Obama Fires McChrystal – We Can Fire Obama

Obama Fires McChrystal – We Can Fire Obama

June 28th, 2010

Doug Giles, Townhall.com-

Obama and McChrystal

Unless you live on the oil-saturated bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, you’re probably well aware that our President, who happens to have skin thinner than that of an Iberian Ribbed Newt, fired General Stanley McChrystal for committing the unpardonable sin: He told the ugly truth about Obama.

Now, before I get flooded with emails about the impropriety of a general criticizing the commander-in-chief, let me remind you that most of you crying “foul” said squat when active duty General Eric Shinseki and other retired generals did that to W and Rummy when they were in office. Yes, I believe instead of howling “off with their heads!” you reveled in the generals going rogue on George. I believe you hypocritical dorks called the Bush dissenters “patriotic truth tellers.”

So, why did McChrystal publicly say that Obama is dealing with things that are, how shall I say, above his pay grade, to a liberal magazine like Rolling Stone? Hell if I know. I’m not bulimic. I can’t read minds.

One possibility is that this is Stanley’s way of repenting to the nation for voting for this nabob. Or perhaps he was simply upholding his oath to protect us from enemies both foreign and domestic. Who knows?

One thing that’s for certain in the utilization of the Stones mag is that a lot of Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga fans heard from the horse’s mouth that a four-star general, one whom Obama cherry-picked for the war in Afghanistan, one who actually voted for him, now thinks the community organizer has been elevated to a level of incompetence.

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The Runaway General

The Runaway General

Stanley McChrystal, Obama's top commander in Afghanistan, has seized control of the war by never taking his eye off the real enemy: The wimps in the White House

Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, commander of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, works on board a Lockheed C-130 Hercules aircraft between Battlefield Circulation missions. 

U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Mark O’Donald/NATO

By  Michael Hastings

Jun 22, 2010 10:00 AM EDT

This article appears in RS 1108/1109 from July 8-22, 2010, on newsstands Friday, June 25.
‘How’d I get screwed into going to this dinner?” demands Gen. Stanley McChrystal. It’s a Thursday night in mid-April, and the commander of all U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan is sitting in a four-star suite at the Hôtel Westminster in Paris. He’s in France to sell his new war strategy to our NATO allies – to keep up the fiction, in essence, that we actually have allies. Since McChrystal took over a year ago, the Afghan war has become the exclusive property of the United States. Opposition to the war has already toppled the Dutch government, forced the resignation of Germany’s president and sparked both Canada and the Netherlands to announce the withdrawal of their 4,500 troops. McChrystal is in Paris to keep the French, who have lost more than 40 soldiers in Afghanistan, from going all wobbly on him. 

“The dinner comes with the position, sir,” says his chief of staff, Col. Charlie Flynn. 

McChrystal turns sharply in his chair.

“Hey, Charlie,” he asks, “does this come with the position?”

McChrystal gives him the middle finger.

More on General McChrystal

1 ⁄ 3

Hastings on Replacing McChrystal: Can Petraeus Win the War?

Photos: On the Ground with the Runaway General

Revolt of the Troops: Hastings Reports In From Afghanistan

The general stands and looks around the suite that his traveling staff of 10 has converted into a full-scale operations center. The tables are crowded with silver Panasonic Toughbooks, and blue cables crisscross the hotel’s thick carpet, hooked up to satellite dishes to provide encrypted phone and e-mail communications. Dressed in off-the-rack civilian casual – blue tie, button-down shirt, dress slacks – McChrystal is way out of his comfort zone. Paris, as one of his advisers says, is the “most anti-McChrystal city you can imagine.” The general hates fancy restaurants, rejecting any place with candles on the tables as too “Gucci.” He prefers Bud Light Lime (his favorite beer) to Bordeaux, Talladega Nights (his favorite movie) to Jean-Luc Godard. Besides, the public eye has never been a place where McChrystal felt comfortable: Before President Obama put him in charge of the war in Afghanistan, he spent five years running the Pentagon’s most secretive black ops.

 “What’s the update on the Kandahar bombing?” McChrystal asks Flynn. The city has been rocked by two massive car bombs in the past day alone, calling into question the general’s assurances that he can wrest it from the Taliban.

