Remarks made about the Commander and Chief and Senior Obama administration officials by General Stanley McChrystal and his senior staff were neither political or PR savvy.
Reporter Michael Hastings apparently had an easy time of it spending a little “quality time” with the general and his own senior staff during what they either naively thought were “off the record” moments with the reporter. It’s amazing what a Rolling Stone reporter can learn by buying beer for some hotshot senior staffers in a Paris bar!
In any event, the fraternity attitude may not have been communicated to Hastings by accident. Clearly, McChrystal and his staff have a sorted history with the Obama administration and the General himself has been hauled on the West Wing carpet before this latest gab fest.
I’m not certain that senior military advisors say stuff like this by accident. Clearly there exists – at least among those quoted in this profile of General McChrystal – a degree of animosity toward the current administration. And while insubordination – especially by military officers of their civilian commanders – is unacceptable, it begs the question: Can the Commander and Chief demand respect?
It appears that while the President may have made quick work of McChrystal and some of his top aides, there may be a much bigger and more fundamental problem at work here – one that suggests a degree of bitterness and distrust between those who carry out the mission and those who give the order.
For the sake of all of our military, for America’s long-term security and military strength, let’s hope this is an isolated incident of a few guys who forgot, at least momentarily, that when you are dealing with a reporter – NOTHING is off the record!