Best Defense

Who thinks McChrystal should go?

I’ve noticed an interesting pattern in my e-mails over the last 24 hours regarding the question of whether McChrystal should be fired. That is, the more someone knows about the military, the more likely they are to call for his removal. Political types, by contrast, don’t see what the big deal is. I have been ...

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WASHINGTON - MARCH 17: U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus, commander of the U.S. Central Command, prepares to testify during a hearing on the FY2011 National Defense Authorization Budget Requests before the House Armed Services Committee March 17, 2010 in Washington, DC. Petraeus addressed the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as efforts in Yemen, Pakistan and the creation of a "Cyber Command," to defend the United States from computer attack. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

I’ve noticed an interesting pattern in my e-mails over the last 24 hours regarding the question of whether McChrystal should be fired. That is, the more someone knows about the military, the more likely they are to call for his removal. Political types, by contrast, don’t see what the big deal is.

I have been particularly struck by a couple of hard-right types I know who are retired senior officers. For them, this is a matter of good order and discipline. If you allow a general to bitch-slap an uncertain president, how do you keep the troops in line?  

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. @tomricks1
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