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Rolling Stone McChrystal article understates the backbiting

10:12 p.m.: This post has been updated to reflect President Obama's remarks Tuesday afternoon.

Sometimes media gaffes overstate the degree of dissension among policymakers. In the case of Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s bizarre decision to grant “fly on the wall” access to a Rolling Stone reporter, the unvarnished comments actually understate the backbiting among these senior policymakers and their staffs.

President Obama’s aides say they don’t mind internal disagreement (“Dissent is the music of policy,” says one), and many of the Obama gang have a penchant for wisecracks. But the Rolling Stone piece is a warning sign of a real problem. And it’s not just a McChystal problem. A fly on the wall at the State Department or the National Security Council would hear similar backbiting.

The president, who has been trying to patch together decent relations among an often-feuding Afghanistan team, is going to have to crack the whip. Obama has been holding Afghanistan at arm’s length. With his decision Wednesday on McChrystal, Obama will finally own the war policy.

With many of the quotes picked up by reporter Michael Hastings, it’s a safe bet that those speaking never imagined their words would see print. A typical dumb comment is this one attributed to McChrystal, reading a message from Richard Holbrooke, the State Department’s special representative for Afghanistan: “Oh, not another e-mail from Holbrooke. I don’t even want to open it.” It’s a rare e-mail recipient who hasn’t muttered something similar about someone.

But in this case, it’s McChrystal’s tough luck. Nobody has to say stupid things in the presence of reporters. Nobody required one unnamed McChrystal "aide" to call Jim Jones, the national security adviser, a "clown," or a "top adviser" to mock Vice President Joe Biden with the nickname "Bite Me."

Obama has tolerated too much dissent within his Afghanistan team. His message now should be simple: The country is at war. Anyone who badmouths a colleague in this environment — even if he thinks it’s a harmless off-the-record joke — doesn’t have a place on the team. The president gave some sense of that Tuesday afternoon when he said he would make decisions "entirely on how I can make sure that we have a strategy that justifies the enormous courage and sacrifice that those men and women are making over there."

Another commander who couldn’t keep his mouth shut in front of reporters was Adm. William Fallon, chief of U.S. Central Command from 2007 to 2008. In that case, the recipient of his embarrassing quotes was Esquire, and Fallon resigned. I hope it doesn’t come to that with McChrystal, but the aide who talked so glibly about “clowns” should be looking for a job with Ringling Brothers.

The clock is ticking, Mr. President. You have one year to your July 2011 deadline, when you say you will begin withdrawing troops. The time to make changes and get the right team in place is now or never. Napoleon famously said he wanted "lucky generals." Obama, alas, has one who has been accident-prone.

By David Ignatius  | June 22, 2010; 11:14 AM ET
Categories:  Ignatius  | Tags:  David Ignatius  
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Next: Don't blame McChrystal, blame Obama

Comments

The bottom line is Obama could have avoided this embarrasment by doing what he should have done and, yes, what the last president did. Once the decision to wage war had been made, his orders to Gen. McChrystal should have been: "Just tell me what you need." Then he should have made sure everyone on his team knew and understood the order.

That's how you do it, son.

Posted by: Roytex | June 22, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Obama needs to have an Afghanistan team that agrees on strategy and is determined to get it right. His message should be simple: The country is at war in Afghanistan. Anyone who badmouths a colleague in this environment -- even if he thinks it’s a harmless off-the-record joke -- doesn’t have a place on the team.

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

As Richard Cohen pointed out we don't know how serious Obama is about the war.

He needs to have a clear goals, a team that agrees on the strategy, and the will to take the time to see it to fruition.

That's what leadership is all about, Charlie Brown

Posted by: bbface21 | June 22, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

The war is unwinnable and always has been. The bad guys escaped eight years ago, when Bush moved his resources to Iraq.

There is no longer any reason to be there, except to protect the feelings of the generals. Just like Vietnam.

Posted by: Casey1 | June 22, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

