Top of the Ticket

Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

« Previous Post | Top of the Ticket Home | Next Post »

Did White House give a dressing-down to Gen. McChrystal for publicly objecting to new strategy?

President Obama meets in the Oval Office with Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan

It started in London last week, when Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who heads U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, told an audience at the Institute of International and Strategic Studies that he does not support a new military strategy being floated privately by Vice President Joe Biden.

The idea, under review at the White House, is to withdraw troops from Afghanistan towns and refocus them on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, where Al Qaeda forces are headquartered. The alternative strategy also envisions using more drone missile strikes and special forces ops against the terrorist network.

During his remarks in London, McChrystal predicted that such a plan was "short-sighted," that it would produce "Chaos-istan" and that he would not support it.

Now, London's Telegraph is reporting that White House advisers were "shocked and angered" by the bluntness of McChrystal's remarks and noting that the very next day President Obama summoned the general for a 25-minute, one-on-one meeting aboard Air Force One as it sat on the runway in Copenhagen after the president's unsuccessful bid to win the 2016 Olympics for Chicago.

Asked if the president had told the general to tone down his remarks, National Security Adviser Gen. James Jones told CBS on Sunday: "I wasn't there so I can't answer that question. But it was an opportunity for them to get to know each other a little bit better. I am sure they exchanged direct views."

In fact, in a series of Sunday talk show appearances, Jones, a retired Marine general and former Allied commander in Europe, carried the administration's message that the military -- perhaps conditioned by the Bush administration to expect its opinions to reign -- had better respect civilian command.

"Ideally, it's better for military advice to come up through the chain of command," Jones told CNN. "I think that Gen. McChrystal and the others in the chain of command will present the president with not just one option, which does, in fact, tend to have a ... enforcing function, but a range of options that the president can consider."

I think in military lingo they call that a dressing-down.

-- Johanna Neuman

Photo: President Obama and Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal. Credit: Pete Souza / White House

Click here for Twitter alerts of each Ticket item. Or follow us @latimestot or on Facebook here

 
Comments () | Archives (56)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Senior military got used to the Bush hands-off approach. Pre-Bush, generals carried out policy made by politicians because the commander in a specific theater has a parochial view rather than a global view. Bush's management, actually lack of management, left him time to clear brush in Texas - perhaps a better use of his talents.

When Presidents don't listent to Generals, we loose wars.

God forbid we actually listen to someone who knows military strategy, not a pres and vice pres who have NO MILITARY service to speak of. It's like accepting directions for a surgery for someone who's never been to medical school. We are in big trouble in this country.

Old boy should have been fired from command when he shot his mouth first time.

It may be a "dressing down" in military lingo, but in political lingo, it's just tone deaf and stupid.

Amazing don't you think, that a General who disagreed publically with the President would have been hailed as a hero by the liberal left, but only during the Bush Presidency.

Now the rules are different; there is a Democrat in the Whitehouse. Now liberals have suddenly found respect for the military chain of command.

Liberals praised the whistle blowers; but they better not blow that whistle now! A democrat is in the Whitehouse!

Umm, let's see. Obammy and Biden have exactly how much military experience bewteen them?

Oh yeah. NONE.

So when the incompetent in the White House does not respond and tell the Commander not to send it reports or requests for support for the troops under his command what is he supposed to do? A good Commander puts the interest of his troops over the dithering of an incompetent putz in the White House. McCrystal will likely resign over this. Moral in the military will further decline as they realize their lives are being put at risk with incompetence.

Get over it Barack. Leave the hard stuff to those who understand it.

It looks like the only thing McChrystal cares about is winning the war.
Biden, et. al., prioritize public opinion and winning the war as equals. That's why we'll lose the war.
Was it politically popular for Caesar to crush Pompey and later Antony? NO!!! But he did it anyway, because all he cared about was winning the civil wars.
Not saying it's right or wrong; just saying that it is, period.

Do you wonder what crackpot from the Academies came up with the 'brilliant' strategy to use a few of our noble troops as BAIT, in remote outposts, without IMMEDIATE support? Does the President have any power to TERMINATE the crackpots behind this 'brilliant' strategy, no doubt devised by some REAR ECHELON MIKE FOXTROT, or perhaps it was that brilliant 'Napoleon' of Mission Accomplished, Gomer W Bush? Maybe, McChrystal is just another Westmoreland?

