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article imageOp-Ed: McChrystal's departure is world's loss

By Michael Bearak     Jun 24, 2010 in Politics
On Wednesday General Stanley McChrystal was relieved of his duty in leading the United States' troops in Afghanistan. Now roughly one-year after his appointment he has turned in his letter of resignation.
Stanley McChrystal is a four-star General in the United States Army. This is the man who led his troops to find Sadaam Hussein in 2003 and then in 2006 was the head of the group that located and killed Iraqi Al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and personally identified the remains of his body. The fact is McChrystal was no slouch and was far from being a "Classroom General."
Still, McChrystal and his troops violated Article 88 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, they openly criticized the White House. What we have to realize at this point, anyone who criticizes President Obama or anyone tied to him is going to pay a huge penalty. For McChrystal it was in some form or another losing his command.
There had to be little doubt in anyone's minds that if General Stanley McChrystal didn't resign his command then President Obama was going to strip him of it. Obama has not been a McChrystal fan since the Senate appointed him to lead our troops. McChrystal submitted a 66-page report to Defense Secretary Robert Gates which, in short, requested more troops to win the war in Afghanistan.
It was that report that put the President on the hot seat as he had to balance what his General was asking for and what his party was willing to do. In the end President Obama tried to appease everyone by giving more troops than the Democratic Party leaders were willing to send but less than what General McChrystal has requested.
This may have been the place where the two's relationship possibly turned sour, it could have been because the President of the United States has absolutely no understanding what McChrystal and the other U.S. troops are facing. I have to imagine it is hard for a man like McChrystal who has dedicated his life to serving and knowing he may die for our country to be questioned and dressed down by a man who wants nothing more than to climb the political ladder.
Stanley McChrystal graduated from West Point in 1976; he has been a student of the military seemingly his whole life. He has spent 34 years, over half of his life serving our country, protecting our country and doing jobs the rest don't have the stomach to do. Was it wrong for McChrystal's men to lash out at the White House? Yes, it is against military code and that incurs consequences. Does the White House have any clue what McChrystal is talking about when he discusses what he is seeing in the field? Other than Gates and maybe one or two other people, no. He might as well be talking in a foreign language at that point.
It isn't Obama's fault he hasn't served in the military, well let me say in combat. After all, before being a shortly lived U.S. Senator, and state Senator he was a community organizer, he "served" the people in that regards and he still serves the people today as the President of the United States.
Still, I find it hard to believe that it is in the best interest of the United States' military to remove him right now. He has only been in the position a year, disruption of upper management is always difficult and leads to a period of confusion and complication. It never seemed though that the relationship between McChrystal and Washington has been a smooth one. It definitely was not like Norman Schwarzkopf and the Washington of Bush Sr. Then again Schwarzkopf and McChrystal are two totally different people fighting different wars as well.
General McChrystal never asked to be in the spotlight, he asked to be allowed to serve his country and to lead its troops. He pursued a military career of service, not of going to black tie dinners and writing books. One should never bite the hand that feeds it, but we should be thanking McChrystal for his service, for his dedication. The rest of the World is left out once again question the decisions of a White House that has no understanding of how to lead its military, but seems to want to lead the World.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Stanley mcchrystal, Afghan war, President obama, Joe biden, United states military
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