On the Firing of General McChrystal

The unchecked hanging of pejorative labels on the civilians in control of policy for the war by subordinates of General McChrystal was nothing more than mirroring the top man, ingratiating themselves in the boss’s eyes. Toadying, at its best. Saying what he could not say, but what he, apparently, liked to hear, as insider jokes, given his civilian orders that probably went against his military considerations. That’s probably why the remarks reported were tolerated by him. There was little or no respect for the civilian authority and it came out. Can the military leadership have the purview of the situation that the political leaders have? The premise is that the military forces cannot and will not share the ultimately more important view of the political, or policy-making situation of the civilian leadership.

I was a grunt in the service. I heard it. I heard that stuff in other hierarchical organizations. Sometimes, I think the grumbles should be tolerated and heard and dignified by a response. Come down off your high-horse, fellas. There may be kernels of wisdom in such. Turn the grumbles into positive contributions and democratic participation.


Retain the civilian control. But listen! Learn! Toughen your thin skin! I do not hink that the civilian control was anywhere near being jeopardized by the grunts’ talk. Certainly no coup coup d’etat was afoot, was there? Hah! The troops will talk, won’t they. That’s how they participate. That’s the only way most of them can participate. But those guys were higher-ups. They should have been more guarded. After all, they were very close to the decision making. Subordinates’ input to General Eisenhauer was what made the difference between Hitler’s way of commanding and Ike’s. And, too, the winning of that war, studies show.