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President Obama Wrong To Oust General McChrystal Over Rolling Stone Interview


water cooler               logoNow that the media firestorm is behind the Obama Administration following General Stanley McChrystal's ouster, General David Patraeus is ready to take the helm in Afghanistan.

Let's just take a moment to examine what Stanley McChrystal did wrong.  If anything he's guilty of letting his guard down.  Rolling Stone reporter Michael Hastings, who was on the Today Show last Thursday spoke with Matt Lauer about his interview entitled "The Runaway General", which documented various comments by General Stanley McChrystal and anonymous aides. Hastings stated that McChrystal and his aides probably allowed him to hang out with them so they could get favorable coverage in this article and future articles-as is often the case when you deal with politicians, celebrities, and athletes. 

They trade you access in exchange for favorable coverage.  Hastings made it clear he wasn't playing that game.  What was really interesting was how he felt that McChrystal was "untouchable." He was quite surprised to see things play out the way they did and so quickly.

Probably the worst thing McChrystal said in the entire interview was the following:

"Are you asking about Vice President Biden?" McChrystal says with a laugh. "Who's that?"  "Biden?" suggests a top adviser. "Did you say: Bite Me?"

This is probably the comment that got McChrystal fired.  Certainly it's not something a military commander should say and when you're hanging out with a reporter it would stand to reason they are going to put that into the piece.

Is this worthy of a fireable offense? Absolutely not in my opinion.  McChrystal's aides are the ones who said the really nasty things about members of the Obama Administration.

What this boils down to is that McChrystal and President Obama never really connected.  And, McChrystal realized Obama's plan has only a 50% chance of succeeding. And, Obama's plan to announce that we're leaving next year is a horrible mistake.  Any military strategist on the planet with half a brain realizes this is a terrible idea.

Hastings mentions in his piece, "Even though he had voted for Obama, McChrystal and his new commander in chief failed from the outset to connect."

An aide told Hastings, "Obama clearly didn't know anything about him, who he was. Here's the guy who's going to run his f***ing war, but he didn't seem very engaged. The Boss was pretty disappointed."

That coupled with McChrystal's comment are the two clinchers.  Again, these aren't fireable offenses in my opinion. General McChrystal should have been reprimanded and The Obama Administration should have dealt with the media firestorm over 48-72 hours, which would have ensued.

It was a convenient reason for President Obama to get rid of a general who he wasn't on the same page with.  And, this was a show of strength.  His General one-upped him and he couldn't (for sake of pride) look weak. You can look strong without firing someone, but Obama chose a different route.

Added to that, they have dealt with a plethora of media nightmares recently in light of the BP Oil Spill Disaster, high unemployment, a record budget deficit, and a jobless recovery which isn't benefiting many working-class Americans whether employed or unemployed.

General McChrystal was guilty of a cardinal sin, which is letting one's guard down in front of a reporter.  This is a reporter who had everything to gain and now Michael Hastings is a superstar.  Then again McChrystal won't have it too bad off.  He can ride off into the sunset and get paid to speak at events and write a tell-all book someday.