“We have two KIAs, but that hasn’t been confirmed,” Flynn says.

McChrystal takes a final look around the suite. At 55, he is gaunt and lean, not unlike an older version of Christian Bale in Rescue Dawn. His slate-blue eyes have the unsettling ability to drill down when they lock on you. If you’ve fucked up or disappointed him, they can destroy your soul without the need for him to raise his voice. 

“I’d rather have my ass kicked by a roomful of people than go out to this dinner,” McChrystal says.

He pauses a beat.

“Unfortunately,” he adds, “no one in this room could do it.”

With that, he’s out the door.

“Who’s he going to dinner with?” I ask one of his aides. 

“Some French minister,” the aide tells me. “It’s fucking gay.”

The next morning, McChrystal and his team gather to prepare for a speech he is giving at the École Militaire, a French military academy. The general prides himself on being sharper and ballsier than anyone else, but his brashness comes with a price: Although McChrystal has been in charge of the war for only a year, in that short time he has managed to piss off almost everyone with a stake in the conflict. Last fall, during the question-and-answer session following a speech he gave in London, McChrystal dismissed the counterterrorism strategy being advocated by Vice President Joe Biden as “shortsighted,” saying it would lead to a state of “Chaos-istan.” The remarks earned him a smackdown from the president himself, who summoned the general to a terse private meeting aboard Air Force One. The message to McChrystal seemed clear: Shut the fuck up, and keep a lower profile

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?”

“Biden?” suggests a top adviser. “Did you say: Bite Me?”

When Barack Obama entered the Oval Office, he immediately set out to deliver on his most important campaign promise on foreign policy: to refocus the war in Afghanistan on what led us to invade in the first place. “I want the American people to understand,” he announced in March 2009. “We have a clear and focused goal: to disrupt, dismantle and defeat Al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan.” He ordered another 21,000 troops to Kabul, the largest increase since the war began in 2001. Taking the advice of both the Pentagon and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he also fired Gen. David McKiernan – then the U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan – and replaced him with a man he didn’t know and had met only briefly: Gen. Stanley McChrystal. It was the first time a top general had been relieved from duty during wartime in more than 50 years, since Harry Truman fired Gen. Douglas MacArthur at the height of the Korean War.

Even though he had voted for Obama, McChrystal and his new commander in chief failed from the outset to connect. The general first encountered Obama a week after he took office, when the president met with a dozen senior military officials in a room at the Pentagon known as the Tank. According to sources familiar with the meeting, McChrystal thought Obama looked “uncomfortable and intimidated” by the roomful of military brass. Their first one-on-one meeting took place in the Oval Office four months later, after McChrystal got the Afghanistan job, and it didn’t go much better. “It was a 10-minute photo op,” says an adviser to McChrystal. “Obama clearly didn’t know anything about him, who he was. Here’s the guy who’s going to run his fucking war, but he didn’t seem very engaged. The Boss was pretty disappointed.”

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http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/17390/119236

Four-stars no match for Obama’s four-star ego

Four-stars no match for Obama’s four-star ego

Camie Davis

General McChrystal, it’s your own fault. You should have seen it coming.In a world of sound-bites, when perception trumps reality, how else was an image sensitive White House supposed to respond to the Rolling Stone byline, “Stanley McChrystal, Obama’s top commander in Afghanistan, has seized control of the war by never taking his eye off the real enemy: The wimps in the White House.”

It’s your fault, General, that you believed your experience was more important than Obama’s ego. Les Gelb, of the Council on Foreign Relations said of Obama, “He is so self-confident that he believes he can make decisions on the most complicated of issues after only hours of discussion.” Hours of discussion vs. real-life warfare experience. It’s clear, General, who should be making national security decisions. Four-stars can hardly stand up to the experience of community organizing and bowing to foreign dignitaries.

