Talk Smack and Get Smacked
Today General Stanley McChrystal tendered his resignation after it was revealed that he and his staff disparaged President Barack Obama and other administration officials in an upcoming issue of Rolling Stone. McChrystal’s indiscretion was roundly condemned by Democrat and Republican alike in a rare show of bipartisan outrage. There are select conservative bloggers who would like to make this about the substance of McChrystal’s remarks but Obama made the basic issue clear in his speech today.
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The conduct represented in the recently published article does not meet the standard that should be set by a commanding general. It undermines the civilian control of the military that is at the core of our democratic system. And it erodes the trust that’s necessary for our team to work together to achieve our objectives in Afghanistan.
My multiple responsibilities as Commander-in-Chief led me to this decision. First, I have a responsibility to the extraordinary men and women who are fighting this war, and to the democratic institutions that I’ve been elected to lead. I’ve got no greater honor than serving as Commander-in-Chief of our men and women in uniform, and it is my duty to ensure that no diversion complicates the vital mission that they are carrying out.
That includes adherence to a strict code of conduct. The strength and greatness of our military is rooted in the fact that this code applies equally to newly enlisted privates and to the general officer who commands them. That allows us to come together as one. That is part of the reason why America has the finest fighting force in the history of the world.
It is also true that our democracy depends upon institutions that are stronger than individuals. That includes strict adherence to the military chain of command, and respect for civilian control over that chain of command. And that’s why, as Commander-in-Chief, I believe this decision is necessary to hold ourselves accountable to standards that are at the core of our democracy.
I challenge anyone who “wants his country back” to dispute Obama’s statement. He has based his decision on the very premise that prevents our government from becoming a military dictatorship, namely that the military is subordinate to civilian government and serves at their command. Disrespect for the chain of command must be punished whether the source of that disrespect is a lowly Private or a General.
As the well in the Gulf gushes out of control today, Obama desperately needs a fine moment. This was one of his finer moments.
Time the Avenger
Sometimes it takes generations for wrongs to be set right, for justice to be done, even poetic justice. Such was the case yesterday when Tim Scott won the Republican nomination for Representative from the first district in South Carolina. What was special about Scott’s victory? For starters, he is black so if he wins in November he will be the first black Republican to go to the House since 2003. But the real cherry on the sundae is the opponent he beat. Paul Thurmond.
Who is Paul Thurmond you ask. Paul is the son of the late Strom Thurmond. Yes, the Strom Thurmond, a vile racist who “mellowed” in his old age and whose 100th birthday was celebrated in the Senate with a now infamous tribute from Trent Lott who talked about what a better country we would have today if Thurmond had won his 1948 bid for the Presidency.
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Even if I resided in South Carolina, I probably would not be voting for Mr. Scott but my hat goes off to him. I sincerely hope ole Strom is looking down from heaven witnessing the victory of the inferior “Negro”.