Washington, D.C., is the world capital of phony. Even by Washington’s low standards, the Stanley McChrystal “scandal” now in progress gives phoniness a bad name.
Yes, General McChrystal showed poor judgment in making impolitic remarks on-the-record. But most of what the general said was simply being honest about the shabby aspects of government administration. McChrystal said a rival had leaked a memo to make McChrystal look bad. That’s exactly what happened! The general said he didn’t want to open an email from Richard Holbrooke, who is an accomplished diplomat, but also a haughty man known for condescending hectoring. No sane person wants to open an email from Richard Holbrooke. And General McChrystal pretended not to recognize Joe Biden’s name. People in Washington snipe at each other, stop the presses!
That’s it – the above comments are the super-ultra-mega scandal. Consider:
Nearly everything being attributed to McChrystal was not said by him. That President Barack Obama was “uncomfortable and intimidated” during his first meeting with McChrystal, that National Security Advisor James Jones is “a clown” – these comments did not come from McChrystal. In the Rolling Stone article they are sourced to an “advisor” and an “aide.”
Media coverage has already discarded this significant factual distinction – why let mere facts spoil a scandal? This morning, CBS Radio said the controversy involves “General McChrystal’s numerous attacks on public officials,” while CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr declared it “extraordinary to hear a general disparaging the president.” It is unnamed aides, NOT McChrystal, who disparage the president in the story. As for the statement that “the wimps in the White House” are “the real enemy” for officers in Afghanistan? That’s a Rolling Stone headline – no one in the story says this!
Bear in mind how convenient it is for Rolling Stone that the inflammatory material comes from people who don’t have names. Reporters and writers place words into the mouths of unnamed sources because people who aren’t identified rarely complain of being misquoted.