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23 June 2010 @ 02:43 pm
General Dissent  
From Slacktivist:

Taegan Goddard reports:

President Obama has relieved Gen. Stanley McChrystal of his command over remarks made to Rolling Stone magazine.

Well, no, not really.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal lost his command because he had lost the map. Those remarks showed that he seemed to think he outranked the democratically elected civilian government it was his job to serve.

McChrystal's remarks, and even more so those of his staff, showed that he was openly contemptuous of not just the particular civilians of this particular government, but of the whole idea that generals should be accountable to such mere civilian representatives of mere civilian citizens.

He was openly contemptuous, in other words, of democracy.

And since a huge part of his job in Afghanistan involved nurturing and developing the habits and institutions of democracy, McChrystal's remarks showed that he wasn't up to that job. His remarks displayed a preference for the habits and institutions of a military Banana Republic.

A general does not outrank the vice president of the United States. A general does not outrank the vice president of the local Lions Club. A general does not outrank the vice principal of the local elementary school.

Generals who forget that tend to start giving orders to such civilians. And then they start enforcing them.

I really don't have much to add, though thoughtsdriftby did note that such a summary dismissal of a registered Republican just gave the neocons a martyr—and a new pundit. "Look at how the Administration suppresses and punishes opposing viewpoints!"

Paka: pied crowpaka on June 23rd, 2010 09:58 pm (UTC)
such a summary dismissal of a registered Republican just gave the neocons a martyr—and a new pundit.

Yeah, but the thing about Republicans is, no matter what happens, they manage to make it into a big moral victory for their side. There's no way the Obama Administration can come out of this without being made to look bad, so they may as well remove a subordinate who shows active contempt for the chain of command, and who has established a precedent for doing so when things become more critical.
Tombfyretombfyre on June 23rd, 2010 10:23 pm (UTC)
Yeesh, that's definitely a political shitstorm waiting to happen. They'll definitely have a new golden boy to put up on a platform of martyrdom.
(Deleted comment)
Hinoki D'Cheetahhinoki on June 24th, 2010 02:49 am (UTC)
Sounds painfully familiar.
Kinda what the Democrats do to any Republican president.

It's just politics as usual.
Corsethgalis on June 23rd, 2010 11:43 pm (UTC)
For the record (and for two of the broad-brush posts above), I'm conservative and military, and I think McChrystal overstepped his bounds. It doesn't matter if you disagree with your chain of command, or don't like them - that's a private issue between you and them that needs to stay behind closed doors, not something to air to the press. And whether or not he likes it, he serves the constitution which puts the president as commander in chief. As a rule of thumb, when one is tempted to badmouth other people - keep your mouth shut. Rarely does anything good come of it, whether or not it's deserved.
leonard_arlotteleonard_arlotte on June 24th, 2010 02:37 am (UTC)
Republicans hate Democrats, and find fault in everything they do.

Democrats hate Republicans, and find fault in everything they do.

Neither will budge on their positions.

Both claim the moral high ground.

Both say the other side is evil and stupid.

Both say their side knows what needs to be done to fix everything.


I'm starting to ponder moving to China.
rodant_kapoor: Krystal Can't Enjoy Her Sandwichrodant_kapoor on June 24th, 2010 04:45 pm (UTC)
False Equivalencies
Kinda what the Democrats do to any Republican president.

Um, no. Both major parties have their hateful, nutty fringes, but on the left it tends to be loudmouthed bloggers and the occasional weird congresscritter. In the GOP, the willingness to tear down manifests all the way up to the party leadership.

A single example: The ranking GOP member of the House Oversight & Government Reform committee (Darrell Issa) has already promised that if the Republicans win the House, “we’re going to subpoena everything. I will use it to get the very information that today the White House is either shredding or not producing.” It's not clear what will be investigated, but it is very like the GOP fishing expeditions against the Clinton Administration that started in 1995.

In contrast, when the Democrats took control of the House in 2007, not a single individual in any leadership position was willing to investigate the Bush Administration despite serious allegations of abuse of power (an impeachable offense), warrantless surveillance of citizens (a felony), and torture (a war crime!).

So while it's true that haters gotta hate, at the moment it's only the GOP that gives those haters power to act. Any attempt to equate the two parties on that score is creating a false equivalency.

Where the parties ARE equivalent is that neither of them gives a damn about the people they supposedly represent.
Hinoki D'Cheetahhinoki on June 25th, 2010 04:03 pm (UTC)
Re: False Equivalencies
Um, yes.
Clinton busted on Bush. Reagan busted on Carter.
Wash, rinse, repeat.

It is politics as usual.

'This has all happened before. It will all happen again.'

Until we finally give up the partisan bs, that is.
I hope to survive t that day.
rodant_kapoor: Krystal Can't Enjoy Her Sandwichrodant_kapoor on June 25th, 2010 04:44 pm (UTC)
Re: False Equivalencies
Sorry if I was unclear; I was trying to keep my reply short (it didn't work). Working to defeat the opposition (and blame them for their policy failures) is politics as usual. Working to demonize and destroy them has traditionally been the bailiwick of powerless extremists. Right now, however, extremists hold leadership positions in the GOP, making these unusual times.

• Clinton blaming Bush 41 for the state of the economy: Politics as usual.
• GOP congress investigating the White House and impeaching Clinton for perjury, obstruction of justice, and malfeasance in office: Highly unusual.
• Obama blaming Bush 43 for the state of the economy: Politics as usual.
• Ranking committee leader promising to investigate the White House if the GOP wins control of the House: Highly unusual.

This has all happened before.

You are so right. It's history playing silly buggers with us, I fear.