The president, who has been trying to patch together decent relations among an often-feuding Afghanistan team, is going to have to crack the whip.

~~~

Yes, he is.

Crrraaccck It! Whiiip!

And while he's at, where are the Joint Chiefs of Staff? What is their say in all of this?

Posted by: lcarter0311 | June 22, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

A fly on the wall in the WHITE HOUSE would hear Joe Biden jokes. Yet we don't see them published. Did McChrytal REALLY give fly on the wall access/permission to publish ANY type of comment?

If, and only if he did, he deserves his resignation.

Posted by: silencedogoodreturns | June 22, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Obana's good war is lost, just like the economic recovery and his failure to close the border. He's batting 0 for 3, which is poor in any league.

Posted by: richard36 | June 22, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Generals have been stripped of rank and sent to the front for less. For that matter, soldiers have been summarily executed in the field for less serious insubordination.

McChrystal is worried about keeping his position of authority. He *should* be worried about spending the duration (of the war, or of his life) in the brig.

Posted by: james0tucson | June 22, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps President Obama might take a phrase used by Abraham Lincoln in dealing with another incompetent and arrogant general named McClellan, and ask General McChrystal if he could borrow his army for awhile as the General seems to be making little use of it?

Posted by: gargoyle22 | June 22, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

"The bottom line is Obama could have avoided this embarrasment by doing what he should have done and, yes, what the last president did. Once the decision to wage war had been made, his orders to Gen. McChrystal should have been: "Just tell me what you need." Then he should have made sure everyone on his team knew and understood the order.

That's how you do it, son."

Which is exactly what your last president hero DID NOT DO. He was advised to put hundreds of thousands of troops in Iraq and put in 150,000. Yeah, good example from another short term memory lacking Redumblican.

Posted by: vagator | June 22, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

The men and women who are fighting and dying in Afganistan deserve better than this by their General, who, clearly, has overstepped his bounds by feeding the press and dis-respecting the President of the United States. The American people deserve better than this.

The war in Afganistan is costing this Nation more than it can afford, in every way.

The General is replaceable, for sure.

Posted by: rannrann | June 22, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Obama is the Clown-in-Chief.


Posted by: Jerzy | June 22, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

For the past two weeks or so, since his Gulf oil speech, Liberals/Progressives throughout the media and Congress have bemoaned the indecisive, unfocused, not in command President Obama.

Guess what? The military learned that about President Obama a year ago.

The President is a joke to the military for the same character reasons Liberals have been complaining about more recently.

Liberals/Progressives and the military all believe he is a weak indecisive professor lacking in leadership qualities and lacking management skills.

We all hoped the President would unite the country. We didn't expect this to be the unifying theme.

Posted by: jfv123 | June 22, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

A house divided CANNOT STAND!!

Posted by: slamming | June 22, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

QUOTE:
"A fly on the wall in the WHITE HOUSE would hear Joe Biden jokes. Yet we don't see them published. Did McChrytal REALLY give fly on the wall access/permission to publish ANY type of comment?

If, and only if he did, he deserves his resignation.

Posted by: silencedogoodreturns"


McChrystal and his staff were given the opportunity to review the Rolling Stone article before publication; they did not ask for it to be changed and did not say the Gen. and his staff were misquoted.

Posted by: HillRat | June 22, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Obama and his gaggle of loons are nothing but one big Keystone Cop operation.

Posted by: rplat | June 22, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

McCrystal doubts Obama's judgement- as he should. After all Obama hire him.

Posted by: newagent99 | June 22, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

To Roytex,
What a pile of sanctimonious crap, son.

Posted by: rbe1 | June 22, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

A great Commander-in-Chief gets on board with the battle strategy of his head General and makes sure everyone in the administration is on board, not the other way around.

Posted by: axehandle6 | June 22, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

We are now officially a nation crippled by political correctness, from the halls of congress to the battlefield to the corner taco stand, it's over, we cannot go on as a coherant society if we do not have freedom of speech or freedom to criticize because we will unravel as sentient beings once the PC infection cripples freedom of thought. A nation of castrated, unisexual, lobotomized drones will be slaughtered every time, regardless of their technology

Posted by: surfdumb | June 22, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

"
... Once the decision to wage war had been made, his orders to Gen. McChrystal should have been: "Just tell me what you need."
Posted by: Roytex

That presumes that the generals set the strategic objectives. It also presumes men and material are unlimited, which is simply untrue. The generals who won WWII had to figure out how to do it with less than they would have liked. Giving 500,000 men to the generals fighting Vietnam didn't change the outcome.

McChrystal wants to do full-on COIN. According senior COINistas, that kind of campaign takes 10 to 15 years. We've already been in Afghanistan 9 years. The American public is not going to put up with having our troops fighting in Afghanistan for 20-25 years.

COIN as played by McChrystal and Petraeus also presumes that there is a legitimate and competent civilian government ready to move in once a population is secure. That's not happening any time soon.

In short, Obama needs a general who understands the difference between what he might want, and what the realities dictate. McChrystal is apparently not that man. When told that he can't have everything, he doesn't say, "I'm sorry sir, but I'm not your man." He grabs the glory of cammand, and snipes about his superiors behind their back. This is not smart and it's not honorable. It sets a terrible example for the troops and undermines their morale and confidence in their mission.

In view of everything, McChrystal just bought the farm by shooting himself through the mouth. It's a tragedy.

Posted by: j3hess | June 22, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

The bottom line is Obama could have avoided this embarrasment by doing what he should have done and, yes, what the last president did.
**********

What the last president did? Laugh of the day. You go to war with the Army you have, not the one you wish for, remember? And what a success Bush's wars were!

Posted by: hitpoints | June 22, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

I have yet to hear ONE cogent argument for even being over there in Afghanistan. With war or with enterprise if the objectives are not clear, the business will fail. You can strategize all you want but when the mission does not have a statement, the objectives are blurry at best, than the outcome will be determined for you. I have yet to hear ONE OBJECTIVE that I can sink my teeth into.

Is it their minerals (natural resources) we want? Is it democracy we are trying to establish? Is it to clear out the terrorists? Are we trying to save a people and a nation? Are we trying to educate the populace and teach the leaders how it is done?

The General is a good man and I am sure he has seen the writing on the wall. Either his better judgement escaped him, or his good conscience kicked in. I support our military and our leaders but as my daddy once stated 'I smell a burglar in the wood shed somewhere'. In this case there is something more than fishy and I think the General's good senses kicked in and he is realizing it as well.

Posted by: jakesfriend1 | June 22, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I have yet to hear ONE cogent argument for even being over there in Afghanistan. With war or with enterprise if the objectives are not clear, the business will fail. You can strategize all you want but when the mission does not have a statement, the objectives are blurry at best, than the outcome will be determined for you. I have yet to hear ONE OBJECTIVE that I can sink my teeth into.

Is it their minerals (natural resources) we want? Is it democracy we are trying to establish? Is it to clear out the terrorists? Are we trying to save a people and a nation? Are we trying to educate the populace and teach the leaders how it is done?

The General is a good man and I am sure he has seen the writing on the wall. Either his better judgement escaped him, or his good conscience kicked in. I support our military and our leaders but as my daddy once stated 'I smell a burglar in the wood shed somewhere'. In this case there is something more than fishy and I think the General's good senses kicked in and he is realizing it as well.

Posted by: jakesfriend1 | June 22, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

"Casey1" is correct. The original point of the Afghan war was to capture/destroy the Al Qaeda leadership.

That horse has long since left the barn. Too late to close the door now. What are we still doing there?

Posted by: chipgower | June 22, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Old Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu once said the military commandant fighting in a war and he shall be in command and King and Emperor shall give the commandant full support and no one else should question and second guess him including the king or emperor. King and Emperor has the right to remove the commandant from his post. General McChrystal is a general not a politician and he should have th eright to express his opinion. Politicians should leave career military staff alone. They are the hero and patriot for this country not to serve our incumbent politicians who are bunch of hypocrites. That is why western democracy is good because military never interferes with government, so leave career military and generals alone and let them do their job. If Obama is not happy with General McCrystal , he can remove him from post but never question his decision. As far as I am concerned, the politicians are the one should be removed from their posts not our patriot generals.I beleive most of our fellow Americans respect our generals but few would say they respect our politicians.