When you have an administration that has never served in uniform, you get an apeasing cowardly direction. Our enemys couldn't be happier. Obama can "talk the talk" but has never "walked the walk".

This is the biggest weakness of Democrats....war. They absolutely cannot fathom the resources required to win. They are very good at social engineering expiriments and keeping people in jobs by taxing people so there is enough government jobs for them, but they cannot win in a wartime scenario. Proven time and agoin.

It will happen here as well. By letting the limp-wristed opnions reign, they have effectively tossed Afghanistan to the wolves.

Niiiiice.....you can expect some more planes to crash into some buildings here in the U.S. soon...or, who knows? Maybe even a crude nuclear device coming to a city near you!

Enjoy burying the dead of America people.....you voted these 'tards into power.

Here we go again, down the path taken in Iraq, where Petraeus and Odierno had to struggle against the civilians (Cheney/Rumsfeld) to obtain approval for their plan for changing the emphasis in Iraq to providing security for the civilians, then forming alliances with local chieftains. Their policy reversed the headlong plunge into failure which the civilians had been running for about four years. Now the civilian (Biden) is interposing his opinions again. Fair enough, but if experience is any guide, the military should be given a full, fair, courteous hearing, not a dressing down. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Obama never ran as much as a lemonade stand. Biden's genious speaks for itself. And here we have a highly decorated, career general who is on the ground in Afghanistan calling for help and being ignored by these two bozos.

The lives of our young men and women are being put in jeopardy while these clowns try to figure out which way the political wind is blowing. It's a disgrace.

Cheney and Rumsfeld would have canned this General for such insubordination, just as they canned Eric Shinseki. Even though General Shinseki was absolutely right, the truth has absolutely nothing to do with politics.

Barack Obama needs a fierce dressing down from our military; Obama has not a single clue about military strategy.

Amongst the most critical mistakes America made in Vietnam is "taking a hill" then moving on rather than securing. Obama is promoting the same failed policy as in Vietnam, our "Bungle in the Jungle".

Obama is setting a policy which will have our military off on a high loss wild goose chase. Obama will have our military boys and girls being led around and led into devastating ambush type attacks.

Obama is playing right into the hands of our enemies.

This is Vietnam, deja vu.

Okpulot Taha
Choctaw Nation
Puma Politics

You cannot cast an allegation based on your opinion, "I think... they call that a dressing down." Your statement of personal opinion bears no facts on the story.

Since the General is not alleged to have done anything wrong, he is not being "dressed down."

Jones' comments also seemed to imply that McCrystal was being disrepectful of his commander. There are no facts to substantiate such an allegation. The General has provided his assessment of the situation and his advice. Jones' admits it is not only right, but best to consider the advice coming from the field rather than unilaterally enforce the White House's political agenda.

The thing at stake here is the Afghan people. If McCrystal is ignored, this administration may forsake Afghan security to pursue its enemies in Pakistan and Iran at the cost of the Afghan people. It may be logical, but it's inhuman and Biden is neither the Commander in Chief nor is he recognized as a brilliant military strategist.

Obama was 150% right. Who is McChrystal to leak reports. The military reports to the President. Obama should fire him.

Can anybody say, "MacAuthur"? as in MacAuthur vs Truman?

McChrystal has reported his military assessment of what is required in order for the U.S. to do the job in Afghanistan. He is as I understand it considered a soldier of extraordinary ability and integrity. He is now being rebuked for political reasons. This does not seem at all fair.

Well its too bad yet again that a politician who's sole military experience comes from reading Tom Clancy novels (Biden) thinks he knows how to run a war for us..

If the general doesnt like it he can always do the honorable thing and resign, after all thats what a few hundred senior officers did during the previous administartion over torture, rendition, and other issues that have come under severe condemnation upheld by the fact and the law.
God Bless Joe Biden!

In the photo accompanying the article, McCrystal gives the appearance of being unrespectful and in fact, perhaps full of hatred towards the President he supposedly serves. Is it possible, McCrystal's background has touches of White Supremcy mixed with Right-Wing Evangelical Christianity? Perhaps, despite his history and skill with Special Forces Operations, he is not a man whose intelligence and judgement is subtle enough to deal with a very ambiguous and complex situation without any simple answers or simplistic solution..........

Well what did you expect from the known liar and political general McChrystal? He should have been forcibly retired after the Tillman debacle.

