Gen. Stanley McChrystal Relieved Of Command – Petraeus To Assume Command

Just as I suspected – an act of ego, not pragmatism.

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 the way military chain of command MUST work.

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  – Obama damn sure isn’t Truman (yikes!) and McChrystal sure isn’t MacArthur –  there is commonality in the cases: a 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 in 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 reasonably good tactician,  McChrystal should have known he was exposing himself and his team to a PR flanking maneuver. Even if he is correct (which by all accounts he is) their 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) and troop morale bottom out for the remainder of the year while new leadership is found and installed. Troop deaths and injuries will rise due to the indecisiveness inherent to instability.  The mission will flounder rudderless until Petraeus (a good officer, IMHO) get his arms around the battle plan.  This will not be seamless; and being that both Generals are tactically dissimilar (except for willingness to bribe insurgent leaders for cooperation) and confusion will filter through the ranks for weeks, if not months to come.

Obama will blame it on McChrystal – and of course, Bush.  We can only hope for another commonality:  As MacArthur helped end Truman’s presidency I hope this move seals the fate of Obama’s.  I’ll accept anything at this point to see the “Colon-In-Chief” shown the door going OUT.

-LTB

10 responses to “Gen. Stanley McChrystal Relieved Of Command – Petraeus To Assume Command

  1. Lipton T. Bagg

    When asked about his opinion of the installation of Gen. Petraeus in Afghanistan, Democratic Senatorial candidate Alvin Greene said:

    “Peed on what? Peed on us? That’s not right…”
    (/sarc)

    -LTB

  2. Here will be one of the few times that I disagree with you. Tell me privates and corporals are demoted for daring to voice that they disagree with The Obamster’s choice of Afghanistan Ambassador. That is not insubordination. And disagreeing with the V.P.’s choice of POLICY? The VP isn’t the commander in chief. What’s next? He can’t disagree with Hag Pelosi because she is third in line to the throne?

    Just because you are in the military means you can’t have an opinion? There was never any hint that this man failed to obey orders. I don’t want a bunch of lap dog, yes men running the military, where only the ass-kissers and butt-sniffers become generals. This man is a warrior, and Obama is unfit to shine his boots.

    The liberals will never stand up for men such as him, and the conservatives are too “law and order,” chain-of-command gung ho to stand up for him, so he dangles in the wind and gets fired. Idiots like Lieberman and McCain and Lindsey Graham gave Obama cover by saying he could go ahead and fire the general.

    How about saying “lighten up, Nancy” instead? How about telling The One that the poor sap was speaking off the record, he was just naive and stupid, so quit being so thinned skin you little thug two-bit dictator from Chicago?

    Sure, it is Obama’s call to fire the general anytime he wants. But Republicans don’t have to grease the general up and bend him over for the punk. Make it politically difficult for him is all I’m saying.

    All that said, I agree with you 100% about the rules of engagement. But at least I just disagree with him on that. He knows more about what is going on there, so I can’t challenge him on the facts. I’ll leave that to the military and ex-military, but it sure sounds to this novice that he was just wrong.

    And Petreus seems like an excellant choice so good could come of this.

  3. Lipton T. Bagg

    Actually John, I will tell you that PUBLICLY (where you name, rank and position become a matter of public record) you can be punished for voicing dissent with your chain of command.

    Article 88 of The Uniform Code Of Military Justice states: “Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Transportation, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.” Do not be misled by “commissioned officer – this regulation also applied to non-commissioned members as well.

    Additionally in Gen. McChrystal’s case, the infamous Article 133 “Conduct Unbecoming An Officer and Gentleman” also comes into play. Article 133 is a bit of a catch-all which states: “Any commissioned officer, cadet, or midshipman who is convicted of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.”

    So yes John, feel free to disagree on this one but in a public forum – a senior officer of the United States Army cannot say the things McChrystal reportedly did. Neither can the Private, Sergeant or Captain. It’s because statements while wearing the uniform – not dissimilar to the flag – mean much more than the average person wearing Dockers. And therefore, I guess we shall agree to disagree. It comes with the territory when you put on the uniform. McChrystal knew that. IMHO, he should have STFU and made millions on the book when he retired.

    -LTB

  4. Newsbusters has an excellant article out about how generals who criticized G. W. Bush were hailed as heroes and whistle-blowers.

    When will we conservatives realize that EVERYTHING is political, and fight liberals every step of the way. (This isn’t directed at you LTB, it is directed to our worthless POS elected officials.) Never quit. Never fail to show up. Never give an inch. Never surrender.

    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/lachlan-markay/2010/06/22/flashback-media-promoted-military-criticism-president-bush

  5. “Contemptuous words” is kind of lawyer-like weasel words. Come on, I know that you are citing the correct statute, but there has to be general standard for what the hell it means, otherwise anybody could get punished for saying anything that their commanders did not like.

    We have a similar standard for judges in their court room, where “contemptuous words” or actions are whatever they say they are while they are running their court room. A judge almost held me in contempt for just closing my notebook a little too quickly. But you can’t have such a nebulus standard for the entire military.

    I read the entire article, and I’m wondering if you took the time to read it. It really painted quite a flattering picture of the general, and made me like him when otherwise I would never have given a shit.

    • Lipton T. Bagg

      JD:

      There is a general consensus that context and format determine what contemptuous means. For instance, if I went to my commander, gained his permission to share my opinion and I called him a pompous asshole, there is little he could do legally. He might make my life Hell, but I digress. However, if I said the same things about him in Stars and Stripes (a military newspaper) I’d be on the carpet within the day.

      For the most part, the society Military is much like the locker room of a football team – great latitude to do and say wheat you must in the field house, but don’t do it in the hallway between class. I realize this is a somewhat dumbed-down analogy, but it really does work.

      And yes, I read the Newsbusters article. I do not like McChrystal any less except for lamenting the collateral damage to honorable troops in need of firm, trusted leadership. But there is that “(McChrystal) voted for Obama” thing….

      -LTB

  6. Lipton T. Bagg

    JD:

    For the record, LTB admires Gen. McChrystal. I think he’s a superior tactician, without which we’d have been sunk in Afghanistan long ago. But I believe he received poor advice, followed it when he should have known better and has now reaped the rewards of that misstep.

    My issue with him is ONLY because he (and his stupid advisory staff) used such a public LIBERAL forum to do this in. Because….

    As you said, it’s all about politics.

    I have gone on record many times as stating Obama will throw ANYONE under the bus for his own benefit. This petty, petulant nature is what defines the man-child sitting in the Oval Office. It takes leadership and maturity to get to the bottom of things and keep your best marching toward a successful mission. A second grader can fire someone (ask Donald Trump). In most ways I find Obama closer to the later than the former. Sad for the men and women overseas to have to endure this fundamental shift in this particular manner. But if anyone can pull it off successfully, Petraeus can.

    -LTB

  7. Pingback: Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz…. [Updated Below] « The Camp Of The Saints

  8. Now might be a good time for a “tactical redeployment” to the rear on my part. Never argue, er I mean discuss, something with somebody who knows waaay more than you do about the topic.😉

  9. Pingback: The Enemy Of My Enemy Is My Friend « Smash Mouth Politics

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