June 23rd, 2010
11:22 AM ET

Around the Web: Perspectives on McChrystal's comments

[Updated at 3:07 p.m.] Earlier today, President Barack Obama accepted the resignation of Gen. Stanley McChrystal "with considerable regret" and nominated Gen. David Petraeus, the head of the U.S. Central Command.

Here's some early reaction to Obama's decision:

“I thought Obama's talk was rhetorically perfect, hitting all the right notes in explaining why McChrystal had to go, while paying tribute to McChrystal's service. The only big question he left hanging in just what happens to Central Command. Will Petraeus try to have both commands? Will someone else take over? With Pakistan, Iran and other Middle Eastern issues bubbling out there, this is a question that needs to be addressed ASAP.” (Thomas Ricks, Foreign Policy)

"Gen. Stanley McChrystal has submitted his resignation. Or he's been fired. In any case, it was time for him to go. His departure will help slow the increasing erosion in civil-military relations - aided by both political parties over the last 20 years - which has threatened civilian control of the military. It also means we can now turn to a more fundamental exit debate: How do we change course and craft a responsible strategy to end the war in Afghanistan?” (Katrina vanden Huevel, The Washington Post)

“Where some see a conspiracy to influence public opinion, President Obama, according to someone who has spoken with him, found McChrystal to be undisciplined rather than devious. Being undisciplined is a grievous sin in this White House.” (Marc Ambinder, The Atlantic)

“I'm not sure how Obama could have handled this any better. He was genuinely graceful about McChrystal and his explanation of why he had to go made perfect sense. He called for unity within his adminstration in pursuing the war and sounded quite stalwart about both the war and about the strategy. More importantly, his choice of Petraeus as a replacement for McChrystal is a brilliant move: He gets a heavy-weight, an unassailable expert in this kind of warfare, and someone who presumably can step in pretty seamlessly.” (Rich Lowry, National Review)

[Posted at 11:22 a.m.] Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s disparaging comments about President Obama and senior White House officials in a Rolling Stone magazine article elicited a range of reactions across the Web. Here’s a sampling of comments from observers, bloggers, pundits and columnists.

“The president will surely take heat if he replaces McChrystal, and critics are already claiming that any reshuffling at the top will make it impossible to begin drawing down American forces next July, as the president has promised. In fact, the opposite is the case: the best way to ensure that we keep to the timetable is to designate a top commander who will closely follow the lead of his commander in chief.” (Robert Dallek, The New York Times)

“White House officials are seething. They're very angry at McChrystal and their rage at his staff, particularly his senior military assistant, Col. Charles Flynn, and his director of operations, Maj. Gen. Bill Mayville, is beyond words. The notion that the White House isn't fully supportive of the strategy bewilders them. Obama, in their estimation, went out of his way to give McChrystal everything he asked for and has backed him by adjusting his diplomatic efforts to accommodate the vacillations of the Karzai government. Indeed, McChrystal is viewed with affection by some of Obama's top aides, though not by others, who remain wary about his past affiliations.” (Marc Ambinder, The Atlantic

“If Stan McChrystal has to go—and he probably does—it will be a sad end to a career of great distinction and a low moment in a lifetime devoted to duty, honor, and country. But the good of the mission and the prospects for victory in Afghanistan may well now demand a new commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.” (Thomas Donnelly and William Kristol, The Weekly Standard)

“Gen. Stanley McChrystal is a hero—a selfless, fearless and inspiring soldier. He is also something of a military genius. In Iraq, as commander of the Joint Special Operations Command from 2003-2008, he created an extraordinary military operation.

His command center—a vast open hall resembling the floor of a trading exchange—put long-haired civilian geeks next to wiry commandos, and together they uncovered, analyzed, pooled and acted on information that enabled soldiers to launch successful operations at a moment's notice. They did so in ways that only a few years ago would have required weeks of preparation and rehearsal. He is one of the fathers of victory in Iraq, because his organization dismantled the leadership of al Qaeda there. Few Americans know, or will know, how well he has served this country—and as a shrewd, humane commander, not merely a lethal one.

