On June 23, President Obama fired Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of all U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan for insubordination. The firing came after Rolling Stone magazine published a profile of McChrystal in which McChrystal dismissed ignoramus Vice President Joe Biden, McChrystal's aides disparaged President Obama's "uncomfortable and intimidated" attitude around military figures, and McChrystal's advisers ripped into Ambassador Karl Eikenberry and Special Representative to Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke, as well as National Security Adviser Jim Jones.
As soon as the profile hit the presses, the media universally condemned McChrystal. The Washington Post suggested that there was "widespread recognition among military and political officials that McChrystal had crossed an almost sacred line in criticizing his civilian chain of command." Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC stated that McChrystal had to go based on his failure to abide by military tradition. Of course, these are the same folks who also believe that soldiers who break military regulations on sexual activity are heroic martyrs, so it is difficult to take their outrage seriously here.
The Obama administration was predictably outraged. Robert Gibbs, his jaw jutting forward like a fat male Keira Knightley, uttered short, clipped sentences, a physical manifestation of President Obama's wounded ego. "The magnitude and graveness of this mistake are profound," said Gibbs, demonstrating a rage this administration has never shown with regard to Iran, the Taliban, or al-Qaida, among others. He questioned whether McChrystal was "capable and mature enough" to lead troops in Afghanistan -- an astonishing critique given that this administration handpicked McChrystal to lead the mission in Afghanistan.
Most of all, the Obama administration and its friends trotted out that old meme, "distraction," to explain why it had to get rid of McChrystal. "We're distracting from an enormously important mission," said Gibbs. In fact, said Gibbs, the distraction was actually President Obama's top concern with McChrystal's comments.
This seems unlikely. Then-Sen. Obama made a career from bashing the U.S. war efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq in ways that were guaranteed to distract from the missions. For example, he accused American troops in Afghanistan of "just air-raiding villages and killing civilians." He stated that American troops who had given the fullest measure in Iraq had "wasted" their lives. Distraction from the war effort isn't exactly a foreign concept to President Obama.