Good for him. It's about time the Pretty-Please-Prez showed some cojones beyond his oratory. During the past couple of days, while we all awaited Obama's decision, I figured it at about 50/50 that Obama would or would not send McChrystal packing. It was too close to call.
On the one hand, it would be predictably Obamian to pull the punch and theatrically read the general the riot act -- again. (Remember that Obama cut McChrystal a break the last time he publicly mocked Biden and dissed Administration thinking.) One could argue, in fact, that the way to really grab McChrystal by the short hairs would be to spare him yet again and let him live in fear.On the other hand, this looked like too outrageous an incident for even Obama to tolerate. Already increasingly typecast as spineless and leadership-averse, how could Obama afford to let this one slide? Moreover, as I keep repeating because, dammit, I think it's true, Obama has more potential for leadership than he has shown us in the past 18 months -- if he dares to begin to use it. Sure, he's no progressive and he never will be. But I'm guessing Obama is tiring of having to be a Good Nonconfrontational Negro for the sake of a nation that perpetually fears the idea of a Bad Nigger.
So it's good to see Brother Barack show somebody who's boss.
Like most shock drama, this McChrystal story comes with irony. For one thing, McChrystal was probably right when he warned last year, in an infamously leaked report, of potential "mission failure" in Afghanistan, although he was and is wrong about ass-whipping being the way to win in a country with a corrupt and essentially neocolonial government. Another irony is that, since Obama met him more than halfway on troop increases and counterinsurgency, McChrystal and the President have not had serious policy differences on the war. This was not Harry Truman firing General Douglas MacArthur for going against orders. This was a general getting himself fired for proving, through colossal stupidity and arrogance, that his judgment and his respect for civilian command cannot be trusted.
Read the Rolling Stone story, and see how many organizations you can think of in which an underling could diss the Big Boss's people with such wild-eyed recklessness and have a prayer of keeping his job. I mean, WTF? Going on the record with that kind of shark bait? For a Rolling Stone story, no less? Was McChrystal on crack? Did he feel omnipotent in the presence of President Softie? Did he assume in his lizard brain, like the yokel congressman who yelled "You Lie!", that a black president is safer game for blatant abuse? Does he have some mental disorder that has not been publicly announced?
It may be a while before we know, if ever. My guess is that, for the time being at least, McChrystal is going to shut his mouth.