Tuesday, June 22, 2010

CRASH: McChrystal--I'll Just Say This and Then I'll Be Quiet

Gen. Stanley McChrystal committed an unpardonable sin.  For whatever reasons, he gave a wildly inappropriate and unprecedented interview.  It is simply not done for a serving commander in a theater of war to openly criticize the civilian command structure.

That never means they have to suck their teeth and keep mum.  When they speak, like the rest of us, it costs something.  Partly because of who they are, and the immensity of the damage they can do to a war-fighting effort, they are constrained in ways none of the rest of us are.  When they speak out, the price is very high.  Traditionally...and it is a very good tradition...they were compelled to resign their command if the extremity was great enough.  If not, they held their remarks to a later time, and wrote critically in their memoirs. 

Another note; nobody...especially now...makes it to general officer rank (flag rank) who is not a politician.  They just are, and a lot of them have studied politics very closely.  Along with organizational behavior, public relations, psychology, etc.  They are smart, highly trained and educated people.  Some of them have been trained into being PC wonks more than war-fighters, and that will cost us in the future.  Some say that McChrystal was one.

I dunno.  I have never delved into the McChrystal psyche.  I am, I suppose, as aware as your average American of who he is, what he's done, and what his relationship with Obama has been.

Do I blame him for thinking very little of his Commander In Chief?  Hardly.  He would have to be stupid not to deplore Obama, and I think it apparent from the Rolling Stone piece that he does deplore the President.  Is Afghanistan in danger of being "lost"?  Absolutely; any time you have American servicemen under fire in hostile places, you can lose.

But McChrystal made his opinions apparent, along with his aides.  He was candid, and candor is not permitted by a man in his position respecting his civilian leaders during his time in command.  Worse, 
the culture of his command was insubordinate.  There are indications that this has ramified down to his men in the field, who are ignoring his orders.

If he felt as he apparently did, his duty was to resign his command and go public.  His duty was to create and maintain a culture of respect for the civilian chain of command...despite who resides at the top of that chain. 

If he could not respect them...and I can certainly relate...he was honor-bound to bring his well-founded contempt to the American people AFTER stepping down.  We need to hear from this man, but now we need to hear from him outside his role as war-fighter.


  1. Regardless of how well I do my job, if I speak out against my boss in a manner that will publicly embarrass him, I have the reasonable expectation of no longer having that job.

    Of course, I can't understand how any military person could have voted for Obama in the first place and McChrystal openly admits to having done so. Perhaps he can be Wesley Clark's running mate.

  2. Disappointing, no? They guy does have a reputation as a killer, which is great...we kinda need those...while at the same time, I hear he's being ignored by some of this troops because his ROE are soooo weird. I worry about what this portends for our military future...all the PC crap that the culture has absorbed.