President Obama should, nonetheless, fire him.” (Elliot A. Cohen, The Wall Street Journal)

“The president, who has been trying to patch together decent relations among an often-feuding Afghanistan team, is going to have to crack the whip. Obama has been holding Afghanistan at arm’s length. With his decision Wednesday on McChrystal, Obama will finally own the war policy.” (David Ignatius, The Washington Post)

“My bet is that Gen. Stanley McChrystal will be gone within a week or so. Defense Secretary Gates canned Admiral Fallon as Central Command chief in the spring of 2007 for less pointed remarks, so he will look like a hypocrite if he does less here in response to McChrystal dissing Obama, Biden, and the White House in a new article in Rolling Stone.” (Thomas Ricks, Foreign Policy)

“The trouble with appointing Stanley McChrystal to run the Af-Pak war was always his temperament and his history. He is a driven man, strong-headed, amazingly disciplined, extremely able in a limited fashion – and clearly unused to compromise or getting along with people as powerful as he is. Diplomat he is not.” (Andrew Sullivan, The Atlantic)

“This is not the first time that McChrystal has disregarded the chain of command, which is a bureaucratic way of saying that his propensity for speaking out of turn has violated the cardinal principle of civilian control of the military. But it should be the last time. Despite his impressive military achievements, McChrystal must be sacked by President Obama. The principle is a hallowed underpinning of democracy as President Truman recognized when he fired General MacArthur in the midst of the Korean War.” (James Hoge, The Daily Beast)

“If Abraham Lincoln’s experience is any guide, Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s fate will be determined by President Obama’s judgment of how his firing would affect the war in Afghanistan.” (Doris Kearns Goodwin, The New York Times)

“The amazing thing about it is there’s no complaints from McChrystal or his staff about the administration on any substantive ground. After all, McChrystal and his allies won the argument within the White House. All the criticisms — of Eikenberry, of Jones, of Holbrooke, of Biden — are actually just immature and arrogant snipes at how annoying Team America (what, apparently, McChrystal’s crew calls itself) finds them. This is not mission-first, to say the least.” (Spencer Ackerman)

soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. Chuckster

    You want to win the WAR in Afganistan??? Put a Marine General there, keep your mouth shut and enjoy the show!!!
    The U.S. Army lost the last WAR for us in Vietnam. The Army is second rate compared the the USMC!!!! You need the help of the Ultimate Warrior, Devil Dogs!!!!!!

    June 28, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Paki Boy

    This the point that USA lost Afghan War and at Afghan earth never won any one from out side.

    June 26, 2010 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  3. Dianne -- Connecticut

    Smith in Oregon
    Your posts are too long, boring and full of your stupid opinios and nothing to do with facts.

    June 24, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Smith in Oregon

    Folks, the REASON Gen. McChrystal was sacked appears to have resulted from a high level leak to the Taliban that White House adviser Richard Holebrocke and the US Ambassador of Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry were going to enter a Marjah shop on their schedule to determine how well Gen. McChrystal's shake and bake strategy was succeeding or failing in Marjah (it's first test). Both men were seen as major headaches and problems by Gen. McChrystal and his staff's Rolling Stones article remarks underscore how bitter Gen. McChrystal was towards both of those men that were sent to inspect his efforts in Marjah and Kandahar. With the advance notice, the Taliban first attacked the V22 Osprey as it landed in Marjah, barely missing destroying them while they were most vulnerable.

    It's clear the Taliban were told of the extremely secret White House itinerary and then staged a massive suicide attack in a specific shop that both men would be visiting and touring. INSIDE that shop the Taliban placed THREE suicide bombers who had assembled in the back of the shop, apparently tipped off in advance by a very high ranking official who 'knew' Richard Holebrocke and Karl Eikenberry's schedule. Thankfully, the Taliban failed to shoot down the V22 Osprey as it arrived, AND one of the suicide vests in the shop both men were just ready to enter exploded, setting off ALL three suicide attackers bombs prematurely!

    Richard Holebrocke and Karl Eikenberry were inspecting Gen. McChrystal's work in Marjah and determining if he was failing with his strategy or not. Both Gen. McChrystal and his entire staff saw both of those men as major headaches and problems. It entirely appears a very high level leak to the Taliban took place from someone that specifically knew Richard Holebrocke's and Karl Eikenberry's entire itinerary during his Marjah visit. When they would arrive and where they would go in their inspections.

    June 24, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Wow, for being in Oregon... you sure make a lot of bold accusations about an assassination attempt in a small area 8,000 miles from where you're sitting.

