As usual, a Financial Times columnist has one of the best insights into the news. Christopher Caldwell correctly says that the McChrystal episode is more like Gen. Patton’s press problems than McArthur’s. McChrystal was not insubordinate or disloyal. He was too much soldier and not enough politician.
I’m unhappy with McChrystal for his role in the Pat Tillman friendly fire cover-up. But I suspect that his special forces were largely responsible for eliminating much of al-Qaeda in Iraq and producing whatever “victory” we had there. He was just a good man doing his job. Perhaps given his “black” background, he got promoted beyond his competency level. Maybe he should never have been more than a colonel or brigadier general running relatively small teams of exceptionally brave men. And it’s not clear that his “black” tactics would have worked as a strategy in Afghanistan. But he was loyal to his country and his superiors. His staff may have spoken improperly, but he was not insubordinate. He did not refuse to carry out any order that I’m aware of. As a veteran, not a particularly brave one but one nevertheless, I am worried that a lot of cowardly wusses in the press screamed for his head, and they got it. They, like most Americans today, have little idea what it means to serve this country. We should restore the draft.