Free Markets, Free People

The "no-no" line

I’m not sure what was going through Gen. Stanley McChrystal or his staff’s minds when they were interviewed for an article in Rolling Stone, but if the quotes are accurate and in context, they stepped over the “no-no line”. While it all may be entirely true, you don’t ever – ever – air this sort of crap in pubic. And if you do, as a military person – regardless of rank – you are wrong:

The article says that although McChrystal voted for Obama, the two failed to connect from the start. Obama called McChrystal on the carpet last fall for speaking too bluntly about his desire for more troops.

“I found that time painful,” McChrystal said in the article, on newsstands Friday. “I was selling an unsellable position.”

It quoted an adviser to McChrystal dismissing the early meeting with Obama as a “10-minute photo op.”

“Obama clearly didn’t know anything about him, who he was. The boss was pretty disappointed,” the adviser told the magazine.


The article claims McChrystal has seized control of the war “by never taking his eye off the real enemy: The wimps in the White House.”

Asked by the Rolling Stone reporter about what he now feels of the war strategy advocated by Biden last fall – fewer troops, more drone attacks – McChrystal and his aides reportedly attempted to come up with a good one-liner to dismiss the question. “Are you asking about Vice President Biden?” McChrystal reportedly joked. “Who’s that?”

Biden initially opposed McChrystal’s proposal for additional forces last year. He favored a narrower focus on hunting terrorists.

“Biden?” one aide was quoted as saying. “Did you say: Bite me?”

Another aide reportedly called White House National Security Adviser Jim Jones, a retired four star general, a “clown” who was “stuck in 1985.”

Some of the strongest criticism, however, was reserved for Richard Holbrooke, Obama’s special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“The boss says he’s like a wounded animal,” one of the general’s aides was quoted as saying. “Holbrooke keeps hearing rumors that he’s going to get fired, so that makes him dangerous.”

McChrystal’s comments are simply inexcusable and demonstrate either an arrogance or lack of understanding of his place in all of this (or both). Regardless, he’s put himself in a stupid place by his own doing.

And his staff has certainly done him no favors either. I can’t imagine how anyone would think they could say things like they’ve been reported to have said in front of a reporter from the magazine Rolling Stone, and think it was appropriate, acceptable and wouldn’t end up being quoted.

Even I know better than that.

Dumb, self-inflicted wound. And regardless of how any officer or member of the military feels about Obama or the rest of the civilian leadership, or how true they feel the sentiments expressed are, they have no business airing them for public consumption. That is how the military works … period. If you can’t live with that, don’t join the military.



Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

6 Responses to The "no-no" line

  • Anyone in McCyrstal’s staff  who made public comments should be forced to retire.  As well as McCrystal himself.

    I dont like Obama and think he is a lousy president but the military’s job is not to publically air differences with the Commander in Chief.

  • I have zero use for Obama, but as CinC, this guy is McChrystal’s BOSS, and you respect the office if not the man. 

    Fire him Obama.  Get rid of this clown. Civilians lead this military, and if he doesn’t like it he’s free to leave one way or the other.

    But at a later point, we’ll need to address the fact that Obama had seemingly created a mess of a situation for that war.

  • I suspect that at least some (if not all) of the quotes from aides and advisors were made “off the record”, which remonds me of something a lawyer buddy once said about talking to cops and prosecutors: “no matter what you have seen on TV – or what they tell you – you are never, ever ‘off the record.'”

  • I would expect McChrystal to either step down or be removed very soon.  It puts the administration in something of a pickle, at a pretty critical time and with more than enough headaches to deal with as it is.  Any ideas as to a possible replacement?

  • WTF? Unprofessional. This makes the CIA and the State Department look good.
    How exactly does McChrystal think the war effort in Afghanistan is going to be helped by him starting a public pissing contest with the executive branch and virtually the entire national media?