      June 25, 2010 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
  5. Onesmallvoice

    Just out of interest, how many of the people posting comments here would vote for him if he ran for state office?

    June 24, 2010 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fast Freddie MCPO USN RET

      Guess that would depend on what state office- I don't vote for Vets just bcause they are Vets.

      June 24, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Eric

    General McChrystal is no fool. He realised that Afghanistan is a no-win situation and his strategy is not working, therefore he cleverly engineered his exit from the theater of war.

    June 24, 2010 at 3:06 am | Report abuse |
  7. Smith in Oregon

    What is up with the Republican New Right calling Gen. McChrystal a war hero?

    Previously he was taken to the woodshed for caustic comments to his superiors twice which would have busted or court marshaled any Army soldier. He had been abraded by President Obama for insubordination twice before today.

    And WHAT about Stanley McChrystal's role in the torture of Iraqi POW's who were Iraqi national combatants which the courts have ruled was illegal torture? There is little doubt that he was deeply involved in one of the worst torture outfits in Iraq, Camp "Nama", a well used acronym for "Nasty Ass Military Area".

    At least two POW's were tortured to death, many of the torture sessions allegedly went far beyond the brief descriptions from Bush-Cheney. Interrogations using Power drills, Frozen to death, Constant Beatings and Applying air conditioning to frozen prisoners seems to have been 'routine'.

    And WHAT about Stanely McChrystal's role in the abu ghraib dungeons? Even thou the Red Cross was fully aware of the tortures in NAMA, a colonel at the torture center told them that he 'had this directly from General McChrystal and the Pentagon that there's no way that the Red Cross would be allowed in'.'This facility was completely closed off to anybody investigating. Even Army investigators.'

    Why would the Pentagon push a director of extreme Black Op's out of his dark cubicle after Five Years into the arms of President Obama so that Barack Obama would appoint someone whose line of command made him directly responsible for a place that made Abu Ghraib look like a child's daycare center?

    General Stanley McChrystal oversaw one of the sickest most perverted torture dungeons in all of Iraq and yet the Republican-Tea Potty leaders are calling that man a 'war hero' ??

    June 24, 2010 at 2:08 am | Report abuse |
    • lee in texas

      the problem isnt with our military its with our mindset as a country,sometime between ww-2 and koreia our leaders started worring more about how they looked in print than winning .a fight of any type (war) is esclating to the point that for the enemy the idea of continuing is too horrable to contemplate .there is no civil way to prosicute war .if you ingauge with any idea of saviility you can never win .once war is declared by the admin., then shut-up stand back and let the military do what it does best, blow-up destroy, and kill the enemy aney way possible.

      June 7, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bradford

    So what happens to the General now? Doe he just fade away. MacArthur ran for the top job. He did not stint in his harsh criticism of his former commander.

    June 24, 2010 at 12:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Fast Freddie MCPO USN RET

      He will be "allowed" to retire, draw about 75K$ in pension, probably write a book for a mil and turn up as a commentator on some news network, maybe Fox altho MSNBC has more qualified commentators that are ex military

      June 24, 2010 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. flytalk17

    Yes we all are FEDUP, fedup, but when you put on the uniform of your country in this country, you follow orders and keep you mouth shut, and you surely don't talk to the press. What the General and his staff said would get you shot in a lot of countries, we just make you resign your command. The UCMJ requires respect of the Commander in Chief, i.e. the President, if you don't like the music, quit dancing, you don't complain to the press. Thanks for your service sir, hell of a way to fall on your sword. One more point, its' nice if one has had some military experience prior to being the President but it is not the golden bullet to make or break a Presidency. The General destroyed his own career, he knows the rules of the game. He wrote his own ending. Hope he runs for office one day, If he becomes President and has a General that has a tougue that flaps too much, I woudl hope he would fire them too.

    June 23, 2010 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • ollie

      Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! Finally, someone out of all of everyone on here understands. It doesn't matter what he's done in Afganistan or how many stars he rockin, this or that. He is an officer and regardless of wether those that want "their country" back know it or not it is against the law (UCMJ), hear me, illegal, punishiable under the law for a military officer to speak against the commander-in-chief, who remind you is his boss. He's lucky all he had to do was resign. Instead he should be court martialed along with the rest of his entorage! Everything else is irrelavant. The military has policies in place like this to prevent such things. They need to make an example out of him and the other general that encouraged the troops to speak out against the president changing the dont ask dont tell policy. Everyone's lost their minds since Obama became president and it's really disrespectful and sad when top military officials act out like this.