Posted by: gwng99 | June 22, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

We study history and watch various war movies so errors do not get repeated. The reason we send our children to school is this basic premise: Learn from past successes and failures. It looks like some of our countrymen missed some classes along the way. The punishment will be determined by the C in C soon.

Posted by: YouSee | June 22, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

QUOTE:
"A fly on the wall in the WHITE HOUSE would hear Joe Biden jokes. Yet we don't see them published. Did McChrytal REALLY give fly on the wall access/permission to publish ANY type of comment?

If, and only if he did, he deserves his resignation.

Posted by: silencedogoodreturns"


McChrystal and his staff were given the opportunity to review the Rolling Stone article before publication; they did not ask for it to be changed and did not say the Gen. and his staff were misquoted.
-----------------------------------------

If I were the president, I would immediately fire him and his entire staff without hesitation. This type blatant disrespect should not be tolerated in the military.

A general is not a demagouge and as soon as a general steps into a political role (MacArthur), they deserve to be shown the door, no matter who the president is.

Posted by: cjpotter19 | June 22, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

A great Commander-in-Chief gets on board with the battle strategy of his head General and makes sure everyone in the administration is on board, not the other way around.

Posted by: axehandle6 | June 22, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse
------------------------------------------

No, you have that backwards.

The President and civilian leadership should always run the show. Always.

Why? because unlike high ranking military officials, they are actually accountable to the people. That's why the founding fathers made the President the commander and chief of the military as opposed to leaving a general in charge.

Once a general forgets their role and takes on a semi-political role as a defiant demagogue they need to be immediately removed.

Both Truman and Lincoln were absolutely right to remove MacArthur and McClellan for their insubordination and history has vindicated their actions. The same applies to Obama and McChrystal.

Posted by: cjpotter19 | June 22, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

For someone with no management experience Obama sure does micro management to the hilt and gets the corresponding results.

He shows no respect yet expects bowed heads in return?

Posted by: sally62 | June 22, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

For someone with no management experience Obama sure does micro management to the hilt and gets the corresponding results.

He shows no respect yet expects bowed heads in return?

Posted by: sally62 | June 22, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

BO and His Peeps (Emmanuel, Geithner, Clinton, Gates, Holder, Napolitano, Pelosi, Reid, Frank, etc) think Gen. McC and staff have been bad-mouthing them? They should hear what much of the rest of the country is saying about them... just like the last president. Oh... wait... the last president was fair game... this one, not so much...

ps -- Get out of Afghanistan. Get out of Iraq. There isn't anything in either country which, in 3 weeks, 3 months, 3 years or 3 decades will make us any happier than we are now. And Iran... don't even think about it, no matter how much AIPAC and Israel press the alarm button. (And if you see Wolfowitz and/or Feith and/or their boss Netanyahoo, tell them to go **** themselves with a thorny poker...)

Posted by: srb2 | June 22, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Thi sis not President obama's war.

IT is our war.
WE THE PEOPLE WAR

We allowed Bush and Cheny to commence without reason.

Posted by: godwithfire55 | June 22, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Is General McChrystal think he's preparing a run for the presidency? His tendency to go public to counter the administration sure makes it seem that way.

Posted by: rogied25 | June 22, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Is General McChrystal think he's preparing a run for the presidency? His tendency to go public to counter the administration sure makes it seem that way.

Posted by: rogied25 | June 22, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Both Truman and Lincoln were absolutely right to remove MacArthur and McClellan for their insubordination and history has vindicated their actions. The same applies to Obama and McChrystal.

Posted by: cjpotter19
================

I concur

Posted by: godwithfire55 | June 22, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Both Truman and Lincoln were absolutely right to remove MacArthur and McClellan for their insubordination and history has vindicated their actions. The same applies to Obama and McChrystal.

Posted by: cjpotter19
================

Agreed. That being said, it's also a fair question to ask what the hell is going on with this team with all this cat fighting, leaks and backstabbing?

Posted by: bbface21 | June 22, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Roytex, Maybe you missed it, son, but that is what Obama did. Maybe you were out of town? Remember the whole study thing and the whole boots on the ground thing???

No?

Among the things I find laughable is that President Obama did re:Afghanistan IN HIS FIRST YEAR IN OFFICE what it took 'ol W 6 years of war to do - He asked for options, reviewed the information, listened to the experts input and then made a decision.

The resulting "Surge" prosecuted by Patreus was very controversial but it also worked.

But when President Obama followed this process people a lot like screamed that he is indecisive.

But, Roytex, maybe you missed this too: The first 6 years of the Iraq war Don Rumsfeld called the shots. Despite his generals requests to the contrary, Rummey had decided what staffing was needed, what weapons would be used, etc. Generals who disagreed were removed or cut off.

Did you forget that?

President Obama's unfortunate problem is that McChrystal is not Petraeus.

Petraeus was not a politician and was more interested in getting his job done. McChrystal seems to imagine he is Douglass MacArthur. He has not proven to be a good general, nor a good politician nor even a particularly smart man.

And that is the way it is, son.

Posted by: TOMMYBASEBALL | June 22, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

It's obvious we need to end US troop involvement in the foreign wars of adventure and participation in their civil wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, since there are no al-Qaeda there.

Hint: they're in Saudi Arabia - the place that attacked us on 9-11. And in Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan.

Posted by: WillSeattle | June 22, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

The President and civilian leadership should always run the show. Always.

Why? because unlike high ranking military officials, they are actually accountable to the people. That's why the founding fathers made the President the commander and chief of the military as opposed to leaving a general in charge.

Once a general forgets their role and takes on a semi-political role as a defiant demagogue they need to be immediately removed.

Both Truman and Lincoln were absolutely right to remove MacArthur and McClellan for their insubordination and history has vindicated their actions. The same applies to Obama and McChrystal.

Posted by: cjpotter19 | June 22, 2010 2:23 PM

_______________________

Excellent post!!

Posted by: TOMMYBASEBALL | June 22, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

McChrystal has precious little to gripe about. Obama chose McChrystal's strategy, and gave him the troops he wanted. You can't make the mess Obama's just because Obama gave the general a reasonable target date for being in a position to start drawing down troops. That doesn't make the strategy incoherent, guarantee failure, explain McChrystal's strategic blunders, or much of anything else. McChrystal is launching preemtive attacks at the folks who are increasingly unimpressed with HIS execution of HIS plan, with all the troops HE asked for. Not that the snipers shouldn't also be smacked on a few wrists, but they're just politicians outside the chain of command. McChrystal reports to Obama, Obama gave the keys to McChrystal, and McChrystal has no business blaming Obama for driving the car into a ditch.

Posted by: JoeT1 | June 22, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Let's see. A bunch of high-ranking officers think the current administration are mismanaging the war....

...which by all accounts we are sure not winning...

...and this columnist says fire the dissenters and onboard a bunch of people who will suck up to an administration that has been accused of incompetency.

Are we doing this on principle, Mr. Ignatius?

Posted by: hanley12 | June 22, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Fire him....so he can speak openly about the failed Obama administration

Fire him.....and publish ALL of it......

Obama is a poor excuse for a human, for a man and for a President....so by all means, fire the General

November is the end of this regime

Democrats started our last civil war too........


This is SO MUCH FUN!!!

Posted by: georgedixon | June 22, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

What part of "commander in chief" don't you understand, son?

Posted by: mattintx | June 22, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

bbface21: "As Richard Cohen pointed out we don't know how serious Obama is about the war."

You are relying on Richard Cohen as a source? Cohen couldn't care less if President Obama is serious about the war and is too lazy to find out. He had a theme and he was not going to let facts get in its way.

President Obama has been very clear and upfront about his goals and expectations for Afghanisthan. He has been so throughout the presidential campaign, throughout the strategy evaluation process he undertook and everywhere in between.

