MacArthur vs. McChrystal

When I heard that General Stanley McChrystal, the man running the show in Afghanistan, had mouthed off about Obama to Rolling Stone and could conceivably be fired, my first thought turned to the conflict between MacArthur and Truman that helped destroy Truman’s presidency. If you don’t remember, Truman ended up firing MacArthur after the general became publicly insubordinate about how to deal with China, which was fighting against us in the Korean War. Honestly, MacArthur deserved to be sacked and McChrystal probably does, : too, after being dumb enough to pop off about Obama and his : administration to Rolling Stone. So, are conservatives backing McChrystal and warning Obama not to fire him? Maybe some of them are, but if so, they’re hiding themselves pretty well.

Why is that? Well, in North Korea, the Republicans were very upset about what they viewed as the half-hearted effort on Truman’s part to win the war. Although : there is some of that sentiment today, it’s not nearly as pronounced. Moreover, MacArthur was one of the greatest generals our country has ever had. McChrystal? He’s a talented guy, a smart guy, but I really have not heard a lot of praise for what he’s doing in Afghanistan. In fact, as often as not, when people mention McChrystal these days, they’re complaining about his ridiculously restrictive rules of engagement.

So, in the end, McChrystal is not MacArthur and whatever Obama decides to do, he shouldn’t expect any big blowback if he fires him. That being said, at the end of day, it’s Barack Obama, not McChrystal, who is going to be held ultimately responsible for how things turn out in Afghanistan. Obama should keep that in mind.

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