Why Obama Needs To Keep McChrystal

Or Will America Turn To A “General Contractor” In 2012?

Gen. McChrystal

Something tells me that when General Stanley McChrystal (the top U.S. General on the Afghanistan war) arrives at the White House to meet with President Obama today, he will not be offered a beer in the  Rose Garden. There will be no warm and fuzzy “teaching moment.”

What there will be is attitude, ego, and bluster. Probably a few profanities, possibly an obscene gesture or two (depending on whether or not Joe Biden is allowed to attend).

This, of course, stems from General Hoof-In-Mouth’s comments to a free-lance journalist writing an article to be published in Rolling Stone this coming Friday in which he refers to “The wimps in the White House,” alluding to some of Obama’s aides. He referred to Joe Biden as “Joe Bite-me” and made other similar disparaging comments about other White House staff members as well as the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, Gen. Karl Eikenberry.

This isn’t the first time Obama has called McChrystal on the carpet. In October of last year, Obama went head-to-head with McChrystal over a similar incident where McChrystal wasn’t able to keep his thoughts to himself. At that time, our own Stoutcat pondered whether Obama would force McChrystal out. Ultimately he did not, and it’s to the benefit of every soldier in Afghanistan that he didn’t.

But will Obama fire McChrystal this time?  Not if  he’s smart.

In the Fox Forum today, James P. Pinkerton writes:

My guess is that McChrystal will survive in his post. The words attributed to him and his team in Rolling Stone–he felt “betrayed” by the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan; James Jones, the national security adviser, is a “clown”; and, perhaps most stark of all, he regarded “the wimps in the White House” as an enemy–were pretty strong, bordering on insubordination, and yet his apology was pretty abject.

And Obama really can’t afford to fire McChrystal in 2010, as Lincoln fired McClellan in 1862, and as Truman fired MacArthur in 1951. If the president does fire McChrystal, his administration will then see an enormous blow-up over Afghanistan policy, with critics on both the hawkish right and the dovish left pounding away at the commander in chief in the muddled middle.

Moreover, Obama might think to himself that if he fires McChrystal, he will be minting a possible new Republican presidential or vice presidential candidate to oppose him in 2012. 

But what about McChrystal? Is he, like General George McClellan in the Civil War, uncontrollable? Is he, like General Douglas MacArthur, so outspoken that he will openly criticize his commander in chief?

President Obama would be wise to keep on General McChrystal and listen to his evaluation of life on the ground in Afghanistan. And McChrystal would do well to learn that sometimes generals should be seen and not heard.

As to Pinkerton’s comment about Obama possibly creating a political opponent for the 2012 election, that’s not a comment to be taken lightly: McClellan ended up running against Lincoln in 1864, and MacArthur tried (unsuccessfully) to get the nomination to run against Truman in 1952. But Truman did eventually see the White House go to another general in 1952: Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Gen. Petraeus

If  history does, in fact, repeat itself, Obama may find himself facing a noble challenger in 2012, but not from McChrystal.  Like Truman, it may be another general that takes the spotlight and wins the hearts of Americans. And that might just be General David Petraeus.

Something to think about… Something very good, indeed.

Gerry Ashley


9 Responses to Why Obama Needs To Keep McChrystal

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Stoutcat, Grand Rants. Grand Rants said: RT @Stoutcat: Why Obama Needs to Keep McChrystal: http://bit.ly/axWk16 #tcot […]

  2. Young Fisk says:

    Gen Stanley A. McChrystal’s uncomplimentary critique of the Obama administration’s top functionaries has given the president a extreme choice: look across remarks that border on rebellion, or terminate his lead commander at a critical moment in Afghanistan. I wouldn’t want to be in Obama’s position right now, even if these two people are assembling today to discuss it through. Most dumb to announce national lousy comments about your boss like that though.

    • Gerry Ashley says:

      It may not be as dumb as you think. It may, in fact, be a strategy. Check out Alan’s take on this:


      Personaly, I think it was much ado about nothing as far as McChrystal is concerned as most of the negative comments were by members of his staff and not him directly. That said, usually when something like that happens, it’s the leader that gets axed as a symbolic gesture.

