Tuesday, June 22, 2010

McChrystal airs his dirty laundry to Rolling Stone

In the latest issue of Rolling Stone magazine, Gen. Stanley McChrystal lashes out against President Obama and administration officials, and even some of the key advisers on running the War in Afghanistan.

As McChrystal leaned on Obama to ramp up the war, he did it with the same fearlessness he used to track down terrorists in Iraq: Figure out how your enemy operates, be faster and more ruthless than everybody else, then take the fuckers out. After arriving in Afghanistan last June, the general conducted his own policy review, ordered up by Defense Secretary Robert Gates. The now-infamous report was leaked to the press, and its conclusion was dire: If we didn't send another 40,000 troops – swelling the number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan by nearly half – we were in danger of "mission failure." The White House was furious. McChrystal, they felt, was trying to bully Obama, opening him up to charges of being weak on national security unless he did what the general wanted. It was Obama versus the Pentagon, and the Pentagon was determined to kick the president's ass.

The report also goes in-depth about McChrystal's days at West Point -- and how he learned the art of pissing off everyone you meet, and somehow escape the consequences of his behavior.

McChrystal entered West Point in 1972, when the U.S. military was close to its all-time low in popularity. His class was the last to graduate before the academy started to admit women. The "Prison on the Hudson," as it was known then, was a potent mix of testosterone, hooliganism and reactionary patriotism. Cadets repeatedly trashed the mess hall in food fights, and birthdays were celebrated with a tradition called "rat fucking," which often left the birthday boy outside in the snow or mud, covered in shaving cream. "It was pretty out of control," says Lt. Gen. David Barno, a classmate who went on to serve as the top commander in Afghanistan from 2003 to 2005. The class, filled with what Barno calls "huge talent" and "wild-eyed teenagers with a strong sense of idealism," also produced Gen. Ray Odierno, the current commander of U.S. forces in Iraq.

The son of a general, McChrystal was also a ringleader of the campus dissidents – a dual role that taught him how to thrive in a rigid, top-down environment while thumbing his nose at authority every chance he got. He accumulated more than 100 hours of demerits for drinking, partying and insubordination – a record that his classmates boasted made him a "century man." One classmate, who asked not to be named, recalls finding McChrystal passed out in the shower after downing a case of beer he had hidden under the sink. The troublemaking almost got him kicked out, and he spent hours subjected to forced marches in the Area, a paved courtyard where unruly cadets were disciplined. "I'd come visit, and I'd end up spending most of my time in the library, while Stan was in the Area," recalls Annie, who began dating McChrystal in 1973.

Now, McChrystal might not find his way out of this newest shitstorm he's created for himself -- he's being summoned to the White House by President Obama himself over the report.

Reading 4/6ths of the RS article, I think Gen. McChrystal is a brilliant guy, but a complete and total asshole who loves fucking with people because, as it's been show thought the years, he can get away with it. I have to question Obama's judgement on this one: just what the hell was he thinking in picking this dickhead as his top Gen. in Afghanistan?

Update by Jonathan: Duncan Boothby, an aide to Gen. McChrystal, has resigned today over the Rolling Stone article.
Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai comes out in full support of the General.
"The president believes that Gen. McChrystal is the best commander that NATO and coalition forces have had in Afghanistan over the past nine years," Omar said, adding that McChrystal has worked very closely with Karzai since he arrived and that "lots of things have improved."

2nd update: Joe Klien of Time magazine has reported to CNN that Gen. Staney McChrystal has resigned.

3rd Update: ... and apparently, the media got that headline wrong. McChrystal is only offering his resignation.


Anonymous said...

sometimes I think the President needs to grow a spine.

Jonathan said...

I couldn't agree with you more. Obama needs to start speaking for himslelf, not the Beltway insiders.

et said...

It is also time, IMO, to get rid of this myth that anyone in a uniform can Do No Wrong.

Anonymous said...

It's long past time for that.

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