If you really are unsure about the President's commitment to this war you simply have not been paying attention.

Posted by: TOMMYBASEBALL | June 22, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

JoeT1 - "...You can't make the mess Obama's just because Obama gave the general a reasonable target date for being in a position to start drawing down troops. That doesn't make the strategy incoherent, guarantee failure, explain McChrystal's strategic blunders, or much of anything else..."

Also an excellent post!!!! Very well put!

Posted by: TOMMYBASEBALL | June 22, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure what president and war Roytex is referring to.

As for Obama's predecessor, he declared "Mission Accomplished" after a month and went off to spend his weekends clearing brush. Meanwhile, servicemen and -women on the front lines were left to "armor-plate" their own vehicles with scrap metal.

Posted by: Ralphinjersey | June 22, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

The President does not enforce discipline or the law generally for that matter. Bankers who committed fraud got a pass people who engaged in torture got a pass and on and on. The generals and the AVF (All Volunteer Force) have turned the military ethos into a team sport. This McCrystal thing is akin to locker room chit chat. It's rediculous. The truth is we can't "win" in Afghanistan but need to tolerate the open wound to impose our will. Now how can you expect the population to exhibit the kind of discipline and sacrifice required for an effort like that when the Commander in Chief and the military lack the discipline to do it themselves? In short these guys haven't a clue what they are doing. The President first among them.

Posted by: jhadv | June 22, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

CHANGE YOU CAN BELIEVE IN!

Revolutions and dramatic overhaul of government results due to a coup of military. Without the support, respect and trust of the military THERE IS NO COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF!

Posted by: american17 | June 22, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Where is Col. Kurtz when we need him? Obama runs everything like it's a university department. Comments like this about the boss and his staff occur in every organization are water cooler talk. Comments like this made to a media outlet like the Rolling Stone are insubordination and cannot be tolerated. McChrystal must be fired tomorrow, or Obama is running the risk he will lose control over the war and the military. Maybe Obama thinks he can talk his way through this and by reading McC the riot act, he will get compliance. Obama can't intimidate a warrior, and shouldn't even try. His policy is failing; the grunts are in open opposition to the ROE's which are killing their friends. This looks more and more like Apocalypse 2010.

Posted by: Smith66 | June 22, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I have to agree with the poster who said COIN (counterinsurgency) is really not an option in Afghanistan. Ever since the Soviets set up a puppet Marxist government, there has been no functioning civil authority with the support of the people, except for the Taliban! Add to that the fact that the country is enormous and much of the terrain is a nightmare for warfighting and it is hard to see how counterinsurgency can work, even if we had another 15 years. As far back as the 19th Century, the place was called "the graveyard of empire." Rudyard Kipling had this to say about fighting there:

When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Just roll to your rifle and blow out your brains,
And go to your God like a soldier.

Posted by: jhpurdy | June 22, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

What Obama will or should do is unimportant. The sad truth is that his administration is in disarray, both at home and abroad.

Posted by: suegbic1 | June 22, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Bring in the clowns. Frankly the war is a bad joke. The fact is those who are running it are all clowns. But who is laughing?

We have been there nine years yet nobody knows why. Will this general be on Saturaday Night Live next week? Is the only reason we are in this country because Obama likes this war. Is this war another one of choice or simply likes. I ask where is the oil? In Iraq it was WMD but some people claim it was moved. Somebody moved the Afran oil?

Posted by: artg | June 22, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

The truth hurts, whether it was inappropriately commented upon or not. My old Sicilian Grandmother use to say " when a fish stinks, it stinks from the head down." Maybe its time for Obama to consider 'retirement' for the good of the nation.

Posted by: chiron02149 | June 22, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Taking military pressure off gihadists in their home regions is not a good idea. Neither is a Vietnam-style escalation to prop up a corrupt regime. The only answer left is for NATO to be the harasser of the Taliban element, not the occupier of Afghanistan.

Balkingpoints / www

Posted by: RField7 | June 22, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Forget the military's attempt to build a stable political and economic structure in Afghanistan. The US should stop wasting money keeping a large presence there while al Qaeda hides in Pakistan. Bring most of the troops home and be ready to strike with missiles and covert operations once al Qaeda's leadership come out of the caves.

Posted by: johnc_80 | June 22, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

I suspect Ignatius' advice would serve Biden well, as his foot is permanently attached to his mouth.

I'm surprised we're not hearing form the crew that defended poor old Helen Thomas. Isn't Hastings a bad man for "exposing" McChrystal?

Posted by: farnaz_mansouri2 | June 22, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

roytex:

were did you spend 2003-2008?
on Mars?

making recommendations according to what
the LAST president is not what this country
voted for in 2008.

we have had enough of
"shock and awe",
"they are in there last throes", and "mission accomplished".

Posted by: surlydoc | June 22, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

roytex:

were did you spend 2003-2008?
on Mars?

making recommendations according to what
the LAST president is not what this country
voted for in 2008.

we have had enough of
"shock and awe",
"they are in there last throes", and "mission accomplished".

Posted by: surlydoc | June 22, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

If you asked most Americans whether they wanted to spend $1,000 or more a year on building Afghanistan's economy, they'd tell you to take a hike.

Posted by: johnc_80 | June 22, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Let me lay one more charge at McChrystal's door: Giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

Does anyone doubt that Taliban leaders are enjoying this scandal immensely and telling their members that this shows that the enemy is divided?

Making a public show of disrespect for the commander in chief - it demonstrates a fatal lack of judgment.

Posted by: j3hess | June 22, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Ignatius writes: "Obama needs to have an Afghanistan team that agrees on strategy and is determined to get it right."

What Obama needs is to have an Afghanistan STRATEGY that gets it right. The problems uncovered in the article suggest that the team fighting the war doesn't think he does. And that that view runs all the way down into the ranks of enlisted men.

Posted by: theduke89 | June 22, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

right or wrong, you need uncompromising loyalty. Fire the dumb, disloyal redneck.

Posted by: jackson641 | June 22, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

The esthetics of Reality TV for a life-style magazin, nothingt to care about, just a chic pathetic pseudo-underground pose

Posted by: uzs106 | June 22, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Some of the people commenting on this are missing the big issue. The fact that it was published is of no consiquence. The issue is that a member of the military showed insubordination to the superior officer, as did the aides who made the other comments. If he had been a civilian that said it he would be protected by freedom of speech, lucky for some of the other people that posted. But since he is in the military he faces more trouble. It is a double standard, but it is a double standard that has been in place as long as our military has been active.

As far as the plan itself, last time I checked the President was the Commander-in-Cheif all the Armed Forces, which means that while the General can come up with his own ideas, the President is the one who has the final say so and anything that he does not disagree with or he thinks he has to look into does not get done or gets postponed until he gets the information he needs.

The bottom line is this: the General and his aides made comments about the Adminstration that directly show insubordination towards a superior officer or official, and should be punished just like any Private who does not follow orders gets punished. That is the way the military works. If you do not like it, then get elected as an official and try to change it. Just being a babbling head gets nothing done.

Posted by: jrpriest | June 22, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Shouldn't he be more worried about the drug cartel hiding in the mountains of Arizona ready to shoot the police and the boarder patrol? Obama, are you not suppose to protect the "Legal" Americans of this country, or are you going to sit with the general and ignore what is going on. Leave the general alone, he is ready to give his life for his country, why didn't you ever serve in the military? Forget it I know why, you bow to dictators, your going to sue your own state, your a coward Obama and the country has lost it's respect for you!

Posted by: bailey50 | June 22, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

So you are saying that everyone that does not serve in the military is a dictator loving coward? I take offense to that since some people cannot serve in the military for various health reasons or feel they are better served staying behind and helping to build the country they are protecting. A country that is just a giant army is a fairly useless one. Someone has to build the weapons and houses they live in and cars they drive and satilites they use, etc etc. Oh and another thing, I would love for people like you to stop speaking for the eveyone, because most of the time you are not speaking for even close to everyone.

