Two Reactions on Civil-Military Relations

By James Fallows

In response to this argument that President Obama must fire General McChrystal, two reader responses. First, from someone I know to have a long military background:

I don't know the circumstances of the Rolling Stone article, but allowing McChrystal to remain is a mistake. However, the command structure is clearly broken. The covert war between Holbrooke, Eikenberry, and the military as to how to fight the war was increasingly frustrating, particularly for those with skin in the game - ie, those actually fighting the war.

Regardless of what one thinks of these men, these on the scene constant cross currents endanger the young men and women who actually are on the battle field. Given the increasing separation of the military and politicians and the almost total lack of common backgrounds, the distrust of each with the other should be a grave concern.

Next, from someone outside the military:

This is the worst by far, but McChrystal and Petraeus and before them Powell have a too-long history of lobbying through the press. It needs to be stopped in its tracks (should have been years ago) and somebody needs to spend some time thinking about what's wrong in the top ranks of the U.S. miitary that they so freely give themselves permission to do this.

I agree with both.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/06/two-reactions-on-civil-military-relations/58519/