It’s your fault, General, that you believed Obama might whole-heartedly support your role in ridding Afghanistan of the Taliban. With his heel on their throat, ready to kick some BP ass, one could easily see how you would expect Obama to support you in your role. But didn’t you get Brennan’s memo? Jihad is really just a “holy struggle, a legitimate tenant of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one’s community.” Perhaps your biggest mistake was not asking for 40,000 yoga mats for the jihadists “purifying” Afghanistan.

It’s your fault, General, to think that Obama could handle any criticism from you. Did you fail to understand how fragile his emotions already were? Sarkozy called him an insane, madman. Putin publicly scorned his vision of a world without nukes. Zuckerman labeled him as incompetent and amateur in U.S. News & World Report. Then you come along and have the audacity to say that Obama looked “uncomfortable and intimidated by the roomful of military brass.” There’s only so much one man can take.

Your “scathing” remarks most assuredly did “undermine the civilian control of the military that is at the core of our democratic system and erode the needed trust on the president’s war team.” Suddenly our democratic system is important. It’s your fault, General, that you assumed Obama didn’t give a damn about the democratic system after he pushed through Obamacare.

Americans will sleep better tonight knowing that a four-star General, who has his own opinion about a community-organizer-turned-president’s rank in a room full of military brass, has been removed.

Perhaps you will sleep better too, General, knowing that Obama’s decision was made “with considerable regret.” And once you have time for reflection, you will most likely agree with his reasoning that the job in Afghanistan could not be completed under your leadership since your critical remarks displayed “conduct that doesn’t live up to the necessary standards for a command-level officer.”

Start playing more golf, General. That’s the kind of right stuff that real command-level leaders are made of.

Camie Davis can be followed on Facebook at Wake Up and Smell the Falafel.

Was McChrystal set-up to be smeared?

Was McChrystal set-up to be smeared?

Ann Kane

NBC’s Brian Williams covered President Obama’s smackdown speech in the Rose Garden yesterday calling the McChrystal affair “a crisis” to add to the crisis in the Gulf.  Absurd. There is no comparison. High level flaps happen all the time, and they don’t decimate the landscape.

This leads us to conjecture about the hidden agenda of the mainstream press and Rolling Stone Magazine.  The way the mainstream media spun the remarks of McChrystal’s team has some in the blogosphere speculating that the Left set out to smear the general and cause him to lose his job.

Details are scant about who said what to whom, and how the magazine got access to the highest command unit in Afghanistan. Here’s a post from Larry Johnson’s blog, No Quarter:

This was a set up of General McChrystal. While I’m not a personal friend, I worked under his command for several years and know that he frowned on sharing anything with the media. In fact, I’m certain he did not invite the Rolling Stone reporter into his lair.

[snip]

Here’s what I think happened. Rolling Stone asked someone at the White House or DOD for permission to do a piece on the counter insurgency progress in Afghanistan. McChrystal was told to let the reporter accompany them. He thought that the piece being done was on the counter insurgency. Boy, was he wrong.

Who’s to say what really happened, but it could be a blessing in disguise for a well-loved general.  Even a tough guy like Gen. McChrystal could use a break from a detached, uninterested Commander-in-Chief.

More misdirection from the White House

More misdirection from the White House

Aaron Gee

The headlines this morning are all about General McChrystal and an article in Rolling Stone.  My prediction is that this episode will extend far longer than it should, and will be used as much and as often as possible to separate Obama from his failures in Afghanistan.  It also serves to remove the oil soaked pelicans from the front pages of the major news site this morning.  

This mornings headlines follow this Administration’s pattern of continually moving from “crisis” to “crisis”, real or imagined, in an effort to stay ahead of the perception that our President views his time in office as just an extended golf getaway from teaching in Chicago.

For those of you that think my criticism is unfair, I would remind you that the President didn’t take any interest in the gulf oil crisis until commentators started asking too many  questions on the White House’s role in offering Federal jobs to primary candidates.  Obama suddenly had to take charge of the gulf oil spill.  The problem was that Obama simply seems incapable of taking charge of anything more strenuous than a tongue lashing or an apology. 

To date the US administration has turned down offers from 13 countries to help with the clean up.  The Administration has refused to wave environmental regulations or streamline the process to allow building protective barriers.  The reliance on a bureaucratic apparatus has halted clean up efforts, and forced BP at great expense in time and money to modify clean up ships to not run afoul of the protectionist twenties era legislation known as the ‘Jones Act‘. 