Posted by: jrpriest | June 22, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

This is no backbiting....is backstabbing, Republican style.

Posted by: analyst72 | June 22, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

McChrystal was involved in the cover up of Pat Tillman's death. IMHO, he should have been relieved of any leadership position after that incident.

Posted by: jvlem | June 22, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Roytek, ignoramus as any Republican, says if presidente Obama had done what the Texas Moron did "Once the decision to wage war had been made, his orders to Gen. McChrystal should have been: "Just tell me what you need."
The poor ignoramus doesn't know that Obama did NOT decide to make war, but it was a creation of the Texas Moron. The Idiot gave the military all they wanted, and.......NOTHING. We are still trying to cope with the screw-ups of the Moron.

Posted by: analyst72 | June 22, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

What fantasy world do you live in Ignatius? Have you ever read any history? No war has been without some level of disregard between top civilian and military leaders. McChrystal's comments are petty and if Obama had a thick skin like any Commander in Chief should have, he would disregard them and tell McChrystal to press on. But, 2LT Obama is still looking for some's xxx to kick so here is his chance. Too bad it is the guy he picked for the job. Whose judgement is faulty here?

Posted by: delusional1 | June 22, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

A general is not a demagouge and as soon as a general steps into a political role (MacArthur), they deserve to be shown the door, no matter who the president is.

Posted by: cjpotter19 | June 22, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Read a littkle history there CJ. MacArthur was insubordinate for many many years before Truman finally fired him. It is not as simple as you state. There are bigger objectives than having a robot General running your war and Truman knew that. Truman had a thick skin but unfortunately Obama is insecure around the military, an amateur among men.

Posted by: delusional1 | June 22, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

"The bottom line is Obama could have avoided this embarrasment by doing what he should have done and, yes, what the last president did. Once the decision to wage war had been made, his orders to Gen. McChrystal should have been: 'Just tell me what you need.' Then he should have made sure everyone on his team knew and understood the order."

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

The "bottom line" is that the President gave the general almost all of what he asked for last year, against the advice of more experienced folks who could be more objective (and the general did it in a very unclassy way; shoulda been canned then). And from the looks of the disaster in Marjah and the uncertainty now of the Kandahar offensive, those folks arguing against the general's strategy (like Biden) are starting to look like smart cookies.....

Oh, and we're in this dilemma because the "last president" starved the Afghan effort to focus on Iraq. Military leaders' resource requests from the Afghan theater were pretty much ignored from spring of 2002 on. Don't revise history to support your bias.

Posted by: tjconnor | June 22, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

If one would read the article of Rolling Stones one would see that the snide remarks of the general and his staff are unimportant.

The articles shows that the current strategy is a failure. When morale is so low regarding tactics and strategy that NCO's are complaining to high ranking commanders it is time to pack it up.

Last years Americans voiced their opinion about the general without reading the leaked strategy of the general which foretold many of the problems that are now being seen.

Today Americans are voicing their opinion about the general without reading the Rolling Stone article that indicates that the strategy of the general is a failure and will not work.

At this point it is apparent that Vice President Biden was correct and that the United States should have limited our involvement in Afghanistan to counter terrorism until the Afghan government was willing to act by recognizing that the Taliban was a threat to the Afghan government.

Posted by: bsallamack | June 22, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Roytex, the military isn't supposed to make those kinds of decisions. Read "13 Days" by Bobby Kennedy. What we need is civilian leadership who knows what they want and takes it. They can't be intimidated by the military or the task. Truman didn't let MacArthur push him around but at the same time he had a goal that he decided (containment) and went for it

Posted by: tjb38 | June 22, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

The military is a dictatorship in a democratic society. Any commissioned officer that doesn’t follow the chain of command should be court-martialed as stated in Article 88 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. This guy should be court-martialed or at minimum fired.

I can’t imagine keeping my job if I tarnished and bamboozled my managers. W-TF.

Posted by: JJames081 | June 22, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Ignatius, this is such a disappointing column. The president is going to have to crack the whip? This president is a joke. I'm sorry, but all this talk of "honoring" the office is now just talk, because Obama and his know-nothings have done nothing but DISHONOR this office since he took office. The American people are sick of it. No one seems to believe that a revolution could talk place here - even though they take place everywhere else in the world. When America's leaders stop listening to the people to put them in office, then what can you expect?

Posted by: georges2 | June 22, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

I think we should fire BoBo and BiteMe, not McChrystal. He's the only competent one of the three.

Posted by: MoonDoggie | June 22, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Ahghan for the Afghans.Bring the boys home.

Posted by: emcdonald6 | June 22, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

My understanding of the US policy in Afgan/Iraq is to withdraw in an orderly fashion beginning in 7/2011. No one knows what the current military mission, objective, or goals are in those conflicts. US troops are dying for absolutely no good reason at this point. Each troop who dies is wasted and thrown away. We need a faster time table and generals who support the policy to get out, not those who somehow want to make 'winning' the policy objective.

Posted by: tbrown17 | June 22, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

"If one would read the article of Rolling Stones one would see that the snide remarks of the general and his staff are unimportant."

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

I read the whole article and would respectfully disagree. While the main gist of the story is the fact that we're going down the same sorry path the Soviets, the British, and others before us have gone, it also demonstrates the toxic environment he's created on his team, and, by extension, in theater. It shows him as marginalizing other key players, and, by extension, encourages his team to do the same.

Posted by: tjconnor | June 22, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/17390/119236

Posted by: perryneheum | June 22, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

theduke89, what you seem to miss is that the strategy McChrystal is sniping about is his very own.

Posted by: TOMMYBASEBALL | June 22, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

There are 4 types of people;

1. Pro-War
2. Anti-War
3. Confused Ones (incl. the civilian population of the Enemy)
4. National Interests

In this situation, I see all of them failing. None of the pro-wars are winning as the time-table of the withdrawal has already been set out. None of the Anti-Wars are winning as war still rages on and on and on... Confused ones are still the ones whose mother, father, daughters, sons, sisters, brothers, uncles and aunts, everyone is either already dead or will be dead soon, thanks to those wars. And in the same confused ones the very people who are waging it. And then the National Interest which is completely opposite to what all this is about. Education, Jobs, Housing and Health are the biggest national issues in USA and nobody seems to give a damn about it.

Amir
Qurango.com

Posted by: aatayyab | June 22, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, he, like, needs to crack the whip, and, like, kick some a$$, and, like, get some 'street cred' and, as Homer Caphart says, call on his 'inna gangsta'. Yeah, that oughtta do it!

Posted by: chatard | June 22, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Ignatius, WaPost: "With many of the quotes picked up by reporter Michael Hastings, it’s a safe bet that those speaking never imagined their words would see print."

At least he isn't a Patton or a McClellan.

Posted by: arjay1 | June 22, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

There is no reason to be wasting America's blood, toils and tears on either of the civil wars in Iraq or Afghanistan.

None.

No al-Qaeda there.

They're in Saudi Arabia - source of most funding and volunteers worldwide for al-Qaeda and source of all Wahhabi extremist madrassas and religious fanaticism.

I recommend bringing all the troops home and nuking Saudi Arabia. Two nukes should do it.

Posted by: WillSeattle | June 22, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

In fairness, everyone thinks Biden sucks.

Posted by: nuke41 | June 22, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

The bottom line is Obama could have avoided this embarrasment by doing what he should have done and, yes, what the last president did. Once the decision to wage war had been made, his orders to Gen. McChrystal should have been: "Just tell me what you need." Then he should have made sure everyone on his team knew and understood the order.

That's how you do it, son.
________________________________________
Gosh "son" that's not what Bush did at all. He allowed Rumsfeld to invade Iraq with too few troops and the Bush administration continued to under-deploy soldiers and material until finally Bush began listening to General Petraeus.

So if you by "that's how you do it son" you mean ignore your commanders on the ground and listen to your political appointee's crazy ideas then, yeah, that's exactly what Bush did. President Obama on the other hand is listening not only to his political appointees (Bob Gates etc.) but also his commanders and making important decisions after actually thinking about the problems, options and potential outcomes. We do NOT need anymore of Bush's "that's how you do it son"...

