Who can forget the kind of jerk you knew in high school and college, the one who comes quickly to mind when you read about General Stanley McChrystal in Rolling Stone. In teenage movies he's usually portrayed as a strutting, arrogant, misogynist football player. Always a white guy, he's almost always rich too. Powerful daddies produce these kinds of sons by the truck full. Now, I don't know McChrystal, but I suspect from reading what there is about him that he was that sort of kid and has been that sort of man, as a General, with one glaring exception. He's also smart. Unlike the schoolboy asshole, McCrystal is intelligent, capable and in life, eventually successful. But my bet is Stan McChrystal is also culturally isolated. And that's unquestionably true for his closest buddies, the members of "Team McChrystal" - the guys who together with the General seemed to be running Afghanistan as their private war game.
What makes me say this? Well, doesn't it look like none of them ever bothered to rent a copy of "Almost Famous." (Do you think they have to actually pay for movies and DVDs?). Had they somehow viewed this American film classic, they would have known. Never let the guy from Rolling Stone get on the band's bus! For Christ's sake - you and I wouldn't let a reporter from Rolling Stone into our house! And who are we? Nobody. What was this General thinking?
In the article that got McChrystal fired it says he voted for Barack Obama. Yes, it does. I've heard that the 2008 military vote wasn't as heavily Republican as some people seem to believe just as a matter of faith, but the idea of a General, particularly a combat officer, voting for Barack Obama over John McCain seems too good to be true. Perhaps, a vote for the black guy was just another of Stan McChrystal's lifelong series of acts of defiance, another demonstration of his lighthearted contempt for perceived authority. No wonder then that in the wilds of Afghanistan he would gather around him a group of officers who would so eagerly, so willingly show their disregard for their superiors. Just following the lead of The Boss. There was no one around to tell them - "Hey, man. It's Rolling Stone, not The Weekly Standard."
McChrystal's style apparently has been to slight foreign diplomats, even when in their country, ignore diplomats from his own country, belittle his own Vice President and mock his Commander-in-Chief. Even Douglas MacArthur couldn't get away with that - and he actually won his war. Remember? The Big One. World War II. What war did McChrystal win? Did I miss something?
There have been whispers about all this being a setup job with General McChrystal serving as the rabbit for the long distance run of David Petraeus - the long run to the Presidency, that is. But, if McChrystal did actually vote for Obama, and since President Obama did give Stan his own war to run pretty much as he liked, what's in it for him to be anyone's stalking horse? Who are his mysterious Republican masters? I don't buy it. If Petraeus has dreams of being The Emperor David, he'll have to climb that pile on the heels of some real victory in Iraq and now you can add Afghanistan as well. No easy task there. In fact, an impossible one. There doesn't seem to be any victory in sight anywhere we're fighting. And maybe none desired too.
Why the hell are we hunkered down in Iraq and Afghanistan? Most of the world's oil lies underground in the Middle East and now we know there is at least a trillion dollars worth of mineral wealth beneath the rocks of Afghanistan. All those who believe the United States will be in both places forever please raise your hands.
For a President who sits atop a worldwide empire, who has just recently been made to look The Fool by a Hugh Grant look alike claiming to run the world's sloppiest oil company, and who can't seem to get his own political party to do anything he promised in his campaign to be President, having a jackass, small-time General who sleeps only occasionally and never eats at all, making fun of him in a magazine he's probably been reading since he was a kid - well, that crosses the line, don't you think?
Fight for single-payer healthcare? Close Gitmo? End warrantless searches? Put a stop to extraordinary rendition? Make offshore oil drilling safe? End widespread Wall Street and banking abuses? Hey, you can't always get what you want. But don't you even think about humiliating Barack Obama in the pages of Rolling Stone!
The saddest part of all this happens off camera. Stanley McChrystal fades away. He doesn't get to sing Elton John's "Tiny Dancer." Not on a bus. Not in a dusty bunker somewhere near where Alexander the Great may have once camped. And Kate Hudson ain't waiting for him in his hotel room when he comes back from getting dumped.