by: PaulRobinson1 | June 23, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

We need to dismantle the military industrial complex or we are doomed to bankrupt ourselves. Teabaggers can go the h.e.1.1 for all I care.

Posted by: numbers28 | June 23, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Rolling Stone? Why didn't he and his staff just host Saturday Night Live? Dumb.

Posted by: mocmao | June 23, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Dear vrnnwillis75.....

You're correct! I abhor what BHO is doing to our nation..... I am working to the extent of my abilities to insure he's defeated in 2012.....

But, as a former USAF officer, I accept that General McChrystal violated the protocol of the military chain-of-command. I can't believe he didn't know his words, and those of his aides, would result in his firing! Perhaps he knowingly "took one" for his troops.....

Now, come November, 2012, I will use my vote to "fire" BHO! If enough Americans agree with me, he and his "useful idiots" will be fired! No resignation necessary!!!

Posted by: jworsr | June 23, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse

numbers28 wrote:

"We need to dismantle the military industrial complex or we are doomed to bankrupt ourselves."
///////////////////////////////////////////////

So 1968! It's not the military portion of the budget that will bankrupt us.

Posted by: argie | June 23, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if that "reporter" from Rolling Stone is proud that he published gossip that brought down a general's career and derailed the war effort in Afghanistan.

The true lesson learned here is that the media cannot be trusted. (And we also learned that Obama has incredibly thin skin, which is not becoming of a Commander in Chief.)

Posted by: diehardlib | June 23, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

What did Robinson think of Eric Shinseki's ouster when he had a policy issue with the then administration? I'd be curious to know. I think it's ironic as hell that those who cried foul when Shinseki was let go because of what was perceived as insibordination at the time, are now extolling the virtues of civilian control of the military and unity of purpose in supporting of canning the outlier.

Posted by: squid1
________________

Is there something in conservative DNA that makes them want to rewrite history?

Gen Shinseki's story is nothing like Gen McChrystal's.

Shinseki had already announced his retirement and he was open and honest in his assessment of the horribly ill-advised war in Iraq. Assessment, Squid, not criticism.

Gen McChrystal aired his disagreement in the Rolling Stone Magazine. Not only that, his arrogant and undisciplined aides criticized their CINC to a reporter, in a French bar while drinking. McChrystal acted like a childish boy-king, making Afghanistan his personal turf.

So don't try to change history, and try a more apt comparison next time.

Posted by: arancia12 | June 23, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

"Robinson it is up to Obama to ignore the experts or take their advice.
McChrystal screwed up but I can understand his frustration, it is hard working for a boss who does not listen to good advice."

-------------------

It is sad that a % of the population make wild judgments and pronouncements based on misinformation. Obama's mistake was listening to the good general last year and granting him nearly all he wanted, over the objection of more experienced & objective advisors.

Sounds like the poster might be a misfit at work, and, like the good general, have the "everyone's wrong but me" syndrome.....

Posted by: tjconnor | June 23, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if that "reporter" from Rolling Stone is proud that he published gossip that brought down a general's career and derailed the war effort in Afghanistan.

The true lesson learned here is that the media cannot be trusted. (And we also learned that Obama has incredibly thin skin, which is not becoming of a Commander in Chief.)

Posted by: diehardlib
____________________

You must be joking! Brought down a General? His aides did that! What do they (and you) think reporters do, paint portraits?? They write what is told to them and the aides knew they were being interviewed.

As far a thin-skinned, President Obama did what any boss would do when a subordinate displays incredibly poor judgement. When lives are at the mercy of that judgement, then it's especially important to remove the person.

Don't feel too badly for Gen McChrystal. He knew the rules and he has been compensated handsomely. He'll get a corporate job, maybe advising the government. He will be just fine.

You post is either an attempt to reframe the issue or you are incredibly naive.

Posted by: arancia12 | June 23, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

"Aside from that, let's hear how many years you spent serving your country in the military, Robinson."