      I thought (as Alan did) that this amounted to a “no-win” situation for Obama. But that remains to be seen. It was a stroke of evil genius that he chose General Petraeus as McChrystal’s replacement: It effectively eliminates him as a potential opponant in the 2012 election (and there were a number of people – like myself – who saw him as a real contender and a valid choice to turn things around in this country. Maybe McChrystal will look at that possibility. I’d love to see a man with his guts and determination LEAD this country.

      Thanks for your comment.

  3. Unsure that the president should have removed General McChrystal. How will this affect the midterm election?

    • Gerry Ashley says:

      It probably won’t affect the mid-term elections in any major way. But if you read my rant (which was written before the meeting between Obama and McChrystal), I wrote that in 2012, Obama could find himself facing General Petraeus. By replacing McChrystal with Petraeus, Obama has avoided that potential challenge. It was a stroke of what I call “evil genious” on Obama’s part.

      Remember, it was Obama’s supporters who referred to General Petraeus as “General Betray Us” in full page newspaper ads about 2 years ago when Obama was running for President. Now, all of a sudden, Petraeus is being praised by Obama as “the man for the job?” Uh, not EVERY American just fell off the turnip truck, Mr. President.

      Bottom line, Julieta, President Obama’s actions had nothing to do with the mid-terms, it’s all about setting himself up for re-election in 2012. Watch for Amnesty for Illegal Mexicans and Statehood for Puerto Rico to occur in time for the 2012 elections.

  4. Tom says:

    Gerry, you and Alan both make reference to the 2012 election, as though there is some chance that we the people will turn out this socialist/near totalitarian administration. Why do any of us cling to that hope? When has anyone of his ilk ever simply given up the reins of power at the whim of the voters? Surely you are aware that he intends to stack the deck with millions of Democrat voters by granting amnesty to illegal aliens. Surely you are aware of the talk of granting statehood to Puerto Rico, once again stacking the deck with more Democrats in the House and Senate. Surely you are aware that most Democrats who voted for him will do so again. If I were a betting man, I would hesitate to wager against Obama being the first occupant of the White House since FDR to exceed two terms. Wake up people! They are not going to relinquish power at the polling booth! The Constitution be damned! They don’t care about that relic, anyway! He believes it is outdated and irrelevant! Every mention by your Grand Rants team and all the talk radio hosts about mid-term elections, and the 2012 election just feeds into the general sense of denial in which this population seems to be mired. Open your eyes, people! The mistake that was the election of 2008 was the terminal mistake of this country!

    • Gerry Ashley says:

      I respectfully disagree with you about one thing: The will of the American people. Yes, there are millions out there who, like you, assume it’s all over and that’s that. And, for all I know, that may be true. But when a small band of colonial settlers decided enough was enough in dealing with England’s rule, I’m sure many people said, “Wake up, people! They are not going to relinquish power…”

      And they were right. So a revolution had to happen to WIN our freedom and independence.

      If we all throw up our hands and say, “All is lost,” at this point, all WILL be lost. But there are millions… tens of millions of people who are now awakening to the reality of what Obama has done or is doing. I also have friends who would rather stick their heads up their asses and just ignore what’s going on because they feel those of us who are rebelling against Obama don’t know what we’re talking about. And as long as they keep their heads up their asses, they don’t have to have the discomfort of knowing the truth.

      By the way, I do not include you in that group. I’m referring to a few friends who are curled up in a ball under the covers and hope when the sun comes up tomorrow, America will be as it once was.

      You and I both know that much of the “CHANGE” Obama has already implemented and is trying to implement soon is or will be irreversable and some of it might take generations to fix.

      But America is NOT the naive population it was in 2008 any longer. YES, there is a core group of people who will continue to support Obama until they realize (too late) they’ve been duped. Then there are those who will support Obama no matter WHAT he does for a variety of reasons.

      But I still believe there are far more people who have awakened since he election who will be damned if they are going to just sit around and let America, the Constitution and Democracy be pissed away in front of our eyes.

