From the White House to the halls of Congress, from veteran's groups, the punditocracy and of course, the blogosphere, reactions to the Rolling Stone article on the barroom ruminations of the top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, continue.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was noncommittal on McChrystal's job security:
A reporter asked, "Is McChrystal's job safe?" Gibbs answer was brief, and he repeated it multiple times: "We'll have more to say after that meeting." He later said people should "wait and see" the outcome of tomorrow's meeting. It was an already scheduled update on Afghanistan and Pakistan, but Obama summoned McChrystal to Washington to hear his explanation.
... while Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL) became the first lawmaker to call for his immediate dismissal:
"McChrystal should be dismissed, dismissed immediately, and unceremoniously returned home. The military must know that the Commander-in-Chief is, in fact, in charge, and a lack of discipline will not be tolerated. A strong, successful military cannot survive without discipline in the chain of command. This is the second time that General McChrystal has crossed that line. Any teenager in a military school knows better.”Echoing Jackson and then some was retiring Rep. David Obey, who said:
In recent history – which runs from General MacArthur, to General LeMay, to General McChrystal, we have seen a long list of reckless, renegade generals who haven’t seemed to understand that their role is to implement policy, not design it. [...]
His repeated contempt for the civilian chain of command demonstrates a bull headed refusal to take other people’s judgments into consideration. That is damn dangerous in somebody whose decisions determine life and death for American troops and others in the region.
“That is something that we simply cannot afford!
Three senators -- John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) -- were a bit more circumspect, issuing a joint statement saying:
We have the highest respect for General McChrystal and honor his brave service and sacrifice to our nation. General McChrystal's comments, as reported in Rolling Stone, are inappropriate and inconsistent with the traditional relationship between Commander-in-Chief and the military.... but leaving it up to the President to decide his fate.
Jon Soltz, the chairman of Vote Vets, said:
The open disdain and personal ridicule of the President and his advisors by General Stanley McChrystal and his subordinates in the new issue of Rolling Stone leaves only two acceptable options: Either General McChrystal resigns or is fired.... while Joe Klein goes with the wishy-washy approach:
If he has any honor, he'll step down.
I suppose he will have to be sacked now. He is not irreplaceable. There are more than a few fine generals in the Army, including Lt. General David Rodriguez, a McChrystal deputy with vast experience in Afghanistan. But it is a terrible setback, a diversion from the business hand at a crucial moment in the conflict. And it is a real tragedy, because Stanley McChrystal is precisely the sort of man who should be leading American troops in battle.And finally, Max Bergmann at Think Progress looks at the bigger picture ... why McChrystal said what he did and what it means:
The significance of this food fight is not in what was said, but in what it says about where the United States is in Afghanistan. It is becoming increasingly clear that General McChrystal has failed to achieve the unrealistic expectations he set for Afghanistan ... The struggles of McChrystal’s Afghan strategy have now led to a growing rift within the Obama administration over how to interpret the July 2011 deadline set by the President ... And McChrystal’s latest interview can be seen as part of a larger effort by some in the military to box in the White House in order to push it to acquiesce to giving McChrystal more time.
In the end, as everyone scrambles to say what they think should happen to McChrystal, is this what it's really all about? A calculated move to change the subject from what we should be talking about?
If so, it worked ...