Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Grayson on McChrystal

General Stanley McChrystal, the ranking US officer in the Afghan theatre, is on his way to Washington to meet with President Obama.  The topic of the discussion will be recent comments that McChrystal made to a Rolling Stones reporter some time ago.

The General spoke very disrespectfully about the President, the Vice President and a number of other civilians such as the US Ambassador to Afghanistan.  The email (below) from Congressman Alan Grayson (D-Florida) lays out the details very well.

MeanMesa predicts that:

1. General McChrystal would very much like to be the Republican candidate for Vice President or President in the 2012 national election.

2,  The now "dusty" tale of what happened with (ex-NFL star) Army Ranger Pat Tillman  who was killed in Afghanistan.  See WIKI story about Pat Tillman here

 The email:

Dear MeanMesa,

"Are you asking me about Vice President Biden?" McChrystal asks the [Rolling Stone] reporter at one point, laughing. "Who's that?"

"Biden?" an unnamed aide is quoted as saying. "Did you say 'Bite Me'?"

And this is what General McChrystal has to say about Richard Holbrooke, the President's senior envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan: "Oh, not another e-mail from Holbrooke. I don't even want to read it." McChystal described Holbrooke as "a wounded animal."

McChrystal on U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry: "Here's one [who] covers his flank."

McChrystal's aide on National Security Advisor James Jones: "a clown."

McChrystal is supposed to be working with these people. Instead, he's stabbing them in the back.

Fire him.

That's what I wished for last year on MSNBC, when McChrystal publicly demanded more troops in Afghanistan before the President had made that decision. This is what I said then:

"McChrystal is way out of line. He should remember what happened between Truman and MacArthur, another 'Big Mac.' He's pushing his luck here, because Obama needs to be the Commander in Chief. That's what the Constitution says - Article II, Section 2, that's what it says. He's the boss, not McChrystal. McChrystal should have known better. He saw what happened [to MacArthur], and I think history may repeat itself."

Let's face it. McChrystal has destroyed his working relationship with everyone who is not actually under his command. (And maybe those under his command, too; the Post quotes one as plaintively informing McChrystal, "sir, some of the guys, sir, think we're losing, sir.") For that alone, he should be fired.

But the problem goes deeper than that. The Constitution says that Congress has the power to declare war and fund (or de-fund) war, and that the President is Commander-in-Chief. Not Stanley A. McChrystal. No one elected him.

It is fundamentally wrong to set policy on war by asking the generals, "do you want more troops?" That's like asking Wall Street, "do you want more money?" That's like asking my five-year-old twins, "do you want more candy?"

McChrystal has to go. But after that, we have to make our decisions on war and peace based on what's right for America, not what's right for the generals, or Halliburton, or Blackwater. Not what's right for the military-industrial complex. 

But rather, what's right for us.

Alan Grayson

For the CBS report on this matter:

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