      I don’t have the answer, Tom. I truely don’t. It may take a new revolution in this country if Obama tries to what amounts to nothing less than overthrowing our government with is idea of “CHANGE” that goes against the Constitution.
      As to Obama’s attempt to accomplish the specific ideas you outlined (mass amnesty for Mexicans and Statehood for Puerto Rico), I would note that Puerto Ricans have, for the 3rd time, REJECTED statehood. They rejected it in 1967. 60% voted to remain a commonwealth, 39% chose statehood and 1% chose to be completely independent. They rejected it again in 1993 and again in 1998. Granted, in 1998 those choosing statehood increased their share to 46.5% but as the US sinks into turmoil, debt and as Obama’s obysmal performance continues to neuter the country, there’s little incentive for Puerto Ricans to change their view on becoming a state.

      The bottom line for me, Tom, is this: Now is NOT the time to give up. We HAVE to do everything possible to unseat as many democratic Obamanites as possible in the fall election. Then we can force Obama to resort to doing everything by executive orders. He’s already usurped the Supreme Court by taking over GM and Chrysler. If he decides to circumvent the entire legislative branch of Government as well, he steps over the line of the constitutional restrictions put on a sitting President.

      You are right: Obama doesn’t acknowledge the Constitution. But there are a large number of men and women who join branches of our armed forces who pledge to defend the United States from ALL enemies both Foreign AND DOMESTIC. If Obama continues to flaunt his arrogance, ignoring the two other branches of government as well as the Constitution, that clearly (in my book) establishes himself as a threat to the soveregnty of the US as well as the Constitution. I would hope there would be more than a few Generals/Admirals etc. who would connect the dots between Obama’s behavior and their oath to protect and defend the country from this domestic threat.

      In short, I would hope the military hasn’t lost so much guts that it wouldn’t know how or WHEN to defend America from an enemy who just happenes to be the President. I fear the time may come when we may have no choice but to turn to them.

      Either way, I am not giving up on the good people of this country just yet. But I HAVE given up on this current administration in total, as well as Pelosi, Reid and, perhaps most of all (in Congress), Barney Frank (“The master behind the diaster of Fannie and Freddie Mac”).

  5. Tom says:

    Gerry, your quote “It may take a new revolution in this country” gets to the heart of my point. I haven’t given up, nor do I think “it is over”, but I do believe that the Obama administration is populated by socialist ideologues who now find themselves where the left wing has dreamed of being for nearly a hundred years.

    We are kidding ourselves if we think they will submit to the whim of the voters. The only way we get back to a Constitutional Republic now is the same way it was created the first time. They will never just walk away from the seat of power. By hook or by crook, they will go as far as it takes…. which means that we will have to go as far as it takes. The sooner great numbers of citizens understand the reality, the sooner it can happen.

    I know firsthand that there are many left wingers who are counting on their firm conviction that not enough people will have the stomach for it, or that they can quickly inch their way into totalitarian control before any serious uprising of public sentiment.

    Compounding that, there are plenty of Conservatives who believe in the electoral system to the extent that they are completely unwilling to even entertain the actual need for some other course of action.

    When our founding fathers warned of the danger to the republic by citizens realizing they could vote themselves “largess” from the public treasury, and by admonishing us not to lose sight of the religious principles and values that this honor system required, they were looking at this time now. I think that the collected writings of those hallowed gentlemen reflected a shared belief that, once the nation was so inflicted, it would take more than mere votes to right the wrong.

    Despots and tyrants don’t just leave. They have to be ousted, and history shows us what that usually entails.

    I used to wear a decal on my motorcycle helmet that read “I can’t go to work today, the voices told me to stay home and clean the guns.” When I applied it some 10 or 12 years ago, it was intended to be humorous. Today? Not so much.

    • Gerry Ashley says:

      I think we’re on the same page, Tom. Though I left the military years ago, I still hold to my oath “to defend and protect the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

      But I still intend to do everything I can within the normal electoral process to avoid the extreme if possible.

      As I wrote in response to Julieta’s comment above, I don’t expect Obama to do much to help avoid a blow-out in the 2010 mid-term elections. He may have written that off, because he will simply circumvent Congress, if necessary, through the use of Executive Orders. Then again, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some sort of a new attack on America about that time that gives him the justification to simply call off the mid-term elections… or delay them until he can spin the attack in his favor. Either way, when it comes time to run for re-election, look for Obama to head up an Amnesty program for illegal aliens and also Statehood for Puerto Rico.

      I can’t predict the future other than to say “it sure don’t look purty…”

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