Should McCrystal be fired? - Page 4

Should McCrystal be fired?

This is a discussion on Should McCrystal be fired? within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I guess I see this differently than many here. I served as a military leader in Afghanistan (obviously at a MUCH lower level than Gen ...

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Thread: Should McCrystal be fired?

  1. #46
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    I guess I see this differently than many here. I served as a military leader in Afghanistan (obviously at a MUCH lower level than Gen McCrystal), and I welcomed informed discussion and even dissent from my subordinates during planning. As a wise military man once said, "if everyone's thinking alike, someone isn't thinking..."

    Yes, giving the interview was ill advised (Drudge has a link to a story about how it came to be, and some of the circumstances surrounding it). Yes, the General must obey - to the fullest extent possible - the lawful orders of his Commander in Chief. Yes, there were some on his staff that apparently crossed the line into "contemptuous" speech. However, firing a top General - during wartime - is not a step to be taken lightly and should not, IMO, be based solely on differences of opinion.

    As long as Gen McCrystal was acting to fulfill the President's intent, I don't think anything here warrants firing. Of course, that's speaking as a pragmatist, and not a politician....
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.


  2. #47
    Senior Member Array DaveJay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OPFOR View Post
    I guess I see this differently than many here. I served as a military leader in Afghanistan (obviously at a MUCH lower level than Gen McCrystal), and I welcomed informed discussion and even dissent from my subordinates during planning. As a wise military man once said, "if everyone's thinking alike, someone isn't thinking..."
    Spot on...I might add, once you, as the leader (I don't care what the echelon) finish that discussion, and make the hard decision, you want all your subordinates carrying it out like it was theirs...none of that "Well, the Captain (Major, LTC, Colonel, General) says we'll do it that way...I don't like it, but that's how we'll do it" stuff..


    Quote Originally Posted by OPFOR View Post
    Yes, giving the interview was ill advised (Drudge has a link to a story about how it came to be, and some of the circumstances surrounding it). Yes, the General must obey - to the fullest extent possible - the lawful orders of his Commander in Chief. Yes, there were some on his staff that apparently crossed the line into "contemptuous" speech. However, firing a top General - during wartime - is not a step to be taken lightly and should not, IMO, be based solely on differences of opinion.

    As long as Gen McCrystal was acting to fulfill the President's intent, I don't think anything here warrants firing. Of course, that's speaking as a pragmatist, and not a politician....
    This is the part I'm still struggling with...Why did he do the interview, placing himself in this situation...

    Hopefully, we'll find out straight from Mr. McChrystal, once he retires and can speak a little more openly and frankly...
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  3. #48
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    re: SIGguy220

    Quote Originally Posted by SIGguy229 View Post
    Officer's Oath:
    I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

    Nothing about the President there....
    I do not have a strong view either way with regard to what has just happened, but I do strongly disagree with the implication made in your use of the phrase, "Nothing about the President there...." above.

    The oath requires its taker to "faithfully discharge the duties of office," and amongst those duties, CLEARLY to be understood by all, is obedience to the CIC.

    Over a variety of threads in this forum we have had one person or another pop up to advocate various secondary oaths, disobedience to orders, and disrespect for the civilian leadership. Aside from those things being thoroughly illegal, the suggestion that they are OK somehow, is dangerous.

    There are always people who won't distinguish between their real obligations and the ones falsely implanted in their minds by internet critics of whatever administration happens to be in place.

    Talk or writing as this above, is dangerous to our democracy and our nation.

  4. #49
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    I don't think the POTUS had any other choice than to "accept his resignation", as we all know he requested the good General resign. And as OldVet stated McArthur did almost the same thing.
    "Don't start none, won't be none!"

  5. #50
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    It is hard for me to look at this from the right perspective. McChrystal is the one person most responsible for daily decisions that send men to their deaths. How can the average Joe on main street USA possibly understand any of this? Understandably, he is rough on the edges...

    It seems to me McChrystal has been canned because he is not savvy in 21st century "Media War". That is hardly a good reason.
    "a reminder that no law can replace personal responsibility" - Bill Clinton 2010.

  6. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveJay View Post
    Spot on...I might add, once you, as the leader (I don't care what the echelon) finish that discussion, and make the hard decision, you want all your subordinates carrying it out like it was theirs...none of that "Well, the Captain (Major, LTC, Colonel, General) says we'll do it that way...I don't like it, but that's how we'll do it" stuff..
    Quite. You must have "buy in" from your subordinates, and they must act as if the orders - even if they don't agree - were their own idea, and are the greatest thing since smokeless powder.

    Here, it seems that McCrystal convinced the President to allow him (the General) to run the war more or less the way he wanted, but the President didn't really "buy in" completely. With half-hearted support (or outright undermining, in the form of the VP) from above, Gen McCrystal was in a pretty tough spot.

    McCrystal's big mistake - and I have only have the faintest idea how things work at Echelons Above Reality - was allowing his men to be so candid (read: drunk) around a reporter. While I realize that the brotherhood among men such as these would never allow the normal smack talk and grumblings about superiors to be heard by those superiors, all bets are off when the press is around. They ALL should have known better...
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

  7. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by rstickle View Post
    There is one way to fix this whole problem. STOP imbedding all these damn "newsies" with the troops. That will be part of our downfall, and it seems like the bulk of what they report shouldn't be any of the publics business anyhow!
    True before! True now!

