McChrystal Should 'Shut Up'

General's job is to advise the president, not lobby publicly for policy changes
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 5, 2009 4:27 PM CDT
This photo provided by the White House shows President Barack Obama meeting with Gen. Stanley McChrystal, Friday, Oct. 2, 2009, aboard Air Force One in Copenhagen, Denmark.   (AP Photo/White House, Pete Souza)
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(Newser) – The decisions President Obama will make following his review of Afghanistan policy will be some of the most important of his presidency. The last thing he needs, then, is a rogue general waging a public campaign for the adoption of his preferred strategy. To be sure, Stanley McChrystal deserves enormous respect—but he needs to “shut up and salute,” writes Eugene Robinson.

It’s McChrystal’s job to determine his favored course of action—in this case, a huge troop surge—and present that to the president. But it’s Obama’s job to consider other points of view before making a decision, and McChystal’s public comments complicate that job, Robinson writes for the Washington Post. Ultimately, our goals in Afghanistan are political, and the means to achieve them military. That means the authority rests solely with Obama, and McChystal’s public comments should be limited to “Yes, Mr. President.”