Top U.S. commander in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal has sparked severe controversy
in Washington for a Rolling Stone profile in which McChrystal and his
staff denigrate top White House officials, including Vice President Joe
Biden, as well as the general's diplomatic partners, Ambassador to
Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry and Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke. Several
pundits, citing McChrystal's poor behavior and criticizing his handling
of the war in general, are now arguing that President Obama should
remove McChrystal from his command. Here's what they're saying.
Respecting Chain of Command The Atlantic's James Fallows insists, "It
is not about Afghanistan policy -- although, of course it's about that too,
with McChrystal as the face and mind of the strategy Obama bought
into at the end of last year. It's about civilian control of the
military, respect for the chain of command, and the concepts of
disrespect and insubordination." Fallows says it's crucial "for the
civilian Commander in Chief to act in accordance with Article II,
Section 2 of the Constitution and demonstrate that there are
consequences for showing open disrespect for the chain of command."
Confidence of White House The Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart writes,
"When McChrystal enters tomorrow's meeting (if he hangs on that long),
he should have his resignation in hand. And the president should accept
it. Some might argue that Obama shouldn't do so because there's a war
on. But with this journalistic IED, McChrystal has stripped himself of
the confidence Obama needs to have in him to trust that the Afghanistan
war policy is being carried out faithfully."
- 'He Broke The
Law' Central Asia expert Joshua Foust writes, "Basically, either
Obama or McChrystal are going down over this. It should be McChrystal -
he broke the law. Obama needs to fire him. The issue is a uniformed general mocking the vice
president. That is a direct violation of Article 88 of the UCMJ.
He should not be allowed to continue to serve
after that lapse of judgment/insubordination. Kandahar or no, if McChrystal gets to keep his job
after publicly mocking the VP, he has shown he is untouchable."
Bad Judgment' National security writer Michael Cohen lists four
reasons Obama "HAS to fire" McChrystal: "Insubordination," "Unfathomable
stupidity," "arrogance," and "McChrystal's COIN Blinders." He adds,
"in the end, this isn't really a close call, McChrystal screwed up big
time. He disparaged the civilian leadership; he showed stunningly bad
judgment and his slavish adherence to a failing COIN strategy - and the
dubious assumptions underpinning it - demonstrates a lack of
adaptability that should be deeply concerning. The third one isn't
necessarily a fireable offense (although apparently it's why General
McKiernan was relieved), but the first one most certainly is."
Other Choice Time's Joe Klein sighs, "I suppose he
will have to be sacked now. He is not irreplaceable. There are more than
a few fine generals in the Army, including Lt. General David Rodriguez,
a McChrystal deputy with vast experience in Afghanistan. But it is a
terrible setback, a diversion from the business hand at a crucial moment
in the conflict. And it is a real tragedy, because Stanley McChrystal
is precisely the sort of man who should be leading American troops in
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