I extend my sincerest apology for this profile. It was a mistake reflecting poor judgment and should never have happened. Throughout my career, I have lived by the principles of personal honor and professional integrity. What is reflected in this article falls far short of that standard. I have enormous respect and admiration for President Obama and his national security team, and for the civilian leaders and troops fighting this war and I remain committed to ensuring its successful outcome.”
-General Stanley McChrystal, 6/22/2010
The interview of General McChrystal and his in Rolling Stone was not an accident, it’s a perfect example of suicide by interview. The General knew that every criticism would be “on the record.” He also knew that the President will have no choice but to relieve the General of his command after their meeting tomorrow. The Military Code of Justice a General does not criticize the Commander-in-Chief publicly however, the General criticized Obama in a huge way and even picked the perfect vehicle to do it in the most visible of ways.
McChrystal’s statements clearly point to the fact that he believes the war cannot be won under the President’s parameters, a tepid escalation to protect the president from his political supports. McChrystal is clearly frustrated by Barack Obama and his administration and finds it necessary to protect his men. He finds himself having to take radical steps to protect his troops in the face of an administration trying to fight a war on a half-assed basis.
According to Fox, Some of the highlights of the up-coming article include:
- Although McChrystal voted for Obama, the two failed to connect from the start. Obama called McChrystal on the carpet last fall for speaking too bluntly about his desire for more troops. The President did not want to hear his advice. “I found that time painful,” McChrystal said in the article, on newsstands Friday. “I was selling an unsellable position.”
- It quoted an adviser to McChrystal dismissing the early meeting with Obama as a “10-minute photo op.Obama clearly didn’t know anything about him, who he was. The boss was pretty disappointed,” the adviser told the magazine.
- The military is clearly unhappy about Obama’s arbitrary deadline of July of next year. The White House’s troop commitment was toed a pledge to begin bringing them home in July 2011. Counterinsurgency strategists advising McChrystal regarded as an arbitrary deadline.
- The article list of administration figures said to back McChrystal, including Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and puts the SCHMOTUS (Schmo of the United States), Vice President Joe Biden at the top of a list of those who don’t. The article says McChrystal has seized control of the war “by never taking his eye off the real enemy: The wimps in the White House.”
- Asked by the Rolling Stone reporter about what he now feels of the war strategy advocated by the SHMOTUS last fall (fewer troops, more drone attacks), McChrystal and his aides attempted to come up with a good one-liner to dismiss the question. “Are you asking about Vice President Biden?” McChrystal joked. “Who’s that?” “Biden?” one aide was quoted as saying. “Did you say: Bite me?”
- Another aide called White House National Security Adviser Jim Jones, a retired four star general, a “clown” who was “stuck in 1985.
- Some of the strongest criticism, however, was reserved for Richard Holbrooke, Obama’s special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan. “The boss says he’s like a wounded animal,” one of the general’s aides was quoted as saying. “Holbrooke keeps hearing rumors that he’s going to get fired, so that makes him dangerous.”
- If Eikenberry had doubts about the troop buildup, McChrystal said he never expressed them until a leaked internal document threw a wild card into the debate over whether to add more troops last November. In the document, Eikenberry said Afghan President Hamid Karzai was not a reliable partner for the counterinsurgency strategy McChrystal was hired to execute. McChrystal said he felt “betrayed” and accused the ambassador of giving himself cover. Here’s one that covers his flank for the history books,” McChrystal told the magazine. “Now, if we fail, they can say ‘I told you so.”
McChrystal is a Three-Star General, a position you do not achieve by being an idiot. Today’s military leadership is well schooled not only in war-making but in diplomacy. He knew what the content of the article would be. He also knew that the article would lead his own dismissal (or the proverbial resignation letter where he says he’s quitting to spend more time with his family).
The Rolling Stone interview highlights the difference in the leadership styles of the President and the General. When this President faces a crisis, he looks for someone either internally or externally to blame. On the other hand, the General sees the War in Afghanistan reaching a crisis point because of the way it is being waged, rather than looking to find a scapegoat in his ranks as Obama would do, McChrystal found a way to let the country know what is really happening, while at the same time redirect any criticism for the war effort, away from his men and on to his own wide shoulders.
Notice that even in his apology above,the General does not take back the comments, he simply apologizes for making the comments. The Military commander was sending his troops and the administration a message. To the troops he was saying ” I have your backs even to the point of hurting my own career.” The message for the administration was, “Your way isn’t working, let us do what is necessary to win this war. Even though this was a violation of the Code of Honor, the General’s statements were a service to America and to his men by confirming what we all suspected, the President and his administration does not have a clue.