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Dave back in. Stan out.
Old 06-23-2010, 01:21 PM   #1
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Dave back in. Stan out.

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WASHINGTON (AP) - A source tells The Associated Press that President Barack Obama will name Gen. David Petraeus to succeed Gen. Stanley McChrystal as top war commander in Afghanistan.
Be careful what you say General.
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Old 06-23-2010, 01:39 PM   #2
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You mean like, be careful you don't call your boss scared and intimidated, in a magazine interview? That kind of careful? Most people have the sense to be more careful than this. All I can figure is that McChrystal wanted out. I can't imagine what else he thought might come of this.

And yes, I am more concerned that a lot of his criticisms are probably on target. But this isn't Obama having a knee jerk reaction to a minor public disagreement.
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Old 06-23-2010, 04:30 PM   #3
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Criticizing the Commander is just not done in the military. President Obama did the right thing in getting rid of McChyrstal. Morale in the rank and file would have been really bad had McChyrstal stayed. The President gave a stern speech about the whole episode and I applaud him for it. Sometimes I think he's not stern enough. Also, this is not the first time McChrystal stepped out of line. Now we need to move on.
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Old 06-23-2010, 04:43 PM   #4
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If you disagree with your superiors, especially in the military, there's a right way and a wrong way to do it. This was, well, not the right way.
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Old 06-23-2010, 05:03 PM   #5
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When I worked for a gummint agency, we were not allowed to publicly express our personal opinions on anything remotely related to the agency's business unless we were careful to not identify ourselves as working for the agency. And we were fully civilian with no secrets. It was amatter of not misrepresenting the agency's positions.

I have been amazed at the military personnel yakking all over with their personal views. It's like the military in a war has more free speech than the civil service. I guess ole Stan got confused. It does seem to be pretty egregious & he shud have told the reporter it was unofficial off the record.
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Old 06-23-2010, 05:05 PM   #6
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It will be an interesting 6 months or so. It he was willing to say this now, what will his book say? I'll bet it is a best seller! The President may be pleased tonight, but I think he will have some long days ahead as unfettered McChyrstal begins to go on the speaking tour.
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Old 06-23-2010, 05:17 PM   #7
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McCrystal put Obama in an awful position that could undermine the war effort no matter which way he responded. What an idiot.

1951: Harry S. Truman fired Douglas MacArthur as Supreme Commander in Korea for criticizing the White House’s policy opposing a wider war against China. “I fired him because he wouldn’t respect the authority of the President. I didn’t fire him because he was a dumb son of a bitch, although he was, but that’s not against the law for generals. If it was, half to three-quarters of them would be in jail.”
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Old 06-23-2010, 05:33 PM   #8
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Well, the decision has been made, and it is a shame the way things have turned out. There are only a few folks who can be happy with the way this ended.

I hope people will actually read the article that has caused all the fuss before seeking to be the top piler-on atop General McChrystal.'s damaged reputation. Because the news snippets and commentaries are generally not accurately reflecting what was said--even if reporter Michael Hastings reported accurately.

For example, I read two accounts that said McChrystal insulted Vice President Biden by saying "Biden? Biden who?"

Now, read what was written:
The lead-in is that McChrystal gave some frank comments critical of an approach that Biden favored (but he did not criticize Biden) during a previous speech. He got chastised by President Obama for that, and since then people ask him questions about Biden . . .
Quote:
Now, flipping through printout cards of his speech in Paris, McChrystal wonders aloud what Biden question he might get today, and how he should respond. "I never know what's going to pop out until I'm up there, that's the problem," he says. Then, unable to help themselves, he and his staff imagine the general dismissing the vice president with a good one-liner.
"Are you asking about Vice President Biden?" McChrystal says with a laugh. "Who's that?"
I don't see this as McChrystal deriding Biden. I see it as him clearly making fun of himself and dumb things he might say. But, I guess that's a little too nuanced.

Lots of things being quoted are things that McChrystal's staff said to the reporter--maybe. Who knows? They are generally anonymous quotes scrawled down by a freelance reporter who had a lot to gain. How do you confirm that stuff?

Anyway, it's done. There's no doubt that McChrystal et al were indiscrete, to say the least. I guess the President needed to show his toughness--okay. Maybe he could spread some of that medicine around--Iran could use a dose. Venezuela. I'm afraid the newly discovered importance of "finding someone's ass to kick" (as this most eloquent speaker now intones) and a very fragile ego may have led to an action that reduces our ability to achieve national objectives.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glo View Post
Morale in the rank and file would have been really bad had McChyrstal stayed.
I can ASSURE you that sacking McChrystal will not improve morale.

