This piece was co-authored by Buckley Carlson
Of the many interesting narratives swirling around the Obama/McChrystal saga, the least explored to date – less than 24 hours in – are these vaguely subtle, dual messages put forth by Democrats and their not-so-silent brethren in the mainstream media: 1) President Obama’s swift dismissal of General McChrystal demonstrates his solid command of the military, his decisive nature, and his commitment to success in Afghanistan; and 2) that McChrystal is just one more cobwebbed item on a forgotten back shelf of the Presidential pantry, another staple of the Bush administration, whose expiration date has come and gone.
Both narratives are absurd, dishonest to their core, and also dependent upon each other for proverbial oxygen; let us now quickly asphyxiate them both, giving them – and us – some deserved mercy.
As news of the Rolling Stone piece hit the airways on Tuesday, and Obama issued his royal summons to General McChrystal, he was careful to assert that he’d need to speak with him, “in person,” prior to making any final decisions regarding his continued command of the Afghan war effort.
If any of the court stenographers who comprise the majority of the White House Press Pool were convinced by this supposedly detached, unemotional reserve, they should have been paying closer attention to imperial mouthpiece, Robert Gibbs (and to give proper credit, ABC’s Jake Tapper clearly was paying attention).
For it was the sneering, dour, Gibbs who delivered the public shiv in the ribs to McChrystal, saying it was as yet undetermined whether McChrystal was “capable and mature enough” to lead the war effort in Afghanistan. Ouch. Harsh words…and also compelling testament that General McChrystal’s fate was sealed well in advance of his half-hour meeting with President Obama.
A White House disingenuous with the facts, willing to stage manage and choreograph an important meeting, the outcome of which has already been decided? What? Loaded with precedent, hardly newsworthy, you say? Perhaps.
But the real question should be: if General McChrystal is incapable and immature, who’s responsibility is that? And whose failure? Whose leadership, experience, and judgment are called into question?
And where, exactly, does “the Buck” stop, again? Is it at Bush’s feet, propped, cowboy-booted, on a coffee table somewhere in the Dallas suburbs these last 18 months?
Or, is this, finally, a “crisis” that Obama owns, and owns alone?