This will be the dominating news story for the next week:
The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan has been summoned to Washington to explain his controversial comments about colleagues in a recent interview, an Obama administration official said Tuesday.
The official says Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who has since issued an apology for his comments, has been directed to attend the monthly White House meeting on Afghanistan and Pakistan in person Wednesday rather than over a secure video teleconference, so he can discuss his comments with President Barack Obama and top Pentagon officials.
An article in this week’s Rolling Stone magazine depicts McChrystal as a lone wolf on the outs with many important figures in the Obama administration and unable to persuade even some of his own soldiers that his strategy can win the war.
The Rolling Stone article isn’t out yet, but already it is drawing a lot of conversation. Here’s Marc Ambinder’s take on it:
What in the heck was Gen. Stanley McChrystal thinking? I mean, I know what he was thinking: he was tired of being the victim of what he believes is a concerted effort on behalf of Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry and others to undermine everything he was given 18 months to do. He was tired of being perceived in the press as a neoconservative killer, Dick Cheney’s hired assassin, or disloyal to President Obama and his staff. He was angry at being blamed for leaking the draft of his report to the President to Bob Woodward. (He did NOT leak the document). He was miffed that a large number of mid-ranking soldiers and battalion commanders and enlisted guys didn’t support his strategy.
What I don’t know is which of McChrystal’s aides thought it would be a good idea to let his senior staff speak on background to Rolling Stone (!), of all publications, venting McChrystal’s frustrations and their own.
Because if there was ONE thing McChrystal could do to reduce trust between himself and the National Security Council leading up to December’s planned policy review, it was to allow a staffer to mock Joe Biden and call the national security adviser a “clown” … and to put words in McChrystal’s own mouth that denigrate Eikenberry.
This is a 100% act of insubordination and even the right is not pleased with McChrystal right now. From Another Black Conservative:
I am even questioning the competence of McChrystal now. Why on earth would he allow such access for an interview? One would have to imagine that military men would automatically be very cautious about giving unfettered access to anyone in the press (i.e. loose lips …). Needless to say that such infighting between McChrystal and the administration does not bode well for success in Afghanistan.
In a time of war having the top commander speak out against the Commander in Chief is a very bad thing. It undermines the moral of our troops and that is something they don’t need at this crucial time in America’s longest war.
So now we wait and see, but it seems like there is a good chance that McChrystal might be America’s latest unemployed.