General McChrystal not only had his strategic review leaked to the Washington Post, but he has appeared on 60 Minutes in recent days and even went to London to plead the case for population centric counter-insurgency in Afghanistan. In other words, McChrystal voiced his candid views in public instead of in private up the chain of command. Eric Shinseki did nothing of the sort. In 2003, he was Army Chief of Staff and when he publicly contradicted the Bush Administration's rosy view of the post-war occupation of Iraq he wasn't being interviewed on television - he was testifying under oath to Congress. As Shinseki's spokesperson correctly pointed out at the time, "He was asked a question and he responded with his best military judgment." We should expect nothing less.
Galston wants a public debate about troop levels in Afghanistan. No disagreement there. But the notion that it should be instigated by the military as opposed to elected, accountable officials that serve in a co-equal branch of government just seems bizarre. And frankly I'm less bothered than many on the left about the idea of General McChrystal testifying before Congress. My gut tells me this should wait until after the President has made his strategic assessment, but if Congress wants to hear from the country's military commander in Afghanistan it doesn't strike me as unreasonable.
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