      June 24, 2010 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. fedup

    Just fedup...fedup w/ this ongoing war...fedup with lives being lost...fedup with $$$ being spent on it...fedup w/ "no prior military service" Commander's in Chief deciding the fate of those who serve...fedup w/ journalists printing articles that undermine and destroy careers because they can...pick up a gun, deploy, deploy, deploy again and then "you" tell me how "you" feel about it...sometimes those who hold the cards that can make or break a career need to just "sit back and color"...

    June 23, 2010 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Dianne -- Connecticut

    What happens now with this major offensive in Kandahar?

    June 23, 2010 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Smith in Oregon

    I'm disappointed in CNN not doing the due diligence in finding out exactly 'WHAT' Gen. Stanley McChrystal did for the previous Five Years in the Pentagon prior to The Pentagon Pushing him onto President Obama to take over as the field commander in Afghanistan.

    Gen. Stanley McChrystal was in a boiler room cubicle running extremely Black Operations for the Pentagon for the past FIVE years!

    Only the most twisted souls direct the Pentagon's extremely Black Operations around the world. Invariably as those Black Operations fail or the intelligence is wrong, a large number of civilian deaths occur. And over the years those collateral damage 'costs' add up on the individuals directing them. Hence, the answer to McChrystal's beady rodent like dark sunken eyes.

    I can't imagine the twisted thinking in the Pentagon that would pull someone like that from a dark cubicle where he was planted for FIVE years and push him onto President Obama as the best commander to place into the field and expecting him to succeed as the Afghanistan field commander in his 'shake and bake' strategy in a large regional battlefront.

    Comparing Gen. Patton to Gen. McChrystal is a gross misrepresentation of Gen. Patton's accomplishments and duty's to his fellow soldiers.

    Black Op's depend on deception, lies and subterfuge to succeed, undoubtedly Gen. McChrystal's past FIVE years as a director of extremely Black Op's in the Pentagon explains McChrystal's decision to award Pat Tillman's body with The Silver Star when McChrystal knew that Tillman had been gunned down by his own men, and lied to the American public about that and continued to do so until several months and private investigations entailed until the truth was revealed.

    June 23, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Former Marine

      I am not doubting your intelligence on the matter is true... However, I would like to see the proof you have to back up your statements. If nothing else, it'll prove to be an interesting read.

      June 23, 2010 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • mikeinnc

      Smith in Oregon, As a retired member of the armed forces, I have trouble with your interpretation of special operations forces. If I remember correctly, it took about 20 special forces operators and a few CIA paramilitary to devise and implement a strategy that ran al queda and the taliban from power in a few short weeks just after 9-11. Had the Bush administration listened to those operators and sent in the rangers and 10th mountain, bin laden and his group would be dead now. As far your statement about General McCrystal's "beady rodent like dark sunken eyes", do you think his sunken eyes may be from only getting 4 hours sleep each day?

      June 23, 2010 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken

      "Only the most twisted souls" should stay in cubicles and no be allowed to affect military, political and economic relations. That said, Gen. McChrystal was not a twisted soul and should not be confined to a cubicle. I don't know him but I can only imagine that a brilliant and well-respected man can accomplish all that he has. He just made some bad decisions and in the end, it was his time to go. Recap: Gen. McChrystal=brilliant. Gen. McChrystal=time to go.

      June 24, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jaybob

    I just need to remind everyone of one person- PATTON.

    Maybe we should quit trying to be wussies about this war and actually keep someone around with some cajones.

    June 23, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justin

      well said sir, well said..

      June 23, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fast Freddie MCPO USN RET

      Come on guys- 1943 is not 2010. Patton would never had made General nowadays when policitcs is the big issue for the "big guys". Lack of judgement gets you fired every time and his staff should go too. They REALLY violated the UCMJ and should be court martialled but they wont be.

      June 24, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jaybob

        Come oe now, you know Patton was reincarnated multipe times... who says McCrystal isn't the next reincarnation?

        And "big mouth" isn't what he had. You know this man did combat patrols with his men, right? THAT is canjones. I heard the general had cajones so big, that his next mission is to use them to clog the gulf oil leak.