--------

This kind of inane argument kills me: unless you served in the military, you can't have a legitimate opinion. And between the end of the Vietnam war, and the beginning of the baseless Iraq war, it was a relatively cushy gig.

Posted by: tjconnor | June 23, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

"You post is either an attempt to reframe the issue or you are incredibly naive."

---------------

I vote for both.

But you're correct, McChryst has ensured his financial future in the Military Industrial Complex. I found myself wondering today how much of this was planned. His COIN strategy in Afghanistan has unfortunately been a dismal failure. I'm not a conspiracy theory type, but this was a sweet way out of not having that failure hung around his neck. Simple folk like the poster you answer will blame the failure on his ouster.

The thin skin comments kill me as well. This thing was a train wreck. Leaving the good general in command was not possible, if you care about the troops and the country.

Posted by: tjconnor | June 23, 2010 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Soldiers who arrive at as lofty a pinnacle as McChrystal do so largely by being politically adept. Which is why I'm so astounded by his totally un-politic behavior--in the daily presence of a reporter for a national publication. How could he NOT know his unprofessional remarks would be all over the web and the world in a heartbeat? His actions seem to be deliberate self-destruction. He will no doubt write a book 'explaining' this little meltdown--but you and I will never really know the truth. He left the President no alternative.

Posted by: ctenwith | June 23, 2010 10:18 PM | Report abuse

The administration should not be surprised that had the Rolling Stone reporter had the same level of access to the Ambassador's team or the State Department's leadership in Afghanistan that a similar article would have appeared with remarks demeaning the military as part of the Afghan Team.

Interagency back biting goes on all the time. The lack of effective leadership on the civilian side while not pretty in print doesn't mean it isn't true. We can readily see the militarty's sucesses or failures. Where is the measure of the State Dept's success? Where is the Ambassador's report card (A's or F's?)

Any remarks in the article made about VP Biden as I read it were not made by the General. What military institution did the VP graduate from? What combat action has the VP seen that would allow him to propose a military doctrine for Afghanistan? The remarks made by the General regarding the VP's strategy last November and repeated in the article seem right on point. Drones can't win in Afghanistan but boots on the ground will win militarily and effective civilian leadership from the state department in the field, in the villages, will help achieve the goal of a stronger and effective self governed Afghanistan

Posted by: jrmcdonald1 | June 23, 2010 10:35 PM | Report abuse

What Gene says may me right, but that doesn't make up for the fact that he has zero credibility as a journalist. Had McCrystal been black and Obama had been white, Robinson would be screaming racism. Robison should be dissapointed in the General for violating the basic principles of the chain of command. Instead, he's delighted that his black president put a white general in his place.

Posted by: Howsthathopeandchangeworkingforyou | June 23, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

This time I happen to agree with Obama in releasing the General. Not because it was Obama, but because no active duty military person need to express themselves the way the General did. But I hate to agree with Robinson on anything either. Eugene, you are a dispicable idealogue who has no credibility. You hate our troops and the soldiers and this war against terror. You sicken me. You and your ilk. Take your speech about traditions in this country, a country and its traditions you care nothing for, and shove it.

Posted by: OlafGunderson | June 23, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

the level of discourse on this comments section is atrocious! Half of the comments indicate a total lack of education, diction or even understanding of the
English language by the commentors. And yet, these same people believe they have a better understanding of either the circumstances, causes or actions necessary to be taken (no matter what the issue in question)than the current occupant of the White House. Simply laughable if it were not so disturbing!

Posted by: gmk0505 | June 23, 2010 10:59 PM | Report abuse

On point as always, Robinson. As a former military officer, it is hard for me to believe that McChrystal, especially as a general officer, was so extremely arrogant or politically stupid or both. McChrystal clearly wanted to get out of the job, that he tore a page from his insurgency manual, ate it, and then proceeded to go out in a big public way with both fingers raised in salute, on the way to see his book agent, what a prima donna, jerk, good riddance!

What McChrystal and his fans forget is the facts. Bush failed to prosecute this war properly, and it is only now in 2010, nearly 9 years since our occupation of Afghanistan that we finally added more forces to the correct battlefront, Afghanistan.

