After a meeting with President Obama this morning, General Stanley McChrystal resigned his position as top commander in Afghanistan. Reuters’ breaking news states President Obama has accepted the resignation.
A Rolling Stone Magazine interview started McChrystal’s problems for his derogatory statements about the current administration’s handling of the war in Afghanistan. The magazine isn’t even in print yet. It won’t hit news stands until Friday, June 25. It’s the six-page online version that caught the White House’s attention.
However, readers must thoroughly scour the article, titled “The Runaway General,” to find McChrystal’s uncomplimentary remarks. The piece actually centers on a lot of other information about the General himself that could have single-handedly destroyed his much-accomplished reputation after 32 years of decorated service (see McChrystal’s career statistics at his NATO/ISAF Bio).
Laced in spots with the “f” word, the Rolling Stone article doesn’t sing McChrystal’s praises. There are various statements from sources calling him everything from an underachiever to a mouthpiece for Donald Rumsfeld and President Bush during his duties in that era; speculating that he advised Bush to hide the deaths of other officers; and even that he’s been an absentee husband, ignoring the fact that he’s in charge of a war.
Because Rolling Stone built its reputation on being the magazine of rockers and rebels, McChrystal may have felt exceptionally free to comment on the President’s war directives-maybe more than he would for other magazines. But we could also ask…
Were McChrystal’s remarks a calculated risk against his own career in order to voice his opinion?
In his resignation statement, General McChrystal says he resigned for the good of the mission, and still supported President Obama’s strategy. But what if, with his Rolling Stone comments, he was trying, in his own way, to bring just certain things to the public’s attention?
Here in Tampa Bay, we live near a “ground zero” – MacDill Air Force Base. MacDill AFB is instrumental in supporting U.S. Central Command, U.S. Special Operations Command, and various other military missions operating out of the site. It’s long been supposed that MacDill will be a favorite target in a nuclar war strike.
It’s hard to face the fact that our Armed Forces personnel might be silenced for trying to bring forth information about misguided administrative directives that put the people of Tampa Bay at risk. It gets us thinking: Where will the administration put more effort – into punishing the outspoken officer in order to save face, or rectifying the life-threatening situation?
We’ve already seen, in the Fort Hood massacre case, that officers had been afraid to come forward with suspicions of an individual’s terrorist activity for fear of being reprimanded on such a politically incorrect subject.
Any president reserves the right to fire people who don’t abide by their orders, or vocally refuse to adhere to the administration’s policies. There’s no evidence yet revealing that McChrystal wasn’t carrying out the commands he was given. It’s assumed that, if he didn’t resign, he would have been fired for simply making the mistake of exercising his free speech in these days when, it is risky to do so…or was it on purpose?
Sources (no direct quotes):
-“The Runaway General,” Michael Hastings, The Rolling Stone, Online 6/22/10, coming in print 6/25/10.
-“McChrystal says he resigned for good of mission,” AP carried at Yahoo, 6/23/10.
-“Obama dismisses top US general,” Reuters, 6/23/10.
-McChrystal bio: NATO/ISAF (International Security Assistance Force).
-MacDill Air Force Base website.
-“McChrystal leaves White House after crunch meeting,” Stephen Collinson, for AFP carried at Yahoo, 6/23/10.