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Dr. Cheryl Pappas Headshot

General McChrystal: Cuckoo or Enraged Communicator?

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General Stanley McChrystal has submitted his resignation over his statements in a Rolling Stone magazine interview.

The news of the very fresh and famous Rolling Stone interview with McChrystal, is blowing out with such speed that the missing piece -- the actual content of the interview -- is going, like totally, AWOL. No one is listening to what the General said in the interview!

What a study in spin and public relations. The actual interview, featuring McChrystal's complaints about Obama and Obama's aids and their incompetence regarding the Afghan War, apparently has no relevance to commentators, other than sparking and re-sparking debate over McChrystal's losing his job. Should he be allowed to remain or should Obama sack the rude employee? There are polls being opened to public opinion, as if we are Romans in the arena of blood and guts and our participation somehow lets us all in on the juicy story. But this is not a reality show.

Why isn't the media paying attention to the actual points of exasperation that the General is speaking about? Whether or not it was appropriate to air those points in a Rolling Stone interview, given his high profile military employment under Obama, is naturally a matter to question.

However, if the man is not simply a loose canon, a borderline personality, or a total nut, as I suspect he is not, in light of the President's former stamp of approval, then let's turn away from the salacious question of his punishment. Who are we in this country if that alone interests us? Do we dare look at the inside story that McChrystal may be telling about how the country is being militarily led?

I am a communications analyst, not a military expert. There is no doubt that McChrystal knew he was speaking on the record in the Rolling Stone interview and no doubt that he wanted to complain very publicly.

Here's the question: If McChrystal is not crazy, if he did not simply have a cranky afternoon which led to leaking his professional dismay and disapproval with how Obama is handing the Afghan War, then he must be saying something worth hearing and knowing.

It is very possible that McChrystal deliberately granted the interview exactly as it appears.
Perhaps he had not been successful in prior attempts to communicate directly to Obama and others intimately involved in the war. The only thing we know for sure is that he wanted to be heard. And still, no one is listening.