With this kind of action, it’s no wonder that General McChrystal was called to Washington.  Obama can use the distraction for the next few news cycles to keep people’s eyes off from the disaster in the Gulf and a corrupt Congress.  Talking to McChrystal plays to Obama’s one strength, and we will know if Obama’s really on top of his game if he dresses down the General without a teleprompter.

SEND IN THE CLOWNS! Gen. McChrystal called to Washington to explain anti-administration comments

Gen. McChrystal called to Washington to explain anti-administration comments

By Ernesto Londoño and Michael D. Shear
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, June 22, 2010; 11:57 AM
KABUL — The top U.S. general in Afghanistan has been summoned to Washington to explain a magazine profile that includes highly critical remarks by him and his staff about top Obama administration officials involved in Afghanistan policy. 

The article in this week’s Rolling Stone magazine is certain to increase tension between the White House and Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal. The profile of McChrystal, titled the “Runaway General,” also raises fresh questions about the judgment and leadership style of the commander appointed by President Obama last year in an effort to turn around a worsening conflict. 

McChrystal and some of his senior advisers are quoted speaking derisively of top administration officials, often in sharply flippant terms. An anonymous McChrystal aide is quoted as calling national security adviser James L. Jones a “clown,” who remains “stuck in 1985.” 

The story also features an exchange in which McChrystal and some of his aides appear to mock Vice President Biden, who opposed McChrystal’s troop surge recommendation last year and instead urged a more focused emphasis on counterterrorism operations. Preparing for a speech he is about to give at a French military academy, McChrystal “wonders aloud” whether he will questioned about the well-publicized differences in opinion between himself and Biden. 

“Are you asking me about Vice President Biden? Who’s that?” McChrystal says with a laugh, trying out the line as a hypothetical response to the anticipated query. 

“Biden?” chimes in an aide who is seated nearby, and who is not named in the article. “Did you say Bite me?” 

The magazine hits newsstands Friday and was posted online at 10 a.m. Tuesday. The Washington Post received a copy of the article several hours before that from its author, Michael Hastings, a freelance journalist who has written for The Post in the past. 

The insulting comments by McChrystal and his staff, many of whom were quoted anonymously, surfaced on the eve of the president’s monthly meeting with his top advisers on Afghanistan, which is scheduled to take place Wednesday. 

McChrystal typically joins that meeting by a secure videoconference from Afghanistan, but he was summoned to Washington to participate directly and explain his remarks, a senior administration official said Tuesday morning. The meeting includes Biden and many of the other advisers whom McChrystal or his staff mocked in the article. 

“I extend my sincerest apology for this profile,” McChrystal said in a statement issued Tuesday morning. “It was a mistake reflecting poor judgment and it should have never happened.” 

Most of the critical remarks in the article come from aides to the general, rather than McChrystal himself. Many of the quotes are anonymous. The magazine story also includes descriptions of McChrystal’s staff drinking heavily at an Irish pub in Paris, “two officers doing an Irish jig mixed with steps from a traditional Afghan wedding dance,” and advisers singing a slurred, intoxicated songs whose only lyrics seem to be “Afghanistan, Afghanistan.” 

Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called McChrystal to express his “deep disappointment” with the comments, Reuters reported Tuesday. 

A spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai, however, issued a statement saying Karzai “strongly supports McChrystal and his strategy in Afghanistan and believes he is the best commander the United States has sent to Afghanistan over the last nine years,” the wire service reported. 

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement that “it would be a grave mistake” to allow the controversy over the article to distract attention from the war effort. “Now is not the time for Washington to be sidetracked by chatter,” Kerry said. “Everyone needs to take a deep breath.” 

Kerry said he spoke with McChrystal by telephone Tuesday morning and stressed that U.S. leaders should remain focused on success in Afghanistan and the safety of U.S. troops. 

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said he was “prepared to withhold judgment for the next 24 hours” — until after Obama could meet with the general and made a public statement. 