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Originally Posted by Glo View Post
The President gave a stern speech about the whole episode and I applaud him for it. Sometimes I think he's not stern enough.
A stern speech! Heavens. I hope he didn't wag his finger, too. He's happy to have your applause, that's what it's all about. But I agree he's not "stern" enough. I just wish he'd pick his fights differently.

McChrystal and his staff were wrong, wrong, wrong for bringing this on themselves. And on us.

Little indiscretions aside, McChrystal is twice the man of anyone else in this saga. I wish him well
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Old 06-23-2010, 05:49 PM   #9
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You mean like, be careful you don't call your boss scared and intimidated, in a magazine interview? That kind of careful? Most people have the sense to be more careful than this.
Did you read the article, or did you read about the article? Inform yourself. It doesn't say this.
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Old 06-23-2010, 05:55 PM   #10
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I think Obama missed an opportunity to rise above the fray, build loyalty, support with the troops and focus on what is important. The general has the relationships with the tribal leaders, Karzi and on the ground knowledge The general was not smart to grant the interview and say Obama looked scared and intimidated by the military at a Pentagon meeting.
Obama could have said - I spoke with the general, he's apologized, we are on the same page, let move on and focus on the war. I think he would have been supported by the public.

The McCrystal issue is not anyway near the MacArthur issue.
The only issues in common are generals and presidents.

Douglas MacArthur - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


The Eighth Army pressed north again in February, inflicting heavy casualties and recapturing Seoul in March 1951. Allied leaders had to once more consider whether they wanted MacArthur to invade North Korea or seek a peace. On March 24, MacArthur called on China to admit that it had been defeated, simultaneously challenging both the Chinese and his own superiors. Then on April 5, Representative Joseph William Martin, Jr. revealed a letter from MacArthur critical of President Truman's limited-war strategy, providing copies of it to the press and reading it aloud on the floor of the house.[245] The letter concluded with:
It seems strangely difficult for some to realize that here in Asia is where the Communist conspirators have elected to make their play for global conquest, and that we have joined the issue thus raised on the battlefield; that here we fight Europe’s war with arms while the diplomats there still fight it with words; that if we lose the war to communism in Asia the fall of Europe is inevitable, win it and Europe most probably would avoid war and yet preserve freedom. As you pointed out, we must win. There is no substitute for victory.[246]
That day too, the Joint Chiefs of Staff drafted orders for MacArthur authorizing him to attack airbases in Manchuria and Shantung with nuclear weapons if Chinese air strikes originated from there.[247] The next day, April 6, Truman summoned Secretary of Defense George Marshall, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Omar Bradley, Secretary of State Dean Acheson and Averill Harriman to discuss what to do about MacArthur. The two generals were opposed to the idea of MacArthur's relief but Acheson was strongly in favor. The Joint Chiefs met on April 8 and agreed that MacArthur was not guilty of insubordination and had stretched but not violated any orders.[248] The Joint Chiefs concurred with but did not recommend MacArthur's relief, although they felt that it was correct "from a purely military point of view."[249] The next day Truman ordered MacArthur's relief by Ridgway. The order went out on April 10 with Bradley's signature. The relief led to a storm of controversy.[250] The fighting would go on until ended by the Armistice Agreement in July 1953.[251]
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Old 06-23-2010, 06:17 PM   #11
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A most famous example of how a truly eloquent President can rise above the pettiness to chastise and yet inspire a military leader. Via letter. Who comes out looking good in an exchange like this? This is an example of rising above hurt feelings and getting the priorities right. No public "stern lecture" or public ostracism needed. Lincoln was a man in control of himself.

Executive Mansion
Washington, January 26, 1863

Major General Hooker:
General.

