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Obama fires decorated general, McChrystal
obama forces resignation of general mcchrystal

By Dan S Defense

June 23, 2010

Special Ops VS. Photo Ops

The McChrystal controversy just came to an ugly and sadly predictable end. President Obama decided that his ego, and the feelings of his political appointees, are more important than our interests in Afghanistan, and our troops on the ground. In a move that is bound to attract support from the Left and condemnation from the Right. Putting politics aside for a moment, let's consider what has happened and what may happen next.

If you are interested in the details of this unfortunate affair, read: The McChrystal -- Obama Controversy. Here I will focus on the fallout of these events. An honest and brave man lost his job for telling the truth while being foolish enough to put his faith in the hands of a reporter.

Obama opted to fire a respected and admired general in the middle of a war. He decided that the insults that were made public by the Rolling Stone reporter, and damaged his ego, far outweigh any benefit general McChrystal has to offer this country. There are several repercussions here.

First, this is a huge blow to the morale of our men and women in Afghanistan. General McChrystal earned their loyalty by being a honest and out spoken rather than politically savvy. He went on patrols with his men, and walked the path of combat himself, prior to committing them to it--and that's huge. As a soldier you look up to commanders who are themselves warriors and man of honor. You want to be like them when you grow up, and you will, as I once did, follow them to hell and back.

On the other hand, Obama and his administration can't get high marks from warriors on the ground. A community organizer who rose to power by leveraging vague promises and smooth talking, is no match to a man who's actions speak for themselves. It would be interesting to see if current men and women who serve, decide to leave the service of our armed forces, after seeing a man they admire, fired and humiliated by an inexperienced political leader.

Next let's look at the strategic repercussions. General McChrystal brought with him a new way of waging war in Afghanistan. He believed in sparing civilians and killing bad guys. He took a moral and practical approach, realizing that civilian casualties harm our cause and fuel support for insurgence. To ask troops to take fire from the enemy and not respond, takes serious credibility to back, and general McChrystal had that credibility. I would be very surprised to discover that after McChrystal is removed, troops will go back to fire first and look later, something that will amount to having more civilian casualties and therefore more enemies for us to deal with in future. Read this as having more casualties on both sides--how sad is this!

Finally, let's look at lessons learned for other serving generals. Any public disagreement with Obama and his administration would probably lead to termination. Speaking your mind is no longer an option and that's more than a shame--that's a dangerous precedence. In addition, the media can expect to be seen (and rightfully so) as a hostile force that seeks to sell papers rather than to tell a story. I'd be surprised if access to the media won't be tightened and fewer good stories surface as a result of this sad incident.

In summary this is a sad day for our military and our culture. General McChrystal will get over this and prosper. Men like him always do. But our country will pay a price for Obama's continued arrogance, and that's a shame, because the one's to pay the price will be our brave (and blameless) young men and women in Afghanistan. It's also a sad day for good reporting and a triumph for yellow journalism and reporters who use good and naive men in the worst and ugliest sort of way. It's a sad day for any decent person who truly gets what this sad episode means on several levels.

So, I'll leave you with this to ponder--had I been a member of our military today, as a combat troop in general or special operations warrior in particular, I'd hand over my resignation and refuse to serve under this Commander in Chief--a man who puts his own ego before anything else. How could I feel any sense of loyalty to a man who fired someone I held in high esteem and saw as a role model? I can't speak for others but I know what it is like to serve and again, seeing this happen over time will not surprise me at all. Time will tell how this plays out.

Until next time, stay safe by staying alert!

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