Instead we invaded Iraq for Israel and Cheney's sake. Yet when President Obama doubled the troop levels in Afghanistan McChrystal pushed back, because he needs more. McChrystal and fellow dimwits forget that we cannot win in Afghanistan unless we win Pakistan's support to truly engage and defeat the pseudo Switzerland Bush and his supporters allowed to continue since 2001---2001 people---2001 is when we invaded and let Bin Laden run off to his sanctuary that spawned the attacks on London and the recent attempt here in Times Square.

Still, McChrysal and tin-foil hat wearing army, actually expect President Obama to solve Afghanistan overnight. Instead we've only begun to fight the real fight, have patience, because you all certainly gave the Bushies a nearly 8 year pass on Bush's pathetic indifference to troop levels in Afghanistan, or even defeating Al Queda in a serious fashion. So watch and learn

Posted by: cisconwa | June 23, 2010 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Eugene, his name is General McChrystal or Mr. McChrystal to you (and me). You calling him Stan is the height of arrogance and rudeness. I'm sorry that what he said about the black community agitator that became our President has annoyed you. I guess it must be true what he says or it would not annoy you so much that you would revert to calling a 4 star general by his first name as if you had enough honor compared to him to shine his shoes.

Posted by: JohnnyLH | June 24, 2010 12:01 AM | Report abuse

Why are these military thugs so worshipped just because they wear military uniforms?

If McChrystal had not insulted Obama, he would still be getting away with his crimes.

McChrystal is a war criminal. Ask Pat Tillman's mother what she thinks of McChrystal.

McChrystal presided over a criminal system of torture, but all his war crimes don't get him kicked out - no, it was insulting Obama, who was just A-OK with this cretin up until then.

Posted by: solsticebelle | June 24, 2010 12:02 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Robinson. Please dont pay any attention to these detractors that spend all their time on the internet criticizing everything that the President does. Nobody really pays attention to them except other nut cases that think like they do. If they didn't feel like they were on the ropes they wouldn't be so hateful and vitriolic. Take these insulting insurgents for what they are, a bunch of crazy, racist anarchists that dont really care about this country. I found your article very spot on. Thank God there are commentors onboard that actually have served in the military and understand how our military and constitution works. These other idiots are just upset that there is a Black President(and/or a Democrat, whichever you prefer because they hate both equally). Most of the time they have no idea what they are talking about. Everytime I see an article written that sends the right into raving, reconstructing and outright lying, I take it as a positive sign that the right decision has been made by the President. Keep up the great work!

Posted by: ruthella10 | June 24, 2010 7:44 AM | Report abuse

Thin-skinned Obama couldn't stand hearing the truth. McChrystal told it like it is knowing full-well he could lose his job. Perhaps that's exactly what he wanted - to get his life back.

Posted by: PittAlum | June 24, 2010 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Robinson is right. As a former member of the military, we have to respect our commander in chief even if he happens to be an inexperienced amateur. This is the person the voters of the country selected and this is the person who is commander in chief.

Posted by: WhiteHonkey | June 24, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Eugene, his name is General McChrystal or Mr. McChrystal to you (and me). You calling him Stan is the height of arrogance and rudeness.
-----------------------

JohnnyLH - he was saying what SecD should say, not Gene. The SecD is his boss and can call him by his first name, especially in this situation. It makes it an order while still being friendly. To say "Put a sock in it, General" would only make it sound angry which wouldn't help.


Posted by: MadiganT | June 24, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Although Gen. McChrystal needed to be fired after his, and his aides, comments, you have to wonder if these comments to Rolling Stone were just a final bit of frustration from him. Gene is correct that once the Civilian (US President) makes the decision, the military needs to follow it, it reads and sounded like that the President's civilian support were not in agreement with the President's decision and were overtly and covertly working against it, thus working against Gen. McChrystal and the military.