I have placed you at the head of the Army of the Potomac. Of course I have done this upon what appear to me to be sufficient reasons. And yet I think it best for you to know that there are some things in regard to which, I am not quite satisfied with you. I believe you to be a brave and a skilful soldier, which, of course, I like. I also believe you do not mix politics with your profession, in which you are right. You have confidence in yourself, which is a valuable, if not an indispensable quality. You are ambitious, which, within reasonable bounds, does good rather than harm. But I think that during Gen. Burnside's command of the Army, you have taken counsel of your ambition, and thwarted him as much as you could, in which you did a great wrong to the country, and to a most meritorious and honorable brother officer. I have heard, in such way as to believe it, of your recently saying that both the Army and the Government needed a Dictator. Of course it was not for this, but in spite of it, that I have given you the command. Only those generals who gain successes, can set up dictators. What I now ask of you is military success, and I will risk the dictatorship. The government will support you to the utmost of it's ability, which is neither more nor less than it has done and will do for all commanders. I much fear that the spirit which you have aided to infuse into the Army, of criticising their Commander, and withholding confidence from him, will now turn upon you. I shall assist you as far as I can, to put it down. Neither you, nor Napoleon, if he were alive again, could get any good out of an army, while such a spirit prevails in it.
And now, beware of rashness. Beware of rashness, but with energy, and sleepless vigilance, go forward, and give us victories.
Yours very truly
A. Lincoln
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Old 06-23-2010, 07:13 PM   #12
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Old 06-23-2010, 07:13 PM   #13
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Meh, those who get all wobbly over the military would attack the President no matter what he did in this situation. I think the Pres had no choice in the matter, personally. What is done is done. Get over it.
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Old 06-23-2010, 07:18 PM   #14
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I think the speech that McChrystal made in London last fall that undercut Obama was strike one or two.
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Old 06-23-2010, 07:32 PM   #15
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I think the speech that McChrystal made in London last fall that undercut Obama was strike one or two.
Good point.

Unless a person is selling something, for ego or pushing an agenda (their payment) they don't get anything out of talking to the press.
If you ever do anything news worthy don't talk to the press. You will live to regret it. Another option is to get an agent and get fees for interviews with a written contract so you get something out of it and can control the message to a degree.
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Old 06-23-2010, 07:37 PM   #16
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McChrystal and his staff were wrong, wrong, wrong for bringing this on themselves. And on us.
Little indiscretions aside, McChrystal is twice the man of anyone else in this saga. I wish him well
Little indiscretions indeed. Like telling jokes in front of a Rolling Stone reporter? What was he thinking?!?

Way back in the early 1990s a four-star admiral convened a conference of senior officers. His icebreaker included a personalized joke about one of the two-stars (who was present).* A few of the attendees were offended (or saw a chance to precipitate a premature change of command) and talked to the media about the admiral's sense of humor. However the unnamed sources didn't disclose the punchline-- only that the admiral had told an inappropriate joke.

The admiral was already somewhat notorious for his previous behavior but he could have ridden it our if he'd kept it clean. Once the story leaked, though, the piranhas smelled blood in the water. An hour later a radio station was begging local listeners to call in with the punchline, and eventually offered $500. I heard the scuttlebutt and realized that my boss had been at the meeting, so I dropped by his office and asked about the joke. He recited the whole story (including the punchline) and I mentioned the "bounty". I was given a direct order not to speak to the press.

Not that I needed to. The change of command was indeed ahead of schedule. The new admiral was wonderful.

I think when a good guy is doing a good job and taking care of the troops, stories like this never get into the press. I think when a senior guy gets a little too impressed with the importance of his presence at the job, and the troops start feeling neglected, then stories like this can't stay out of the press.

Before REWahoo sends me a PM, I'll just say that the punchline was "At my age I'd rather have a talking frog!"
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Old 06-23-2010, 07:43 PM   #17
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Old 06-23-2010, 10:00 PM   #18
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IMO, McChrystal had an acute grasp of the obvious and finally couldn't bite his tongue any longer.
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Old 06-23-2010, 10:40 PM   #19
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One has to wonder what McChrystal was thinking. A Rolling Stone reporter? Almost a month of access to just about every moment of his day? Hanging with the staff on leave? He could have saved himself some anguish and just tendered his resignation. Or maybe this is what he intended all along.

Reading the article it's apparent the McChrystal is the top sales dude for COIN, but, it's almost like he doesn't want to go down with the ship and preferred to get fired. Maybe he wanted to go out as the rebel who got fired, and whatever happens in Afghanistan after he is gone would have been different if he had just been allowed to do what he planned.

It's that or I go back to my first paragraph and wonder what the man was using for common sense when he let a RS reporter get that close for that long.
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Old 06-24-2010, 02:14 AM   #20
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One has to wonder what McChrystal was thinking. A Rolling Stone reporter? Almost a month of access to just about every moment of his day? Hanging with the staff on leave?...
It's that or I go back to my first paragraph and wonder what the man was using for common sense when he let a RS reporter get that close for that long.
I heard the editor interviewed on the radio, and he mentioned that the reporter and the military guys all ended up being stranded from their flights for an extended time by the volcano ash, so they were kind of stuck together for way longer than was intended.
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