Posted by: Observer001 | June 22, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Are we to believe that McChrystal's staff is so much of a cocoon that their general feelings were not known to Gates or the Chiefs of Staff? This smacks of the usual "Oh this is a surprise..."...when in fact people had to know of how the command in Afghanistan felt about the Washington hierarchy.

Posted by: mendonsa | June 22, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Shouldn't be hard to find the Taliban now - just listen for the sounds of uncontrollable laughter. "America at war" - what a joke. The sad part is that our kids are dying for this, and then they get to go to Arlington.

Posted by: mocmao | June 22, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

I never thought McChrystal was the best choice, Schwarzkopf did an imoeccable job in iraq and should be redrafted to head the afghanistan mission !

fanta

Posted by: fantazamaraz | June 22, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

I think he has to resign. It is clear he does not have faith in the Obama administration. You cannot work for an administration you do not respect.

Posted by: claire10 | June 22, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

"If you are going to take Vienna, take Vienna." --Napoleon

McChrystal's analysis is spot on about the incompetents in the Executive branch, including his CiC.

Having said that, he should resign or be fired, because in our republic, the military is subservient to the civil government and you don't criticize your CiC publicly. You do it through channels and if you disagree you either suck it up and say "Yes, Sir" or resign.

Posted by: perfesser33 | June 22, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

This is about a man who is given what he asks for and fails to get the job done. He then goes on to blame everyone else and but himself. He's a loser. So, lose him.

Posted by: MILLER123 | June 22, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse


Joe Biden is a drunken, addle-brained blowhard who deserves whatever criticism he gets, and then some.

Posted by: screwjob16 | June 22, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse

It's not a question of firing another
politically-oriented army general. Its a question of just what in the H--- are we doing in Afghanistan? It is the back of the backwaters of the world. It has chewed up England, India, Russia and now the USA and NATO. Get out now!!! Let Afghanistan's neigbors kill their best troops and waste millions there. Our own internal problems are more important.

That we have a narrow-minded general surrounded by the usual yes-men who believes that you can win there does not
justify the cost of the war.

Hank
Semper Fi

Posted by: marketeck | June 22, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

It's not a question of firing another
politically-oriented army general. Its a question of just what in the H--- are we doing in Afghanistan? It is the back of the backwaters of the world. It has chewed up England, India, Russia and now the USA and NATO. Get out now!!! Let Afghanistan's neigbors kill their best troops and waste millions there. Our own internal problems are more important.

That we have a narrow-minded general surrounded by the usual yes-men who believes that you can win there does not
justify the cost of the war.

Hank
Semper Fi

Posted by: marketeck | June 22, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Demote him before he can resign

Posted by: MILLER123 | June 22, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Respect begets respect... Sound familiar? Too bad I'm not on the General's staff, because I'd make sure that the Rolling Stones dude would go out on an ambush patrol, and the dude would wake up by himself in real Indian country. There'd be your real story about what it's like out there in Indian country. What a Piss-Ant! Who Dares, Wins!!!

Posted by: draw0502 | June 22, 2010 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Gee, Ignatius, I wonder what color your delicate ears would be if you heard what the enlisted men call General McChrystal. Heck, I bet you even have some choice names for your superiors. That said, the general should probably move along, now he's 'On The Cover Of The Rolling Stone'. Unfortunately, as usual, the big shots screw up and the soldiers must suffer.

Posted by: MikeMcLamara | June 22, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Poor General McChrystal! With his bosses General David Petraeus and Admiral Mike Mullen as well as Defense secretary Gates justifying Pakistan’s ‘terrorist connections’, Mullah Mohammed Omar’s QST trail from Quetta to Kandahar is operating unimpeded.

McChrystal himself had warned about Pakistan’s sheltering of Taliban terrorists in his August 2009 report to Obama: Quetta Shura Taliban (QST) based in Quetta, the provincial capital of Baluchistan, is the No. 1 threat to US/NATO mission in Afghanistan. At the operational level, the Quetta Shura conducts a formal campaign review each winter, after which Mullah Mohammed Omar (Afghan Taliban Chief) announces his guidance and intent for the coming year‘.

But US can not even use its drones to destroy QST that is causing daily deaths of US/NATO soldiers in Afghanistan since 2002! That shows Obama’s continuance of Bush’s mollycoddling of Pakistan.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates sought to justify Pakistan’s terrorist connections, alluding to a “deficit of trust” between Washington, DC and Islamabad. Mr Gates also said there was “some justification” for Pakistan's concerns about past American policies. Gen David Patraeus, rushed in with an apologia for his Pakistani friends, by claiming that while Faisal was inspired by militants in Pakistan, he did not necessarily have contacts with the militants. Both Adm Mike Mullen and Gen Patraeus fancy themselves to be “soldier statesmen” a la Gen Dwight Eisenhower. Adm Mullen has visited Pakistan 15 times and Gen Patraeus no less frequently. Both evidently have high opinions of their abilities to persuade Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani to crack down on the Haqqani network in North Waziristan and the Taliban’s Mullah Omar-led Quetta Shura.

All American officers in southern Afghanistan know that they cannot prevail in the ongoing military operations, unless Taliban strongholds across the Durand Line in North Waziristan and Baluchistan are neutralized. Adm Mullen and Gen Patraeus evidently do not want to acknowledge that hard options have to be considered if their soldiers are not to die at the hands of radicals, armed and trained across the Durand Line.

With McChrystal’s hands tied by his bosses and Pakistani ISI financing Afghan Taliban insurgency from US financial aid as narrated by Matt Waldman on 6/13/2010 in a report titled 'The sun in the sky' published by London School Of Economics, US military’s Kandahar operation and Afghan mission is headed for failure.

Posted by: martymartel3 | June 22, 2010 8:57 PM | Report abuse

"I have yet to hear ONE cogent argument for even being over there in Afghanistan."

Umm, that the government we deposed hosted and sponsored a group that attacked us on our own soil, killing thousands of innocent civilians, and if we leave they march right back in, and the group that attacked us vows to do it again.

Want a second reason? Because idiots like you think reason number one doesn't count, I won't bother.

Posted by: dyinglikeflies | June 22, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Take a star and reassign him to the Office of DNI. As for his resignation... remind him of stop loss.

Posted by: whocares666 | June 22, 2010 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Back in 2001, I thought the idea was to find Osama bin Ladin. Afghanistan is unwinnable. A noble gesture trying to get a country out of the 2nd century, but I see the names on THIS WEEK/ABC and the pictures of servicepeople on NEWSHOUR/PBS and wonder what might have been and where was I when these people were born. It will turn out to be a waste of lives and time.

Posted by: ljk76 | June 22, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Contempt towards officials is addressed in the Punitive articles, specifically Article 88 of the U.S. Uniform Code of Military Justice in the 2008 Manual for Courts-Martial of the United States as follows:

“ 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.

Posted by: MILLER123 | June 22, 2010 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Now we have Generals doing everything they can just to get fired.

Change you can believe in-!! Gotta love it.

Posted by: BadNews | June 22, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse

A great Commander-in-Chief gets on board with the battle strategy of his head General and makes sure everyone in the administration is on board, not the other way around.
----------------------
You've got it backwards, sir.

Posted by: fudador | June 22, 2010 9:36 PM | Report abuse

DOES OBAMA KNOW LESS ABOUT FIGHTING THE WAR OR BP OIL SPILL???WHY DOES HE THINK HE KNOWS SO MUCH?? MAYBE HIS EXPERIENCE IN OIL DRILLING AND WAR???

. WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO HIDE THE TRUTH FROM THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. WE SUPPORT THE GENERAL.BIDEN DOES NOT KNOW BEANS ABOUT THE WAR.


THE AMERICAN PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW THE TRUTH,INSTEAD OF THE USUAL POLITICAL CORRECTNESS THE GENERAL KNOWS HOW TO FIGHT A WAR,OBAMA KNOWS HOW TO BE A COMMUNITY ORGANIZER. WHEN MCCHRRYSTAL ASKED FOR 40,000 MORE TROOPS,OBAMA FIDDLED FARTED AROUND AND FINALLY GAVE HIM ONLY 30,000. IT TAKES A LONG WHILE TO ASSEMBLE THAT AMOUNT OF TROOPS. THE GENERAL KNOWS ABOUT WAR AND HAS BEEN IN THE THICK OF IT,WITH COMPETENT ADVISORS. THE CILIVIANS ADVISORS TO TO OBAMA DONT KNOW CRAP. THEY ARE POWER HUNGRY.

Posted by: chuck2251 | June 22, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

"Once the decision to wage war had been made, his orders to Gen. McChrystal should have been: "Just tell me what you need."

Huh, what? Bush gave the military what they need??? It was their policy, articulated by Rumsfeld, "You go to war with what you have, not what you want." This was after being asked by a servicemen why they had to scrounge for armor in dumps to protect their Humvees. The military did not get what they needed or wanted from Bush. They certainly didn't get it even after getting home. Remember Walter Reed Hosp? What a myth that the right knows how to treat the military....