Lt. Col. Joseph Breasseale, a U.S. military spokesman, said McChrystal called Biden and other senior administration officials Tuesday morning (Monday evening in Washington) in reference to the article. “After these discussions, he decided to travel to the U.S. for a meeting,” Breasseale said in an e-mail. Officials in Washington who were familiar with the situation said the general apologized to Biden during the phone call. 

McChrystal’s civilian press aide, Duncan Boothby, submitted his resignation Tuesday as a result of the article, according to an official who spoke on condition of anonymity because it was a personnel issue. 

It is not the first time that McChrystal has been dressed down by Obama. Shortly after the general’s assessment of the situation in Afghanistan was made public last year, McChrystal gave a speech in London in which he publicly criticized those who advocated a scaled-back effort in Afghanistan. 

Those comments were widely seen as being directed against Biden, who had promoted an approach in the country focused on targeting terrorists more narrowly. After that speech, an angry Obama summoned McChrystal to a face-to-face meeting on Air Force One in Copenhagen, where Obama had arrived to pitch Chicago’s Olympic bid. 

White House officials declined to comment publicly Tuesday morning, but the latest public relations blunder by McChrystal was viewed as sure to further strain his relationship with a president who puts a premium on message discipline and loyalty. 

The article shows open disdain for U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl W. Eikenberry, a retired three-star general who has sharp policy differences with McChrystal,. Referring to a leaked cable from Eikenberry that expressed concerns about the trustworthiness of Karzai, McChrystal is quoted as having said: “Here’s one that covers his flank for the history books. Now if we fail, they can say, ‘I told you so.’ ” 

Referring to Richard C. Holbrooke, Obama’s senior envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, one McChrystal aide is quoted as saying: “The Boss says he’s like a wounded animal. Holbrooke keeps hearing rumors that he’s going to get fired, so that makes him dangerous.” 

On one occasion, McChrystal appears to react with exasperation when he receives an e-mail from Holbrooke. “Oh, not another e-mail from Holbrooke,” McChrystal says, according to the article. “I don’t even want to read it.” 

The timing of the piece could hardly be worse. Amid a flurry of bad news in Afghanistan and a jump in NATO casualties, U.S. lawmakers and senior officials from NATO allied countries are asking increasingly sharp questions about the U.S.-led war strategy. McChrystal has struggled to turn the tide on a deteriorating conflict since taking over the Afghanistan effort last year. 

Dutch and Canadian troops are scheduled to pull out within the next 12 months. And the White House has said it will start drawing down U.S. forces next July. (Photos of recent troop activities in Kandahar, Afghanistan

The profile includes criticism that McChrystal is facing from some of his own troops, who have grown frustrated with new rules that force commanders be extraordinarily judicious in using lethal force. 

A few weeks ago, according to the magazine, the general traveled to a small outpost in Kandahar province, in southern Afghanistan, to meet with a unit of soldiers reeling from the loss of a comrade, 23-year-old Cpl. Michael Ingram. 

The corporal was killed in a booby-trapped house that some of the unit’s commanders had unsuccessfully sought permission to blow up. 

One soldier at the outpost showed Hastings, who was traveling with the general, a written directive instructing troops to “patrol only in areas that you are reasonably certain that you will not have to defend yourself with lethal force.” 

During a tense meeting with Ingram’s platoon, one sergeant tells McChrystal: “Sir, some of the guys here, sir, think we’re losing, sir.” 

McChrystal has championed a counterinsurgency strategy that prioritizes protecting the population as a means to marginalize and ultimately defeat the insurgency. Because new rules sharply restrict the circumstances under which airstrikes and other lethal operations that have resulted in civilian casualties can be conducted, some soldiers say the strategy has left them more exposed. 

June is on track to be the deadliest month for NATO troops in Afghanistan since the war began nearly nine years ago. At least 63 NATO troops have been killed so far this month, including 10 who died Monday in a helicopter crash and a series of attacks. 

In his statement, McChrystal says he has “enormous respect and admiration for President Obama and his national security team.” 

“Throughout my career, I have lived by the principles of personal honor and professional integrity,” the general said. “What is reflected in this article falls far short of that standard.”