Fast forward to the Summer of 2010 and General Stanley McChrystal.
Why would any responsible military leader (or any other responsible person, for that matter) give such a dumb interview to Rolling Stone?
And why would he possibly allow top members of his team to insult top members of the Obama Administration and the President himself?
Referring to Vice President Biden as BiteMe is good third-grade humor
but otherwise beneath contempt, and the rest of the interview was not much better. So, it is worth searching below the surface for reasons.
One hypothesis is that this type of behavior, whether coming from Doug MacArthur, Stanley McChrystal, and even back to Hannibal versus the Romans, is proof positive that our War in Afghanistan is not going well. Indeed, all objective evidence points to that truth, including the ever-escalating military casualties, the needless civilian deaths we have caused by bad aim (particularly our drone aircraft) and bad judgment, and the declining support of this war on the part of what passes for the Afghan government and the Afghan people themselves, as well as the American people and our NATO allies.
The formidable Soviet Union military found its own war in Afghanistan unwinnable, and was forced to pull out. While getting the Taliban out of power was a worthwhile goal, and once was partially achieved, it is highly unlikely that we have anything further to gain in Afghanistan.
If Stan McChrystal had felt differently, in his heart of hearts, he would not have given an interview likely to get him fired. But getting fired from an impossible job in an unwinnable war is a disgrace, but may also be a relief as well. The General is probably relieved that the War in Afghanistan is no longer his problem -- but that War, like the War in Iraq, remains our problem, and we need to start detaching from both wars. That is the real lesson we need to learn, now, from the McChrystal debacle.