Posted by: hchattaway1 | June 22, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse

The POTUS to McChrystal

Why should you not be charged as follows?

Contempt towards officials is addressed in the Punitive articles, specifically Article 88 of the U.S. Uniform Code of Military Justice in the 2008 Manual for Courts-Martial of the United States as follows:

“ 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.

COURT MARTIAL THE LOSER aND TAKE IT OUT OF THE PRESIDENT'S HAND

Posted by: MILLER123 | June 22, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

This is the last decent general Obama has more or less on his side.

He cans him, he's gotta' know the next guy up will not like him at all.

Posted by: muawiyah | June 22, 2010 10:01 PM | Report abuse

relieve the general, impeach the president for interferring in a federal election.

Posted by: 12thgenamerican | June 22, 2010 10:01 PM | Report abuse

relieve the general, impeach the president for interferring in a federal election.

Posted by: 12thgenamerican | June 22, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

MILLER123 ~ before court martial it might be a good idea for you to figure out exactly who said what to whom about which and why.

Else you are relying entirely on a single witness from Rolling Stone.

Frankly, their editorial staff can't be trusted to give the slightest care about America. They imagine that an armed take over by foreigners will leave them alone to blow dope and mess with trashy women.

We really do need to know more, and while we are at it we should be prepared to prosecute and punish the Rolling Stone writers for publishing information harmful to the upcoming action in Kandihar.

Posted by: muawiyah | June 22, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Many of these posts...don't seem to have a clue about The Military. General McChrystal should do the honorable thing and just resign. He is guilty of insubordination. We...as a people have allowed the 'Military Establishment' to become the dominant force that President Eisenhower-a good general, warned about.A good general should be able to wage war with the Army he has and win, we seem to be short of good generals.

Posted by: gladwynm | June 22, 2010 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the General did this on purpose because he wants out. After all, the little secret about Afghanistan is that it is a few hundred years behind Iraq culturally, and therefore, the things that worked in Iraq may well not work in Afghanistan. Better to be the general who was relieved of his command before the failure than be the one forever associated with it.

Posted by: rkerg1 | June 22, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Rather than debate McChrystal who we should all be able to agree crossed the line and showed poor judgment, we should be debating the poor judgment of doubling down in Afghanistan in the first place. What pray tell exactly is it that we think we are going to accomplish? This mission is as vague as anything Bush chased after in Iraq. If it's natural resources, our military and taxpayer funds shouldn't be used to secure them for private enterprise.

Posted by: SarahBB | June 22, 2010 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Who is worse?

Osama Bin Laden

or

ObamBi & BiteMe

???

Posted by: jdsolano | June 22, 2010 10:57 PM | Report abuse

I love the liberal rationale here. When a general speaks his mind against Obama it is insubordination. When a general spoke his mind against Bush it is considered justified. LOL, so typical of liberals. But let's face facts here, Obama is in over his head on this. He hasn't a clue how to manage a war, never mind his own aides. Managing Generals is not the same thing as organizing an ice cream social in chicago! LOL! Thanks Liberals, you really are putting this country on the right track!

Posted by: sanmateo1850 | June 22, 2010 11:14 PM | Report abuse

What a bunch of nonsense from folks who attack the President. Not because there is no reason to disagree with Obama -- but because a general in our country reports to the civilian authorities. If McChrystal and his staff can't go through channels and keep their mouths shut, they should be cashiered.

This absurd form of insubordination -- trotting your argument to the public -- showed up when the brass resisted Clinton's move to permit gays to serve openly in the military. Then Cheney, as a former SecDef, encouraged this nonsense to help his own machinations in the White House, and Bush failed to rein it in.

McChrystal, and most of his staff, went to West Point. The were taught not only the chain of command, but the primacy of civil authority. Guess they were asleep when the lessons were taught.

Posted by: thmas | June 22, 2010 11:28 PM | Report abuse

In keeping with Obama's plans for our Armed Forces, I suggest he show his leadership and defuse this whole episode by taking the dramatic tact of introducing an entire Army Division of gay soldiers into the conflict.

Have them arrayed in pink fatigues and upon arrival mince in cadence through the filthy unpaved streets of Kandahar singing 'YMCA'!

This will blow the minds of the Taliban and they will flee in total disarray. Score U.S. 1: Taliban 0. War Won!

Posted by: mosthind | June 22, 2010 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Get out of Afghanistan. Joe Biden's strategy was a lot more on target than McChrystal's (which Obama went along with). Fire McChrystal....he should have been fired after the Pat Tillman fiasco. This is a Viet Nam fiasco and nobody has the guts to admit it. Bush/Cheney blew it when they went to Iraq and left Afghanistan to twist in the wind. We are not winning and we won't win. Read the historians' analysis. These tribes have been battling for thousands of years.

Posted by: sharronkm | June 23, 2010 12:02 AM | Report abuse

Clearly McCrystal feels he is unable to work with the current administration and McCrystal should leave for the simple reason that a workable relationship does not exist.

On the other hand, there are clearly issues in the administration where Biden and others are, apparently, smarty pants who think it is humorous to communicate dissension and undermine the acting general through leaks to the press and other in-appropriate channels. Dissension that only seeks to aid and abet the enemy and irritate the acting general.

Obama should really think twice about tolerating leaks that create an atmosphere of ambiguity, second guessing and uncertainty that distract from a military effort.

Ambiguity is fine on a college campus - learning and ambiguity go hand in hand - but ambiguity is trouble when it gets into decisions and relationships.

Posted by: Clyde4 | June 23, 2010 12:42 AM | Report abuse

One thing is for sure. This whole broohaha, begun by McChrystal and his Staff, opens to the public evidence the military does not respect or admire Obama.

When in comes to being Commander-in-Chief, Obama probably is as incompetent to perform this job as any president has ever been. He lacks even a hint of understanding things military, and probably has a very overt dislike of those who serve. And the soldiers, sailors and Marines who go into battle know he is incompetent, and have no respect or admiration of him as their leader. He probably could not lead a military marching contigent without his teleprompter and a seat in a car at the head of the parade.

So what is about to happen between Obama and the General is going to be a reflection of Obama's total and complete lack of leadership and competence in dealing with war!

I suspect the voters of America are getting the idea that Obama is a moron of the first magnitude. Do you think Hillary is having second thoughts about that house on Pennsylvania Ave? She surely could not do a worse job than the current Clown-in-Chief is doing!

Posted by: HMichaelH | June 23, 2010 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Let's carefully analyze this people.

Gen. McChrystal is quoted only a few times and nothing that he was quoted on was that bad. Most of the damning quotes are attributed to "aides" of the General.

Very vague and, to be honest, I don't like reporting like this. Show me where the General said something about Biden. Show me where he said something about Holbrooke. We know about Eikenberry because that happened awhile ago and is nothing but a re-hash.

Nope. Hatchet job, pure and simple. Now, his "aides" on the other hand, should pay the price. Do we really want to do guilt-by-association here? If so, you're going to have to apply that same standard to many, including the current President and past President's.

The General should come to the meeting and state, point-by-point that he doesn't agree with the quotes attributed to him by unnamed sources.

Then move on.

Posted by: stinkyliberals | June 23, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

"The war is unwinnable and always has been."

Yeah, yeah, yeah ... This is the same whining, defeatist crap that we heard over & over from the left about Iraq in 2007. They were dead wrong then, and if we had a president who was willing to do what needs to be done in Afghanistan, they'd be proven wrong again. Unfortuately, we don't.

Posted by: danram | June 23, 2010 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Now THAT'S too funny. The post flags the "N" Word, but it's quite OK for someone to call white people "rednecks".

How PC and anti-white can you get WaPo? I bet this company sanctions anti-christian messages but would defend to the death Islam's prophet not being portrayed.

Plainly, a hypocritical organization. I hope WaPo's fortunes dry up and this rag expires.

Posted by: stinkyliberals | June 23, 2010 8:24 AM | Report abuse

obama has no Afghanistan policy beyond avoiding political repercussions. Like everything obama has touched, it is chaos.

Frankly, obama's political future is not worth a single US Military person.

The United States should withdraw from Afghanistan NOW.

Posted by: wilsan | June 23, 2010 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Fire the General, and then let him testify openly before Congress.....

Ignatius is in a tizzy...an issue with no Jews to bash........

That truth spoken, on to the next:

"Obama" is a word which means different things in different countries

1) "Obama" in kenya means "failure"

2) "Obama" in indonesian is something which smells bad and sticks to your shoe if you step in a pile of it

3) "Obama" in America means "affirmative action presidential election winner"

4) "Obama" in November's election means "doom" to the democrats

