Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Today on Obama Wheel of Fortune: General Stanley McChrystal May Have Resigned, says Time's Joe Klein

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Welcome back to Obama Wheel of Fortune! Here is where we spin to see whether Lady Luck is smiling on President Barack Obama, the first African-American President of the United States of America, or frowning sourly. So far the week doesn't look good for our cool Commander in Chief.

Sources such as the Huffington Post report he blew his stack. He was "furious" when he learned that Gen. Stanley McChrystal described him as unprepared for the Oval Office when they first met and that Obama looked intimidated by all the military men in that first briefing. McChyrstal and his staff gave Rolling Stone an open-access interview for the story entitled "The Runaway General" by Michael Hastings.

The magazine will deliver the issue to stands June 25 and sums up the McChrystal interview this way.
Stanley McChrystal, Obama's top commander in Afghanistan, has seized control of the war by never taking his eye off the real enemy: Those whimps in the White House
The interview reads like a verbal hit list with McChrystal's staff, with no objection from McChrystal, insulting everyone from Obama to Vice President Biden on down, and McChrystal with a few shots of his own.

President Obama subsequently yanked the general's chain, dragging him back to Washington D.C., where his job was said to hang in limbo. Eric Bates, the article's editor, says McChrystal knew what he was saying was on the record, that the Rolling Stone respected the boundaries of on and off-the-record comments. Bates appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe today. So, we have to wonder what was not on the record because what was is pretty damning.

Even McChrystal's supporters have said the interview is grounds for his dismisal, and apparently understanding this the general has already offered an apology and his resignation, according to CNN and Time.
Gen. Stanley McChrystal has submitted his resignation, Time magazine's Joe Klein told CNN, citing an unnamed source. CNN is working to confirm Klein's information.
Per CNN, McChrystal calls the interview "a mistake" reflecting poor judgment, and he has fired some of his own staff as a result.

Yes, a military general openly criticizing the Commander in Chief is simply not done. I remember when Colin Powell appeared to disagree with former president George W. Bush based on body language, but he never came out and said Bush was wrong while he was serving that president. There's no official word yet on McChrystal's resignation, whether he really did submit and whether it was accepted.

The Washington Post asks whether the president can afford to lose McChrystal.
But relieving McChrystal of his command on the eve of a major offensive in Kandahar, which White House and Pentagon officials have said is the most critical of the war, would be a major blow to the war effort, said military experts.
We're supposed to be out of Afghanistan by July 2011.

McChrystal-gate isn't the only setback our lanky contestant faces today as a wildcard judge in Louisiana ruled against Obama's temporary drilling moratorium for the Gulf of Mexico. Amid calls from Louisiana business owners screaming foul on the ban and the state's governor Bobby Jindal railing against it beside frustrated oil workers on TV, Judge Martin Feldman took no chance that his oil investments could falter and said Obama's ban was hurting those poor people too darn much.

Finally, rumors rumble through the blogosphere and across the pond that Rahm Emmanuel has had enough of White House softees and will leave his position as Chief of Staff sometime after November elections. This news has spread via an anonymous source speaking to a British newspaper. The British are having an Obama hatefest of late in response to America lashing BP.


Naomi Johnson said...

There is a precedent for firing McChrystal. Douglas MacArthur bad-mouthed Harry Truman, who canned the old soldier.

Vérité Parlant said...

Naomi, you're right! I had forgotten that, and you'd think I'd remember since I just wrote about the Korean War. Thank you for dropping by.

Vérité Parlant said...

Oh, Naomi. I'm sitting down now and actually reading McChrystal's interview with Rolling Stone. The article mentions MacArthur in reference to Gen. David McKieran being dismissed as U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan because McChrystal was pushed as the right man for the job.

It was the first time a top general had been relieved from duty during wartime in more than 50 years, since Harry Truman fired Gen. Douglas MacArthur at the height of the Korean War.

I suspect the Rolling Stone writers knew once this story was published, McChrystal might also go the way of MacArthur.

Naomi Johnson said...

I suspect you're right. Both Rolling Stone and the general had to know the possible outcome of such an interview. Generals are incredibly arrogant but rarely are they dummies. I think McChrystal has deliberately placed the President in a tight corner. If the President fires the man, there'll be all those right wingers whinging that there goes our best chance to win the war in Afghanistan, and if the war goes badly (or worse I should say), this will be a major point of attack in the next election.

If the President doesn't fire the man, the President looks wimpy and you can bet the Pentagon brass, once they smell blood, will get totally out of hand. IMO, President Obama has to fire McChrystal. If the general was all that and a bag of chips as a military commander, I can't believe he would have so badly underestimated the enemy's strength at Marjah. I'm going to be disappointed and dismayed with anything less than firing him.