Jewish World Review June 25, 2010 / 13 Tamuz 5770
We Just Can't Have This, Or: Why the General Had to Go
By Paul Greenberg
"The President shall be Commander in Chief of the
Article II, Section 2
It's not exactly a state secret that
But such judgments can safely be left to opposition politicians, inky wretches and the whole legion of kibitzers and second-guessers that populate public life. A general in the field, who has his own chain of command to protect and preserve, shouldn't be mouthing off about his commander-in-chief, or even various civilian officials. Not in a republic that has always subordinated the military to civil authority. But that's what Gen.
Nor does the general deny it; instead, he's been apologizing for it. But there is no excuse for such insubordination; there is only appropriate discipline. Even the greenest second lieutenant knows that if he lets some private or sergeant get away with sassing him, he's just established a new standard of conduct for the whole outfit, and it's not a high one. You'd think a four-star general would have learned as much by now. This one clearly hasn't. He's come entirely too close to the line before, but this time he's stepped well over it. And we, meaning We the People, just can't have this.
Once upon a time, namely in 1951, a president and commander-in-chief by the name of
But it had to be done, and
There are some things more important than political calculation, like the integrity of the chain of command.
There are some things a commander-in-chief cannot afford to ignore.
There are some displays of impudence that a president of
It doesn't matter what Stanley McChrystal and company may think of
As that earlier president summed up the general's attitude in his diary: "He's worse than the Cabots and the Lodges. They at least talked to one another before they told God what to do. Mac tells God right off."
It was inevitable that the general would go too far. And when he did, he had to go. It was as simple as that.
By relieving the Gen. McChrystal of his command, this time
The only thing this president really needed to tell General McChrystal at this point was: "You are dismissed." If he hadn't, he would have risked some honest confusion about just who is in charge of the armed forces of
General McChrystal, whose services to his country should be remembered with gratitude, had nevertheless become an obstacle to accomplishing the mission in
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