The lines are drawn: General McChrystal’s insubordination has divided Conservatives between those who find his actions unacceptable, and those who excuse his actions to further the broader narrative of an incompetent president.
The facts are simple. Obama is still President and Commander-in-Chief, McChrystal is still a general. The CiC still calls the shots and grievances in the military are still carried through the chain of command. Talking to the press like this is a violation of this protocol. I dislike Obama, and have made it clear in the many posts I have written on my blog, but I dislike what’s going on with McChrystal even more. You’d think that after the lessons of history from Douglas McArthur’s tiff with Truman, a contemporary general would know better, but no.
To my Conservative friends: switch some names around, look at this issue broadly, and ask yourself whether you would react this way if it were any general and the President were George W. Bush? What if Petraeus’ aides were reported on being on the record as calling the VP names, and basically calling Bush incompetent? Would you cheer? If you’re Conservative, probably not. If you’re Liberal, you probably already cheered on a critical general in the form of General Shinseki.
Friends, it’s very simple. Our military and its dynamic with the civilian leadership has to maintain a high level of professionalism that wouldn’t be found in government alone, nor in corporate life. We don’t need McChrystal’s opinion, no matter how factual, no matter how much we dislike the current President, no matter how much it works to our advantage. We need our generals to be better than Shinseki and McChrystal, and we need ourselves to be at our best so as not to promote or encourage this kind of misbehavior.