East Texans respond to general's ousting

LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - By Bob Hallmark - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - A magazine profile proved to be General Stanley McChrystal's undoing. When the article in Rolling Stone appeared with disparaging comments about President Obama, Vice President Biden and some key diplomats, General McChrystal was summoned back from Afghanistan for a face to face meeting with the Commander-in-Chief.

President Obama said he was not personally hurt by the quotes in the article but they undermine the civilian control of the military.

"War is bigger than any one man or woman, whether a private, a general or a president, and as difficult as it is to lose General McChrystal, I believe that it is the right decision for our national security," said Obama. "The conduct represented in the recently published article does not meet the standard that should be set by a commanding general."

The president has tapped General David Petraeus to succeed McChrystal as U.S. commander in Afghanistan. There is great debate over whether McChyrstal's comments warranted his removal.

East Texans, including many veterans, weighed in on where a soldier's ultimate loyalty should lie and if the boundary of duty and freedom of speech was really crossed. Many of them were not surprised by McChrystal's ousting.

"But if he's holding him accountable for what he said and what he felt must have been on his heart to call them wimps then that's what the president did," said Patricia Oliver.

"Maybe its not wise judgement to be interviewed by a magazine - I'm not putting down Rolling Stone - but would certainly want to know what the purpose is for an interview before I spoke," said Jack Lanier, an Air Force veteran.

"Rolling Stone might as well have come from MAD magazine," said William Perkins. "He was in fault by saying the remarks that he said."

Longview police officer Jack Lanier served several Air Force tours in the Middle East, and knows of the general's reputation as a master strategist.

"The man's not there because he doesn't know how to lead, he's there because he is a leader," said Lanier. "Always respect authority. Sure he's going to disagree with the administration - although you do have to be careful on how you disagree."

Some do not see McChrystal's statements as disloyal or insulting.

"I don't think he should be fired for it, you know?" said Amanda Cox. "The president was over there and he did talk about Americans and I think he did pretty much the same thing in my mind."

"He's the man that's losing the men over there and fighting the battles and it's not the White House or the ones that's in the White House," said Perkins.

"He was just saying what was on his mind," said Oliver. "At the particular time, choice of words could have been a little bit better, but that's what he felt. The president said what he said and did what he did and hopefully they'll move on."

Some think it is unwise to change quarterbacks so late in the game.

"But, as far as removing that general from office or his command I think its a bad mistake," said one East Texan. "I honestly believe that our country is being undermined, and I don't believe it's being undermined by General McChrystal."

Temporary command of forces in Afghanistan is a British officer, Deputy Commander of ISAF, Lieutenant General Nick Parker.

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