So, Natalie Maines disagrees with the US President and says so on "foreign soil" and all heal breaks loose among "conservatives." But, a US General blunty and publically says he will not support the policies of the President ON FOREIGN SOIL and the same people (who were so outraged by Ms. Maines) say NOTHING! Can you say HYPOCRISY!?

The text of Johanna Neuman's article was decent. The title and ending were tabloid journalism. Nothing in her article supported her contention that the White House is furious with Gen McChrystal. That may be the case, but she offered nothing of substance to support it. Also, she clearly doesn't know what a dressing down is.

My advice, Johanna: stick to the facts and avoid the sensationalism.

Gen McChrystal had two options if he disagreed with Biden's strategy. The normal procedure would be to call the White House and privately express his concern. The fact that he went public indicates that a) he thinks Biden's approach would be a very serious mistake, and b) he expected the White House to order him to be silent.

As a good soldier, Gen McChrystal may resign if the White House ignores his expertise in this matter - the very reason they appointed him in the first place. Resigning will allow him to speak freely about the situation. On the other hand, he may feel he offers our troops the best chance of success and safety if they are ordered to pursue an unwise course of action.

I personally don't know if any strategy will lead to a successful outcome in Afghanistan, especially since the administration can't even define what "success" means to them. Afghanistan has been a quagmire for thousands of years. As a retired military officer, I do have two pieces of advice. We need to vastly improve our intelligence programs so we have better information to base our decisions and strategies on. Also, our civilian leadership needs to think things through much better before sending in the troops.

This story may not have been much of a story at all, if Obamas ego was not so fragile.

After eight years we're no closer to winning this war than before. Just like Vietnam.

Well, remember that McChrystal is the one responsible for all the lies around Pat Tillman's death, so it seems pretty obvious that this guy has no morals and shouldn't be trusted. In fact, he should be dishonorably discharged from the military.

Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal tried the traditional approach of sending his report up the chain of command, but it got leaked and Obama tried to stifle the report. Too many Americans know what is in the report and know what Gen. McChrystal says is true. I understand that Obama has been successful at ducking making real important decisions all his life, but time has run out. Obama you have three choices right now: do the Buffoon Biden Plan, do nothing, or listen to the real generals and supply them with what they need NOW!

sure, let him wait for the great one to make a decision. And how in the world can the General not agree with that great strategist joe biden. Thank goodness for good men who speak their mind. Thank goodness for Generals in the field and not politicians. Oh, please protect us from the likes of obama/biden

Since when did it become V.P. Joe Biden's job to forecast military strategy to the public much less our enemies. He is keeping up with his pattern of hopping around with one foot in his mouth. These are sad times when politicians plan military strategy that compromise the safety of our brave men and women serving in the armed forces. And in the end, they compromise our freedom. Joe's a real "stand up" kind of guy, but he needs to keep his mouth shut when it comes to military matters.

The movie 7 days in May comes to mind, a popular general telling the President what is the acceptable tactics and publically challenging the Presidents civilian strategy towards the cold war. I think Obama needs to understand sometimes confrontation is necessary to lead.
Fire him or he he can resign. Truman set the standard with Mac Arthur.

What was the General thinking? Regardless of his tactical views he has endangered American lives by publicly discussing strategies.

Many of us have come to realize that the appointments of President Obama have been less that impressive or effective in management of crises at critical mass, and VP Joe Biden is a glaring example of one unable to articulate issues without subsequent correction and explanation as he is supposedly positioned to second guess the military strategies and tactics developed by General Officer of the US Army, Stanley McCrystal? It should be noted that the officer corps of the US Marine Corps is considerably smaller and less competitive that that of the US Army.

President Obama having run for office as having been a "community organizer," a legal advisor for ACORN, has no reported "military experience," he voted a non-committal "present" while in the US Senate.

It is frightening that he embarks on a repeat of the Vietnam fiasco managed by then Defense Secretary McNamara, who felt civilian "tenders" were better positioned to oversee military options, repeated today by Defense Secretary Gates and the "spin master" from his Pentagon suite, both were carried over from the Bush administration.

McNamara published a book of anguish over his "mistakes," there have been no reported "resurrections" of those whose lives were the fodder of his policies, nor remedies for the countless veterans of that conflict forever maimed and disabled. And now Afghanistan follows the folly of Iraq with a novice in the White House and the "cast of characters" of that administration.