        He had his resignation ready when he walked through the door. The current administration has done nothing but pansy-fy this war, and I can imagine the general was sick of it.


        June 24, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jaybob

        Come oe now, you know Patton was reincarnated multipe times... who says McCrystal isn't the next reincarnation?

        And "big mouth" isn't what he had. You know this man did combat patrols with his men, right? THAT is canjones. I heard the general had cajones so big, that his next mission is to use them to clog the gulf oil leak.

        He had his resignation ready when he walked through the door. The current administration has done nothing but pansy-fy this war, and I can imagine the general was sick of it.


        June 24, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken

      "Cajones" and "a big mouth" are not synonymous. Cajones... yeah, sure, why not. A big mouth with blatant and public insubordination... yeah... hell no!

      June 24, 2010 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Justin

    Gen. McChrystal should not have been forced into resignation. Granted his actions was unprofessional and unbecoming of an officer of such status i believe he should have only been charged and reprimended. Even though Gen. McChrystal displayed poor leadership and presented a bad example to his troops i do not agree with the actions that was taken on him. He has dedicated his life to his country and to take all that away from him due to a comment. I understand how it can be viewed from different parties around the world that our decision making is poor had The President not take action in the manner he did, and that our military leadership is wild and out of control. I can see how America can be viewed in that way. Nobody should make any negative comments towards Hastings for publishing what the General said. Hastings was just simply doing his job, General McChrystal should have had better judgement on his statements. There's more to all this then what anyone can remotely comprehend. No one knows what stress has been developed in General McChrystal's mind over time. In my opinion, he had a lot built up inside and Hastings just happend to interview him at a bad time. We are human, We are not perfect, He shouldnt have lost his career for being human. Everyone is making a big deal over something very small. We can debate about this all day there is literally countless directions to go at this but in the end whats done is done. From this point the only thing we can do is learn from this because this is now a part of history and for all we know in the future it could be a contributing factor to upcoming events.

    USMC Vet

    June 23, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fast Freddie MCPO USN RET

      Justin: If it was conduct unbecoming he has to go. But Generals don't erally get court martialled they just go away into tretirement and enjoy theirpension and in this case probably a lucrative book contract and a job at Fox News as a commentator.

      June 24, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Lynn S.

    I think President Obama made the right decision. He is the president and deserves to be respected. What kind of lesson are we showing our young men and women who join the military? It is all about RESPECT. McCrystal didn't show any!!! Respect- that a e bottom line!

    June 23, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |

    Your time of the month or what?

    June 23, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  17. roderick m. farb petty

    President Obama descion to let McCrystal go may have made him look good but it may have destroyed the war effort. I do not beleive there is anyone else with anymore experience in fighting the Taliban. President Obama may have made the biggest and most represensible mistake of his short career.

    June 23, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justin

      Lcpl 0311 USMC – I would have to respectfully disagree with you on that statement. General Petraeus is a Genius and a Great leader! Yes General McChrystal had a better understanding of the AO however, Considering the situation General Petraeus is a great replacement. President Obama did what he thought was in the best interest for our Country, and Our future. Its not like he did it with malicious intentions. Furthermore, We have no clue on how long President Obama's career will be he could be reelected for another term. In my opinion i think 4 years isnt enough time for one man to really make much of a change or an impact of any kind. It takes time to get things started and get things going and by time you do your terms up because along the way you were distracted from your main goal by things like Natural disasters or the depression. Everyone speaks as if they were president before and knows what it takes to handle problems when to be honest No one has any clue on why certain decisions are made and how certain problems are dealt with. Its a totally different world because of the politics and that is something that we cant even begin to fathom. Long story short, there's a bigger picture to everything and is all we see is a distorted truth.

      June 23, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken

      The "fact" (or perception thereof) that "there is no one else with more experience" is a VERY scary thought! That should NEVER be the case.

      I also agree with Justin... Gen. Petreaus, among a very select few, I think are very capable of stepping up to the plate (even though Gen. Petreaus is "stepping down" to answer this call).

      June 24, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Michael J. Erickson, MSgt, USAF (Ret)

    Although I believe the decision to keep or fire Gen MCcstystal has already been made, this decision should not be impacted by other world leaders. I believe the General has lost the confidence of our civilian leadership and should be replaced. Our success in war should not and does not depend on one person, but on the collective strengh of our military and the entire country.

    June 23, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |