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General McChrystal and the Lost Opportunity to Teach Obama a Thing or Two

Posted on June 27 2010 8:00 am
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General Stanley McChrystal should have told Barack Obama what General James Scott (“Gentleman Jim”) had told President Jordan Lyman fifty years ago:

Listen, Mr. President, you have lost the respect of the country. Your policies have brought us to the edge of disaster. Business does not trust you. Military morale has sunk to the lowest point in thirty years. I must say further, Mr. President, that it borders on criminal negligence not to take some immediate action. If you persist in that path, I shall have no recourse as a patriotic American but to go to the country with the facts.

At this point, some of the readers probably start loosing faith in my sanity. What President Lyman?! Who was that mysterious General Scott?! Where has this crazy writer found what “Gentleman Jim” had pronounced in his monologue?!

Well, I’m not crazy (not yet, anyway). I simply failed to warn the readers at the beginning of the article that I was going to quote from the prominent 1962 novel by Fletcher Knebel and Charles Bailey, Seven Days in May. (By the way, I first read that novel, translated into Russian, in the late 1960s, when it enjoyed enormous popularity in the former Soviet Union).

However, we know what General McChrystal had said before he was summoned to the White House. As reported by Human Events on June 24:

McChrystal, handpicked by Defense Secretary Robert Gates to turn around an eight-year war, clearly derides Obama as commander in chief. He says the President seemed “uncomfortable” and “intimidated” when he met with the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon’s secure meeting room known as the tank. An aide describes his first meeting with Obama at the White House as a “photo-op,” as opposed to a substantive meeting.

The military is finally telling the unvarnished truth about President Obama‘s dysfunctional national security team.

Of course, General McChrystal apologized publicly for his remarks, saying that he actually strongly supports the President’s strategy in Afghanistan. But what he didn’t say is much more important — he never acknowledged that his scornful opinion of his Commander-in-Chief was erroneous.

I sometimes imagine what one of the most distinguished American military leaders, the outspoken General McArthur, would’ve said to President Obama, had the General been alive today. (In 1951, as we know, President Truman had fired General McArthur for pretty much the same reason that President Obama has fired General McChrystal – for making public statements critical of the official policies of the president.)

But I won’t use any imagination in writing this fictitious speech; I will just quote literally several remarkable statements that had been made by General McArthur over the years – the statements, which the four-star General McChrystal should have made in his face-to-face encounter with our Community Organizer-in-Chief:

Mr. President, “I am concerned for the security of our great Nation; not so much because of any threat from without, but because of the insidious forces working from within.”

“Duty, Honor, Country. Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be.”

“It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.”

“In war there is no substitute for victory.”

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