I would not necessarily have loved, but I would, nonetheless, have wanted to be a fly on the wall of that particular meeting in the Oval Office. Well, I wrote last night that Obama would have to fire McChrystal - and indeed out he is. However, though I liked part of Obama's announcement, I would have expected the President to a bit more determined. For instance, I would not have accepted McChrystal's resignation. I would have rejeceted it and than fired him. Would that not be a little harsh, you ask? No, by all means, I am rather unemotional on this one. There is plenty of reason to fire McChrystal for cause:
Last night I wrote that there are parallels to Douglas MacArthur, but throughout the day I have had a different thought. I had to think of Colonel Kurtz, the U.S. field commander, who was to be assassinated by a U.S. captain in the great movie Apocalypse Now. Like Colonel Kurtz, it seems that McChrystal has surrounded himself with officers loyal only to him and not the administration they are supposed to serve. Like Colonel Kurtz, he has taken shortcuts whenever that seemed to have helped him get what he wanted. And finally, like Colonel Kurtz he has had a peculiar relationship with the people he was supposed to protect. Instead of letting the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan or ambassador Holbrooke take the lead when dealing with the Afghan authorities, he did it himself, trying to enhance Karzai's credibility but in reality breeding another sort of strange loyalty.
Back to the real world, McChrystal has also undermined a core principle of democracy: civilian leadership. He has ridiculed the French, who after all have had to suffer more than forty casualties. To put it differently, letting him resign was a sort of gratitude, but it would have fitted the authority of the office of the President had he fired him.