The President needed to fire Gen. McChrystal but he now needs to slap down the opposition group(s) from the civilian authorities. They either need to fall in line and work WITH the military or go find new jobs. Unless this is done, we're going to see the same thing happen, just not as publically

Posted by: MadiganT | June 24, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

The Titanic crew SHOULD have seen the iceberg....

Pearl Harbor SHOULD have been better prepared...

McChrystal SHOULD have kept quiet....

BLAH BLAH BLAH.

Hindsight is ALWAYS 20/20. You think you're a genius now, or what?

What a waste of editorialism.

Posted by: kentuckythunder | June 24, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Tennessee white trash Stanley McChrystal's getting a second star from his "good buddy," the 9/11-committing Closet-Queen-in-Chief, draft-dodger George W. Bush, for assassinating "true believer" Pat Tillman "with deniability," went to his head surrounded by a coterie of sublimating psychopaths and deviant sycophants serving false war for fascist plutocracy.

The insubordination pseudo-West Pointer McChrystal's subordinates demonstrated in the command environment he engendered was gossipy, self-aggrandizing, over-compensating chit-chat of "macho" gay killers.

May any seeking righteousness, for, by, and of, the People's servant, President Obama, ensure we truly be rid of McChrystal, Bush, Cheney, and their ilk, unlike Nixon, GHW Bush, and E.Howard Hunt at Dealey Plaza and all the evil they were able to effect.

G-d is not mocked.

Death for Treason

Posted by: iamerican | June 24, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

This tin-pot writer for WaPo doesn't measure up to even shine McChrystal's shoes let alone lecture him on tactics. Go back to writing your next Obama-the-victim article lest they rescind your Pulitzer.

Posted by: NoWeCant | June 24, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Always love, love, love your column Eugene. You always tell it like it is.

As for these disrespectful teabagging right wing lunatic racist nuts who love to read your column and then criticize you for it, keep fueling their rage. They're hilarious. Toodles.

Posted by: denise4925 | June 24, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Mr.Robinson.Thank you for your article.Based on my knowledge regarding generals they are extremely head strong. He probably couldn't contain himself with such a strong ego and the comfort of those around him never daring to question him or, to help balance his cognative reasoning he just simply put his foot in his mouth and now must reap what he has sown.I feel certain that he wouldn't tolerate insubordinance.Enjoy the book tour circuit.

Posted by: nickyfree44 | June 24, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

What more advice do you need to give besides, keep your mouth shut next time?

Posted by: AnnieP1 | June 24, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

I just can't believe the right wingers who take umbrage at Obama and Robinson: one a president, one a columnist. The thing they share is their race.

I spent 25 Years in the US Army, and it is 100% true: you don't disparage your Commander in Chief, even if he is a republican and drools in public (Reagan). This general is no different. He should have been fired the first time he went out of control in London. I was disappointed in Obama for not doing it then. Who did McChrystal think he was, some warrior god? I don't think so, not even close. I can't imagine the troops even thinking he is for real.

I guess I've probably given myself away as an 'elite' with the use of the word "Umbrage", but get a dictionary, boys, and get over it.

Posted by: jb-atl-126 | June 24, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

This was no slip of the lip. McChrystal knew he would get fired, but he decided his bosses all the way up the chain of command were incompetent, so he forced Obama to have to deal with this.

Of course he should be fired, but that doesn't make him wrong. In fact, I admire the fact that he gave up his career to let people know how incompetent this crew is.

Eugene,

time to press obama on his competency issue that has arisen in every crisis.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | June 24, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Three rounds grouped in a 1.25" diameter ring on Pat Tillman's forehead and Afghanistan "black ops" commander, BG Stanley McChrystal gives him a Silver Star and covers up his unit's assassination of an American Hero, netting himself a second star from 9/11-committing George Bush, a draft-dodging closet-queen whose father killed President Kennedy and whose grandfather was Hitler's banker.

Somebody here think G-d doesn't know what's going on when America's anointed Founder called it "the real Anti-Christ?"

Posted by: iamerican | June 24, 2010 10:01 PM | Report abuse

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