MacArthur Park (McChrystal Blew Persuasion)
RICHARD HARRIS (or DONNA SUMMER): I will take my life into my hands and I will use it
…there are obvious issues of civil-military relations exposed by the general’s cringe-inducing quotes in the “Runaway General” article in Rolling Stone—and…his staff appear to be off the leash entirely, a command climate for which McChrystal is responsible…”
ROBERT CARO: While he was still in Korea, MacArthur, in defiance of Truman’s policies, had suggested that he meet on his own authority with the enemy commander to discuss a truce…The United States [journalist William] White felt, was in ‘perhaps the gravest and most emotional Constitutional crisis that the United States had known since the Great Depression…The issue was the supremacy, written and unwritten, that a century and a half had given to the civil government over the military.’”
If Kristol is representative, perhaps the right will behave with some grace, but that is probably hoping against hope. Unhappily, I think it is more likely we will see them try to portray this like some did in the Truman-MacArthur spat---in the recall of then Senate Aide George Reedy:
“the widespread belief that a patriot with a program to end a war was being shoved aside by an Administration that was incompetent and possibly infested with traitors.”
Actually, with Limbaugh and Beck, we would be lucky if they conceded the word “possibly.”
Still, some on the left might want to recall and reflect upon the fact that there was a time when they criticized as a traitor a General who deferred to civilian authority and parroted the civilian government’s party line before a Congressional Committee.
His name was General David Petraeus, who MoveOn famously slurred as “General Betray Us.”
At the time I was on a blogging furlough, but the stupidity of the attack caused me to post on a thread on Daily Gotham:
“I am reminded of when Hank Morris got into the shouting match with Father O'Hare at the Campaign Finance Board. There is no advantage to getting down and dirty, personal and nasty, with Priests and Decorated Combat Veterans. And, if there's no advantage, why should a group which ostensibly cares about its cause do such a thing?
When dealing with even the most disreputable of such characters (and Petraeus hardly seems the worst; he's both obeying the chain of command, and deferring to his elected superior; and sadly, he may even believe this stuff) politely and firmly honor their positions, and make your case, but don't gloat or snarl; it doesn't look good.”
Leftists essentially called Petraeus a traitor for following his constitutional mandate to deferring to his elected civilian superiors. They should have been ashamed then, and McChrystal should be ashamed now. He had every opportunity to aggressively make his case through channels, and if that didn’t satisfy him, he had every opportunity to turn in his resignation.
It was McChrystal’s duty to have his argument with the President; but it was also his duty to have it in private.
He is the real General Betray-Us.
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