The news reports about General Stanley McChrystal's new position, "leading a three-member advisory board... to help service members and their families," don't fail to mention the mildly scandalous Rolling Stone article that got the General relieved of command in Afghanistan. That just makes it sound like the president, criticized by McChrystal in offhand comments to a reporter, doesn't hold a grudge.
What many of these stories fail to recall, however, is the general's prominent role in a far more scandalous affair: the coverup in the death of Pat Tillman. Here's one account of the matter from the New York Daily News:
I do believe that guy participated in a falsified homicide investigation," Pat Tillman Sr. said.
McChrystal likely knew within 24 hours of Tillman's demise that the professional football star-turned-star Army volunteer had been killed by friendly fire.
Yet, he endorsed a recommendation that Tillman receive a posthumous Silver Star for valor in the face of "devastating enemy fire." He would later say he "didn't review the citation well enough," describing it as "poorly written."
The program McChrystal will lead doesn't receive any federal funds, so this is not about money. But how tone-deaf do you have to be to appoint a man tainted by the cover-up of the friendly-fire death of a hero as head of an advisory panel helping service members' families? The juxtaposition almost seems like a bad joke. So what is it? Lack of institutional memory, or Google skills, in the White House? A desire to "look forward," the well-ingrained habit of the Obama administration to ignore misdeeds of the past (e.g. waterboarding, the Corps of Engineers' failure in New Orleans, etc.)? Or just an unlucky push-pin stabbed in a familiar name?
Talk about your unforced errors.