    Quote Originally Posted by OPFOR View Post
    ....
    As a wise military man once said, "if everyone's thinking alike, someone isn't thinking..."
    ....
    I had the great good fortune to work for two different star ranked officers, on two different assignment, who would quote that and meant it. One would even dismiss staff from the discussion and occasionally transfered them out, if he heard his own opinion being parroted back in a lap-dog manner. You could agree with him or disagree -- but if you didn't have anything new, additional, or original to add, you had better have kept your mouth shut.

    OTOH, once either of them made "the call" you better do everything you could to make it work and keep your opinions to yourself, unless reopening the issue (with new intel) within the chain-of-command -- not outside of it.

    FWIIW -- this brouhaha went down the way I expected.
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  8. #53
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    Actually the General said nothing against the Barry. Removing him at this time is a good way to doom the mission to failure.
    "If we loose Freedom here, there's no place to escape to. This is the Last Place on Earth!" Ronald Reagan

  9. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guns and more View Post
    What I don't understand is that McChrystal says he VOTED for Obama. That makes me question his judgement.
    Or his honesty. It struck me as untrue, like he's now desperate and will say anything. I hope I'm wrong about that.
    "Be justified. Blood may be easily wiped from the sword.
    It cannot, however, be put back from where it came." --Quicksabre

  10. #55
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    True fighting men speak the truth and don't let politics influence their opinions.
    And I think that is what got him in trouble, but somebody needs to start saying these things and describe what kind of leadership our military has to the American people. I cannot find the link right now, but there is a great interview I think on the morning show on NBC where a commentator has scathing words for the white house, likening them to a bunch of 9-year old boys..... I also believe the General, like the rank and file soldiers he commanded are fed up with ridiculous rules of engagement imposed by people who have no understanding whatsoever on how to fight a war......

    And I think that about hits the nail on the head.....
    "Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined". - Patrick Henry

  11. #56
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    Lets see, who else's mouths got them in trouble?

    Patton.....

    MacArthur......

    Don't forget MG Singlaub.

  12. #57
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    While I didn't see anything especially offensive in the article, there is now a perception of insubordination about the General.

    Vocalizing disagreements with your superiors is a good thing within the military, but not to third parties. If McChrystal had a problem with the administration's policies, he should take it up with the chain of command and not vocalize it to his staff, command, or journalists.

    The military must be subordinate to civil authority in all ways. As much as I dislike the current officials, it would be much worse if the Army was running things.
    "and suddenly I can not hold back my sword hand's anger"

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  13. #58
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    I also believe the General, like the rank and file soldiers he commanded are fed up with ridiculous rules of engagement imposed by people who have no understanding whatsoever on how to fight a war......
    It is/was Gen McCrystal, in fact, who implemented the newer, more restrictive ROE. That is the one point that the "rank and file" hold against him. The General is a strong supporter of Counter-insurgency as the way to "win" in A-stan. COIN demands that there be very few civilian casualties (I might argue it demands more than we are capable of delivering in this particular fight), and the General was trying to make that clear. It's very hard, however, to convince PFC Snuffy that his life is worth less than the overall war plan (which is how he often perceives it when placed under onerously restrictive ROE), so there has been some pretty severe backlash against Gen McCrystal's policies by the troops on the ground...
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

  14. #59
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    I posted this on another forum, thought maybe it would expand on my reasoning here...

    Article 88 of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice is the "contempt" article, and is quoted here:
    Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Transportation, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.
    Some legal expounding on Art 88 includes the following interesting tid bits:

    If not personally contemptuous, ad-verse criticism of one of the officials or legislatures named in the article in the course of a political discussion, even though emphatically expressed, may not be charged as a violation of the article.
    In other words, criticism is fine, as long as it isn't "contemptuous." This is important.

    Similarly, expressions of opinion made in a purely private conversation should not ordinarily be charged.
    Also important. In the article, much of the reporting was obviously gathered in "non-interview" situations, i.e. the guys were just hanging out. Obviously, the fact that THERE WAS A REPORTER THERE should have been a big giant clue that the conversation was no longer "purely private."

    Giving broad circulation to a written publication containing contemptuous words of the kind made punishable by this article, or the utterance of contemptuous words of this kind in the presence of military subordinates, aggravates the offense.
    Ah ha... See, here's where it gets interesting. While none of the even remotely "contemptuous" statements are directly attributed to the General, he knew that there was a reporter (and subordinates) present. He should have clamped down on anything even approaching "contemptuous" as soon as it came up, preferably with a size 13 (in my case, anyway).

    In short, I don't believe the General violated Art 88. I believe he violated common sense and professional responsibility to keep his private opinions private, and he failed to properly control his subordinates. For these things, yes, he sabotaged his career. Not the same thing as violating Art 88, though.
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

  15. #60
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    In all the chatter about McChrystal, I notice that something important in the Rolling Stone article isn't being addressed: Afghanistan is a goat screw and it's not getting better. From the article -

    After nine years of war, the Taliban simply remains too strongly entrenched for the U.S. military to openly attack. The very people that COIN seeks to win over – the Afghan people – do not want us there. Our supposed ally, President Karzai, used his influence to delay the offensive, and the massive influx of aid championed by McChrystal is likely only to make things worse.
    The article is a pretty good read, btw. Be sure to read it if you have a few minutes. The bottom line is that it doesn't matter who's running the show over there. We need some kind of exit strategy where we can declare mission accomplished and stop wasting troops and money in that hellish rat pit. The article isn't really about the general, it's about the mission that is turning into Apocalypse Now-style craziness.
    "It may seem difficult at first, but everything is difficult at first."

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