Add to the list of erstwhile Obama supporters who have become disenchanted with the President a surprising figure. He is General Stanley McChrystal, the American commander of the War in Afghanistan.
General McChrystal, who apparently voted for President Obama, has expressed his extreme discontent about the Commander in Chief and his people in an upcoming article in Rolling Stone. McChrystal and his staff regard Barack Obama and those who serve directly under him with barely disguised contempt that borders on insubordination.
Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey quotes from an advance copy of the Rolling Stone article.
“Even though he had voted for Obama, McChrystal and his new commander in chief failed from the outset to connect. The general first encountered Obama a week after he took office, when the president met with a dozen senior military officials in a room at the Pentagon known as the Tank. According to sources familiar with the meeting, McChrystal thought Obama looked ‘uncomfortable and intimidated’ by the roomful of military brass. Their first one-on-one meeting took place in the Oval Office four months later, after McChrystal got the Afghanistan job, and it didn’t go much better. ‘It was a 10-minute photo op,’ says an adviser to McChrystal. ‘Obama clearly didn’t know anything about him, who he was. Here’s the guy who’s going to run his f—— war, but he didn’t seem very engaged. The Boss was pretty disappointed.'”
Other administration officials, including Vice President Biden, as well as many of the President’s national security advisors, get similar treatment in the article. Oddly, only Secretary of State Hillary Clinton comes in for some respect from McChrystal.
McChrystal has since apologized for his indiscretions in the pages of Rolling Stone and has been summoned to the White House for a Presidential dressing down. In fact, President Obama would be well within his rights to fire General McChrystal. Douglas MacArthur, a General with a far greater record than General McChrystal could ever hope to achieve, was given the royal order of the boot by President Harry Truman for similar indiscreet, insubordinate behavior in the media.
There are a couple of problems, though.
First, the War in Afghanistan is reaching a critical juncture, with the next phase of the surge about to take place in and around Kandahar. Replacing the commander in the middle of a campaign could prove to be disruptive, particularly to the hope by President Obama to have troops out of Afghanistan by July of next year.
Second, there is the political fact that the majority of the American people likely agree with General McChrystal’s views, if not with the manner of his expressing them. Truman suffered politically for sacking MacArthur. Obama does not need any more grief than he already has by getting rid of a general in the middle of a war for saying what is on the mind of many people. And, if ,subsequently, Afghanistan goes bad, Obama will get the blame.
Likely, McChrystal will get his chewing out in the Oval Office. Then, the President and the General will emerge and pronounce themselves now back on the same page. McChrystal will go back to running the war in Afghanistan.
But, as the cliché goes, the cat is out of the bag. One cannot unsay that the commanding general in Afghanistan is contemptuous of the Commander in Chief. That knowledge will color the rest of the war in Afghanistan.
The Rolling Stone article: As bad as advertised, Ed Morrissey, Hot Air, June 22nd, 2010