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Good news for bad guys: Gen. Stanley McChrystal hangs up his beret; Is politics next?

June 29, 2010 |  3:02 am


Sacked last week by Democratic President Obama as the military commander in Afghanistan, four-star general Stanley McChrystal has notified the Army that he intends to retire.

The long-time Special Forces soldier, who spent 34 of his 55 years in the military, has yet to turn in the paperwork, but he's already informed the Pentagon retirement folks that he'll be leaving. Obama has named President Bush's favorite general, David Petraeus, to return to the battlefield as McChrystal's replacement.

McChrystal and his tough-talking aides were way too candid within earshot of a Rolling Stone writer in recent weeks. It was , as VP Joe "Smartass" Biden would put it, "a big effing deal." Bluntness is admired in battle but less so when dealing with....

...daintier civilian political leaders; so, McChrystal joins a long line of fine military commanders, including George S. Patton, fired for their unrefined words away from the fragrance of cordite. 

The tumult, which drew radioed glee from a Taliban leader, is not helpful to the allied war effort, coming one year and a few days before Obama's promised withdrawal start from the war-torn land where the U.S. has been fighting since 2001.

General Stanley McChrystal and Democrat president Barack Obama in the Oval office

So what's next for the spartan-living soldier who eats once a day and sleeps four hours a night if necessary?

He hasn't said. But a handsome book deal is no doubt available for the asking, detailing his long life as a soldier, tracking down and removing the head of al-Qaeda in Iraq and any number of other previously classified escapades.

TV commentator? Maybe, if they use a seven-second delay switch. But McChrystal's no Fox News fan.

At only 55, the about-to-be-retired general from a military family no doubt has another career in him. Politics perhaps? Allahpundit speculates McChrystal could eventually set his eye on a Senate seat, maybe in 2014. The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder notes McChrystal is a political liberal who rejected the Navy POW John McCain in 2008 and voted for the cool guy who would fire him.

Hmm. Clearly the aging Biden served his gravitas purpose in 2008 and will not make the 2012 Democrat ticket, finally hanging up his Gaffe-ometer.

So, what about an Obama-McChrystal ticket? The current president did go out of his way to heap praise on the soldier he had just canned. And having a war general as partner would certainly undercut the Republicans' ancient political patent on the national security issue.

But c'mon. That's preposterous -- the smooth-talking ex-state senator who still smokes and did drugs before he learned how to salute and the blunt-spoken, killer general who runs seven miles for breakfast and tells it like it is, no matter the cost?

Why, that scenario would be as weird as, say, Obama appointing a bitter political rival to his own Cabinet as secretary of State.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times; Pete Souza / White House.