In an engaging article in Rolling Stone Magazine article entitled “The Runaway General,” (available on-line today, June 22, 2010), U.S. General Stanley McChrystal, his Staff, and Rolling Stone itself to some degree, portray U.S. President Barack Obama as seriously misguided in the war in Afghanistan; it seems inevitable that General McChrystal will lose his job tomorrow.
To understand the level of impropriety of General McChrystal’s remarks, you really need to read the article. It appears that McChrystal and his staff believe that (1) President Obama and his staff are seriously misguided, strategically, (2) President Obama and his staff have misrepresented the state of affairs in Afghanistan, (3) Hillary Clinton is more capable at military matters than Obama is, and (4) McChrystal himself is the only chance of improving the situation.
For decades, Hollywood has provided fictional examples of high-ranking military figures who are power-made egomaniacs; it looks like in General McChrstyal’s case they might have actually found a real-life specimen. It is stunning that McChrystal, who is in charge of the entire Afghanistan War for the U.S., would criticize his Commander-in-Chief, even implicitly, in conversations with the media. President Barack Obama is, undoubtedly, furious. While I doubt he will try McChrystal for treason, I fully expect him to relieve the General of his post.
Even if McChrystal had not criticized the President, his vulgar language and implicit criticism of our allies would be sufficient grounds for President Obama to dismiss him. Maybe Rolling Stone has taken some liberties – I don’t know – but to the extent that their article is accurate, General McChrystal is the embodiment of the worst possible stereotypes about military officials.
After reading the Rolling Stone piece, I have to wonder whether General McChrystal is a loose cannon in Afghanistan, causing more harm than good. The article itself implies that he has alienated America’s allies in the war, and it’s not too hard to see why. His quotes imply disdain for them and their policies – not exactly a recipe for mending bridges internationally, as Obama is actively seeking to do.
As a piece of journalism, the Rolling Stone article (if accurate), is amazing; kudos to the journalist who ingratiated himself to General McChrystal enough to extract the general’s true feelings about President Barack Obama. But it is difficult to believe that anyone in McChrystal’s position could have poor enough judgments to make the statements that he made, and yet be expected to manage a war.
“Afghanistan. “The Runaway General | Rolling Stone Politics.” Rolling Stone | Music News, Reviews, Photos, Videos, Interviews and More. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 June 2010. .