Thursday, June 24, 2010

McChrystal Clear...

Posted By on Thu, Jun 24, 2010 at 9:53 AM

...ly had his head up his ass when a Rolling Stone reporter was following him around. Why else would he speak so contemptuously about his bosses that he got himself fired before the article was even out in print?

Part of the reason, of course, is that the article was old news by the time I got the offending issue of Rolling Stone in the mail yesterday. It was posted online earlier this week and the controversy was in full swing by the time McChrystal showed up for his meeting with President Obama yesterday.

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Reading it in print — on glossy new pages with subscription cards falling out everywhere — was a little surreal. It was reminder of the disconnect between long-form journalism and the 24-hour news cycle we have gotten accustomed to... But I'll spare you the "gosh, the world moves awful fast these days" crap. I was reading it thinking this article ruined this guy's career; Most of the stuff in it is now past tense. So — as my girlfriend asked when I was explaining the situation to her — what did he say that was so bad?

Let's be honest. Most RS profiles are cool-porn. You get to read about another person doing cool things that you are unlikely to be doing yourself any time soon. Be the subject a drug-addled rockstar, a sex-addicted comedian, or in this case a "highly intelligent badass," the writer's goal is to bring you into the subject's inner sanctum and show you how they live in a nonstop state of cool.

In this case, the writer showed a smart, tough, career military man without much patience for politicians — looking smugly at his bosses seems to be part of his shtick. Whatever the reason — caught up in the spotlight, resentment, ego, etc — you can't bad-mouth your boss in Rolling Stone and expect no consequences.

There's a reason for civilian chain of command and this kind of subordination is not only counterproductive, it's potentially dangerous. Generals going rogue is how military juntas rise to power.

One final note...

Is it just me or does McChrystal sound like some hellish fast-food burger? Like some bizarro sci-fi future in which McDonald's and Krystal have merged to compete against the Burger King's White Castle empire?? Or is it just me?

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