While I am certainly no constitutional scholar I know enough to understand that commissioned military officers have different rules while in uniform then the rest of us do. While they are certainly allowed to have personal opinions, when they have the uniform on they cannot say disparaging things about the civilian leadership of the armed forces. The leadership of our military is civilian for very good reasons; it is vital for a republic to survive. The list of people that cannot be publicly questioned is longer than I expected and include the Vice President, Governors (who serves as commander in chief of the national guard), The Secretary of Defense, and The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. Doing so can be grounds for a court martial.
Agreeing with what the general said is irrelevant. Even if he is correct (which I believe that he is) he didn't have the legal right to say it. They live a different life that is full of different rules. The ability to spout off your opinions on the leadership is just not allowed in the military. Imagine the chaos if they could just decide for themselves what orders they liked and which they did not?
I have a real problem with the forum in which he had chosen to express them. I also really think for before defending this man people need to question his judgement
- He had a very open and frank discussion with a freelance journalist. Freelancers don't have anyone to answer to. Another words, they are not worried about keeping access for their employers.
- The article was being written for Rolling Stone magazine; which lets just say. is left of center.
- He voted for Obama. If that isn't enough to question his judgement than I don't know what is. A man with his experience should have understood that electing a man that never led a Boy Scout troop let alone something as large and complicated as the US Government and the US Military would have a difficult time being up to the task. His political career has been highlighted by voting present.
- McChrystal is in charge of the latest effort to give medals to show restraint. While we don't know for sure if this is an instance of him following orders or he is personally the driving force behind this, it isn't a stretch to assume he is in favor of them as this didn't come up in the interview. He and his aides didn't seem to hold back.
- He has yet to fully explain what really happened to Pat Tillman. The Tillman family firmly believes that they were lied to. These questions are still not answered and should be. Their is compelling evidence that a cover up occured.
From what I have read from people who are retired military officers, they have all said that his comments don't quite reach the level of a court martial, but they do reach of the bar of being fired. The main question that must be answered is how these comments are going to affect the troops who are in the line of fire in Afghanistan. If they feel that their general is not 100% behind the plan, why would they be? Does this endanger their lives any more than they already are? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, then he must go.
Following the rules is mandatory in a military setting or people's lives will be put in more danger. The general showed a reckless disregard for these rules. The president has every right to take him out to the woodshed. I personally believe that firing him in the middle of war is not the best of ideas, but it just may be necessary.
The meeting between the President and the General has been moved and will be happening in about 15 minutes from now. So we will see if they are able to work out thier obvious differences.