Posted by: georgedixon | June 23, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Re: "it’s a safe bet that those speaking never imagined their words would see print."

If McChrystal, et al "never imagined" that everything they said would end up in the pages of Rolling Stone, maybe they should be fired for that reason alone.

Posted by: amym2 | June 23, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

"The country is at war."
No Mr. Ignatius the country is not at war. The war was initiated by a president who is accused by many respectful organizations of war crimes. Unfortunately the president who came for change could not change the course of killings and made this war his war. Many young people have to die to avoid "losing face". Obama if you have the courage and human thinking stop the killings and go out of Afghanistan and stop being a hostage of the warmongers

Posted by: mansour112 | June 23, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

It just may be possible that McChrystal doesn't have a clue how to execute Obama's plan. He may not have the right set of skills to win a "finesse" war. Dropping bombs is easy. Making friends is much more difficult. It seems some progress has been made, and kudos to the general for that. But this just might not be the best war for THIS general to lead.

Posted by: KJR1 | June 23, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

"That's how you do it, son." Posted by Roytex.
"That's what leadership is all about, Charlie Brown." Posted by bbface21

These are the most inane of a pretty inane bunch of comments.

Posted by: ChrisC8 | June 23, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

"That's how you do it, son." Posted by Roytex.
"That's what leadership is all about, Charlie Brown." Posted by bbface21

These are the most inane of a pretty inane bunch of comments.

Posted by: ChrisC8 | June 23, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Fire the General and his staff and, as for Afghanistan, get the troops back home and, like we are doing in Pakistan, let the drones do their work.

Posted by: rkerg1 | June 23, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Makes you wonder who authorized that embed in the first place, doesn't it?

Posted by: creeper92 | June 23, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Mc Chrystal should have had his resignation on Obama's desk immediately after his RS interview. He forgot the most important aspect of his present job: that he serves AT THE PLEASURE of President Barack Obama. Any 4-5* General after Patton should be acutely aware of the consequences of making negative public remarks regarding national policy in general or the sitting administration: most particularly the POTUS.
There is no other honorable course of action for this decorated public servant that to honestly, and quietly, hand-deliver to President Obama his formal resignation. He may then, at his choice (and at the pleasure of the President), serve out the rest of his career in obscurity or else retire now and begin enjoying civilian life once more.
Best wishes to the general, but there is no longer any place for him at his current level of service.

Posted by: KJR1 | June 23, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

"The war is unwinnable and always has been."

Yeah, yeah, yeah ... This is the same whining, defeatist crap that we heard over & over from the left about Iraq in 2007. They were dead wrong then, and if we had a president who was willing to do what needs to be done in Afghanistan, they'd be proven wrong again. Unfortuately, we don't.

Posted by: danram
________________________
am I in an alternate universe, or am I just dreaming that McChrystal is executing the strategy HE sold Obama, with the extra men HE asked for and Obama gave him, and doing all of the above using HIS own strategies? If something else needs to be done other than give McChrystal what he wants and let him do it his way, then what, pray tell, is it, and if no one has suggested it to Obama, what does "willing" have to do with it? Obama was willing to do exactly what McChrystal wanted and gave him all the resources he requested. Criticise Obama for lots of things, but "unwilling to do what needs to be done" isn't one of them. Take your "democrats are soft on defense" stereotype/canard somewhere else. The best argument against Obama is that he didn't have the political courage to just declare that because he sees no obtainable worthwhile mission in Afghanistan, we should end Bush's war altogether and come home.

Posted by: JoeT1 | June 23, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: jhadv "The generals and the AVF (All Volunteer Force) have turned the military ethos into a team sport."

Why let the General's comment lead you to such a stupid general statement Jhadv, are you a vet? Boys being boys has always been a part of the military culture but the majority of service members know/knew how not to publicly embarrass our branch of service.

Posted by: snake_taylor | June 23, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: jhadv "The generals and the AVF (All Volunteer Force) have turned the military ethos into a team sport."

Why let the General's comment lead you to such a stupid general statement Jhadv, are you a vet? Boys being boys has always been a part of the military culture but the majority of service members know/knew how not to publicly embarrass our branch of service.

Posted by: snake_taylor | June 23, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

None of McChrysal's statements have been accidental; he has waged open warfare against the President and his team for a year.

McChrystal is guilty of insubodination at the least. He and his staff must go and Obama must also rein in others in the military of national security team who seem to care more about their egos and career path than in serving the nation's interest.

Mr. Ignatius makes a statement that the President should make it clear to all that we are at war. Guess I missed something along the way but I thought we had been at war for almost eight years in that Godforsaken place. I will bet those who have fought and died there knew it was war all along.

Posted by: bobfbell | June 23, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

@jERZY: You called Obama a clown, really? Who was the clown that went to war during his Admin, ignored it and went to fight his own persoanl war? oh Yeah, Bush. If Former Clown Bush had applied the full force of American might, as he did in Iraq, We as a nation would of been better off. But instead Bush divided our forces, weaken our military with 2 wars he couldn't finish and cost tax payers close to a trillion dollars..And Obama is the clown? No our current president is still picking up after Bush

Posted by: Realistic5 | June 23, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

@jERZY: You called Obama a clown, really? Who was the clown that went to war during his Admin, ignored it and went to fight his own personal war? oh Yeah, Bush. If Former Clown Bush had applied the full force of American might, as he did in Iraq, We as a nation would of been better off. But instead Bush divided our forces, weaken our military with 2 wars he couldn't finish and cost tax payers close to a trillion dollars..And Obama is the clown? No our current president is still picking up after Bush

Posted by: Realistic5 | June 23, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Biden doesn't believe in the war. Fire Biden first.

Posted by: princeps2 | June 23, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

LBJ and his VP ran the Vietnam war with great results. Now Obama and Biden will be running this conflict. Americans, you can now expect great results.

Posted by: jim_innc | June 23, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

We need to finally end the BUSH WARS and get oout of Afghansitan and Iraq and stay home where we belong. How man TRILLIONS of dollars have been wasted on the BUSH WARS?

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

Realistic5 ~ your boy, FDR, faced a similar problem with WWII. Although the first attack came from Japan FDR turned to fighting Europe first, but he did that by invading North Africa.

Your sort of rationale would have had FDR sending our half dozen remaining aircraft carriers all the way to Japan to drop bombs on Tokyo.

No doubt we would have lost that one!

The whole point of our involvement in Afghanistan was to destabilize the situation enough that no organization like AlQaida could use it as a safe redoubt, or training camp for future action against the United States.

With the smell of the burning Pentagon still in my nostrils, let me tell you that approach made quite a bit of sense.

It still does.

You people peddling this "Get out of Afghanistan" nonsense must certainly work for AlQaida.

So what is it that was so great about Afghanistan? The weather? The cherries? The women (who you have to marry first to get near 'em)?

Or, maybe you like the dope!

Think I hit that one on the head Fur Shur.

Posted by: muawiyah | June 23, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Allow me to make this plain for all of you naysayers:

UCMJ Article 88 prohibits what the general and his people did and he should be grateful he is only being relieved.

As for the incompetentence of the president, I have the same feeling for this as I do when I sit with a bunch of guys watching footbal and they whine about a play on the field and how they could do better and I tell them, "If you were good enough to be there, you would be there."

(By the way; if you don't like the way the war is going, why don't you join and support the effort. We'd love to have all of you here playing the game rather than watching it from the sidelines, you whining, whinnying, nattering, nonsensical ninnies....)

Posted by: Marrone | June 23, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps President Obama might take a phrase used by Abraham Lincoln in dealing with another incompetent and arrogant general named McClellan, and ask General McChrystal if he could borrow his army for awhile as the General seems to be making little use of it

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

And that worked so well that Lincoln had to give McClellan his job back after the disasterous command of Pope.

Posted by: BradG | June 23, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Mc Chrystal had to resign - but he should have done it a long time ago in protest to his CIC's poor performance.
Obama does not like the war and he doesn't know how to lead in war. He just keeps looking for POLITICAL ways to get out of Afghanastan!!!

Posted by: thornegp2626 | June 23, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

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