MacArthur time!!!!

[President Truman decided MacArthur was insubordinate, and relieved him of command on April 11, 1951]

Obama. worry more about Islamic Terrorist!, instead of wanting to read them their Miranda Rights!

Truman fired MacArthur for very nearly the same violation of civilian control over the military. When a General-grade office states that "he would not support it", I believe that immediate dismissal is absolutely mandatory if we are to re-establish who is the Commander-in-Chief.

The administration is looking for a solution that won't anger their core base too much. Less direct contact, more drones, special forces, instead of traditional feet on the ground approach. Anything to not send more troops. The former approach only works if the local government can stand the up by itself, which it clearly can't. The reality is if we expect to achieve our objective, a stable government in Afghanistan that wont be an incubator for terrorists, then we will need more troops. The war in Afghanistan was not particularly well run by the Bush administration. Looks like Obama isn't getting off to such a hot start either.

I would think General McChrystal is more qualified to speak his displeasure on this than President Obama (who has never served) or Vice President Biden. Listen to your advisers White House, they know more than you do.

Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal aka George Patton !

Seems to me he don't want the job. You don't earn 3 stars by dressing down.

Whose advice would you take, an Army General who is intimately familiar with the military situation or a former community organizer who cannot even help Chicago land the Olympics?

McChrystal, for all his achievements as a military man, needs a refresher course in the Constitutional authority of the person in the White House, the Commander-in-Chief, and the chain-of-command.

Today I also read that Robert Gates was assuring everyone that the military would obey direction from the White House on military policy in Afghanistan. Since when does the Secretary of Defense need to reassure people concerning this basic Constitutional principle? Does he know something about the thinking of our military lords that the rest of us don't know?

Insubordination to the Commander in Chief can be dangerous to one's career.

Stanley McCrystal (3 stars) - you're no Douglas MacArthur (5 stars & MOH.)

And we know how that turned out.

Have you actually read what McChrystal said, or are you content to speculate and malign McChrystal on the basis of nothing more than "he said, she said" rumors?

Oddly, people who have actually bothered to inform themselves don't see anything wrong, insubordinate, or even particularly controversial in McChrystal's ACTUAL REMARKS.

And that's from a Democrat who isn't a hawk. The "Chaosistan" remark was not a reference to Biden's strategy (which, by the way, isn't official and so McChrystal is hardly being "insubordinate" in saying that not following the CURRENT strategy - which Obama gave him is something he doesn't support!):

"A paper has been written that recommends that we use a plan called ‘Chaosistan’, and that we let Afghanistan become a Somalia-like haven of chaos that we simply manage from outside."

You really should be ashamed of such shoddy journalism. Read the speech:

http://www.iiss.org/EasysiteWeb/getresource.axd?AssetID=31537&type=full&servicetype=Attachment

If I can find it, surely someone who practices journalism for a living ought to be able to do so.

Generals, for most part, are part of the republican party, the ones with one track mind, or as the retarded from Crawford, TX put it:"My way or the highway". Generals are just like politicians. They care more for promitons than the good of the country. Just like republicans come as "patriotic" as George Washington crossing the Delaware river, in actuality they are any thing but patriotic. Theirs is just another slogan, "death panels" infomercials to detour the truth, and become dissenters are any cost, but not if it involves their pockets. They, including the generals, aren't that "patriotic".

Joe Biden, military strategist? saw the results of this guy's military genius 35 yrs ago in the bloodbaths in Vietnam and Cambodia - heaven help the folks in Iraq and Afghanistan caught in the vacuum created when we abandon them to their fates

President Obama SHOULD be furious!!!
How dare McChrystal question his Commander-in-Chief!!
Or speak out to the press about his dislikes of the plan.
If one of McChrystal's soldiers spoke out to the press, or even questioned any order, he would be court-martialed!!
McChrystal should resign, and if he doesn't, President Obama should fire him!!

What a great photo op.
-
Mr community organizer discussing military strategy with top general. Notice the nobama eye contact? Notice the look of grave concern on general's face?
-
And meanwhile the brave men fighting the war dangle.

 
1 2 | »

Connect

Recommended on Facebook


Advertisement

In Case You Missed It...

About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
President Obama
Republican Politics
Democratic Politics


Categories


Archives
 



Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: