Wednesday, June 23, 2010

McChrystal Relieved Of Command By Obama - Petraeus To Take Command

Just as I suspected - an act of ego, not pragmatism.  McChrystal has been relieved, to be replaced by Gen. David Petraeus.  Gen. Petraeus is a good officer assuming a bad situation.

Here’s the thing: A military leader still answers to his civilian leadership. This is one of the checks and balances which protects our way of life and prevents us from becoming another junta-controlled banana republic. Our military – as designed- does not work effectively when criticism and back-biting is done in public.

Yes, even when the criticism is justified.  It's how military chain-of-command MUST work.  McChrystal is a smart guy, he knows this.  Why he failed to do so I cannot say - but he's made a bad situation worse.
Many in the Blogosphere are drawing parallels between Obama/McChrystal and Truman/MacArthur. And while IMHO neither of todays players can but stand in the shadows of their predecessors there is commonality in the cases – failure of civilian leadership to hear the plight and needs of those who have boots on the ground which triggers public rebuke by the military leadership.
By all accounts (I never met McChrystal) he is a proud – perhaps arrogant – man who carries substantial disdain for those in “suits” along with rabid respect for his troops. Fair enough, but in my career I also worked beside other proud leaders with similar traits – and famous last names such as Abrams, Patton, White, Westmoreland and Powell – who had similar concerns about civilian leadership but (mostly) checked their public voice at the door. Because it’s what the job demands.
And let’s not forget McChrystal has his share of valid criticism to bear. His restrictive engagement policies have led to demonstrable increases death and injury – specifically for Infantry and Marine “first contact” teams. This for the sake of soothing the political beast. One would have thought Korea and Vietnam taught us better but alas, I fear not.
IMHO, McChrystals greatest tactical blunder is speaking his mind for a dumb-ass liberal wonk rag like Rolling Stone which would never give account for “this is how military guys speak privately” and filter accordingly.  Today’s MSM in general looks for the dirty laundry – the killer sound byte – instead of the depth of the story. Being a reasonable good tactician. McChrystal should have know he exposed himself and his team to a PR flanking maneuver. Even if he is correct (which by all accounts he is) the snarks should have remained behind closed doors and in privileged company. And in the end, such open disrespect weakens morale and military discipline; it cannot be allowed.  Showing public disdain for the chain-of-command would get a private or sergeant UCMJ punishment.  Like crooked politicians, Generals cannot be “above the law”.
Obama’s best move would have been to censure McChrystal and put him back to work. However,  Obama acted on ego (his MO), McChrystal is gone.  Watch the Afghan government relationship with the US fall further into disrepair (McChrystal was about all holding that alliance together - Petraeus does not have that high regard in Afghanistan) and troop morale bottom out for the remainder of the year while new leadership is found and installed. Troop deaths and injuries will rise. The mission will flounder rudderless until Petraeus can get hold of things.
Obama will blame it on McChrystal – and of course, Bush.  Ultimately, I hope another commonality between Truman/MacArthur and Obama/McChrystal comes to pass.  As their flap helped end Truman's presidency, I hope this incident seals the fate of Obama's.  At this point, I'll accept any contributing factor to show the "Colon-In-Chief" the door OUT.


  1. Totally linked! And thanks for swinging by to offer your input. All in all you present a reasonable stance on McChrystal's situation with Obama. Ultimately he did it to himself for reasons noble or otherwise.

  2. Perhaps I just need to keep this in perspective. The Right Guy commented after a Smitty post:

    "McCrystal voted for Obama…He admitted as much. Screw him. He should have known better."

  3. Yeah, well so did a large chunk of America, who wish they could have that vote back....


  4. It's nearly inconceivable that McChrystal could have walked into Rolling Stone's trap unawares, I think the end result is that he sacrificed his career in order to bring the Obama Administration's disarray into the sunshine. Atonement for supporting Obama?

  5. HI Lipton:
    Great post. I think the General knew what he was doing, like Lilac said,
    he wanted to expose how clueless obummer & his clown posse is.

  6. Lilac, I WISH I believed what you wrote is true. I think he was just a fighter who happened to be elevated to General, and he didn't think (naively) that the Rolling Stones writer would so screw him.