One thing is clear, the military should not have allowed the reporter access to their private opinions. While improper, this can be fixed: The civilian public relations person has been fired, and McChrystal has apologized and has been replaced by Gen. David Petraeus.
The message is more sobering and harder to fix: The private opinions included in the article create a picture of an incompetent administration. _
This same incompetence was on display in an article titled "The Spill, the Scandal and the President," by Tim Dickinson, (Rolling Stone Magazine, June 24, 2010).
"Like the attacks by al-Qaida, the disaster in the Gulf was preceded by ample warnings -- yet the administration had ignored them," wrote Dickinson. "Instead of cracking down on MMS, as he had vowed to do even before taking office, Obama left in place many of the top officials who oversaw the agency's culture of corruption.
"On April 6th of last year, less than a month after BP submitted its application, MMS gave the oil giant the go-ahead to drill in the Gulf without a comprehensive environmental review ... issuing only a mild suggestion that would prove prescient: 'Exercise caution while drilling due to indications of shallow gas.'"
The article goes on to note the obvious mistakes on the BP application that apparently had not been thoroughly reviewed.
"It had taken a full week after Deepwater Horizon exploded for the government to become fully engaged -- a critical lapse that allowed the crisis to spiral out of control." During this time, Dickenson noted, Obama spent a weekend on vacation with the first lady eating ribs and staying at "the Grove Park Inn, a golf resort and spa."
The contrast between Obama's Vanity Fair and McChrystal's dystopia is vivid. Obama, by focusing on the comments attributed primarily by unnamed aides, appears more interested in disport than in leading. We need a commander in chief who not only holds the position of power, but also uses it to lead effectively.