Special Comment: Keep McChrystal

I could not disagree with Olbermann more on this Special Comment.  His argument is that Obama should decline General McChrystal’s resignation because a) It would avoid more flack from the right; and b) it would force McChrystal’s loyalty.  These arguments are as stupid as McChrystal’s decision to do the interview with Rolling Stone in the first place.

First, if we’ve learned anything from the past 18 months of Obama’s presidency, it’s that there is no respite from the right.  They’d hate him if he chose Corn Pops over Honey Smacks.  He can’t win with that crowd and to keep McChrystal, not to even to please the right but to simply avoid their wrath on this issue, is an exercise in futility.

Furthermore, a soldier’s loyalty to his commanding officer shouldn’t be forced.  Olbermann suggests that Obama should keep McChrystal’s resignation in his desk, as if the President somehow needs that slip of paper to accept the general’s resignation or to remind the general of his impudence.  You don’t get to mouth off about your commanding officer. Otherwise, it sends a signal to every soldier that you can disrespect your commanding officer and he should turn the other cheek.

Olbermann compares McChrystal’s criticism of Obama to that of generals under Bush who disagreed with the former President’s strategies and rational for the Iraq War.  But Olbermann misses a key distinction: the generals under Bush weren’t criticizing the President himself, but his decisions.  McChrystal undermined the Commander-in-Chief as an individual.  This wasn’t to save lives or promote a particular battlefield strategy.  It was a snotty remark just like the ones he made about other members of Obama’s administration.

Olbermann makes another poor argument by comparing this situation to Truman’s firing of General MacArthur.  Except McChrystal isn’t MacArthur.  He’s not considered a national hero.  I imagine that most Americans had never heard his name before today, or if they had they forgot five seconds later.

The choice of a general shouldn’t be a political calculation.  It should be what’s best for the troops on the ground.  Olbermann admits that McChrystal isn’t irreplaceable, so replace him.  Get someone who respects the chain of command.  I don’t care that McChrystal feels that way about people in Obama’s administration.  I care that he was stupid enough to tell it to a reporter.  Do we want a guy this dim-witted running what has become the longest war in our nation’s history?

I think Obama should fire McChrystal and here’s why: because if he doesn’t, it’s yet another capitulation on our President’s part.  It’s the same thing he’s done with Republicans, Wall Street, BP, and everyone else who knows that this President doesn’t do retribution.  Obama’s behavior is almost libertarian in the belief that, as one of my college professors put it, “Everything would be nice if people were just nice.”  Well, yeah. No one gives a shit that Obama has a stern reprimand when there’s no action behind it. You’re a conservative Democrat who doesn’t want to extend jobless benefits because you’re a deficit hawk? Well, I guess our country has no choice but to yield to you, the Senator from fucking Nebraska. So let’s make a deal because why should the President of the United States have any real power?

I find Olbermann’s cynical, empty-headed argument to be a painful disappointment. Watch the Special Comment after the jump and judge for yourself.

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Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010 politics, stupid, television

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