Obama Makes It McChrystal Clear
Surprise! Sometimes a firing offense gets you fired.
''War is bigger than any one man or woman, whether a private, a general or a president,'' Obama said in the Rose Garden as he announced McChrystal's departure. ''As difficult as it is to lose Gen. McChrystal, I believe it is the right decision for our national security.''
His detractors have accused the president of arrogance and self-regard, putting his ego above the war. His supporters say that he was only doing what long-standing military practice demands. According to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), not only should McChrystal have been fired; he could also have been court-martialed. In the relevant sections, the UCMJ says, ''Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the president, the vice president, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Transportation, or the governor or legislature of any state, territory, commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.''
Just being relieved of his command may have been a good deal for McChrystal, particularly when Obama went to such pains to make sure that everyone knew that he understood that he was firing a good guy. ''Stan McChrystal has always shown great courtesy and carried out my orders faithfully. I've got great admiration for him and for his long record of service in uniform,'' Obama said.
He called him Stan. But sometimes a firing offense does get you fired, even in Washington. Go figure.
Terence Samuel is The Root's editor-at-large. His first book,The Upper House: A Journey Behind the Closed Doors of the U.S. Senate, was released in May by Palgrave Macmillan. Follow him on Twitter