As a military veteran it's hard for me to understand how a man, with the background of General Stan McChrystal, could allow himself and his staff to become such an undisciplined group of high ranking military officers.
One of the first things we learn upon entering military service is that the chain of command is sacrosanct and under no circumstances are you allowed to publicly (or privately for that matter) disparage the Commander in Chief. Even as a prisoner of war, there are rules that govern what you can say about the leadership of this country. Former POWs have been held responsible for statements they have made and/or signed that disparages the United States and its leaders, both civilian and military, even when those comments where made under obvious duress.
Why would a 4 star general, a West Point grad and a superb warrior make comments of this nature to a reporter and allow his staff to behave with such contempt for the civilian leadership they swore an oath to serve. I recently read a blog in the HuffPo, by David Bromwich, that may shed some light on this point:
Why did he give interviews to Rolling Stone? One answer is egotism. Another is more politicking. But for what? An additional hundred thousand troops? (From where?) A different president to serve? (But we have a system that takes care of that.) A simple impression of disloyalty is left by the article. Disloyalty first of all -- but also a half-formed wish to be relieved of responsibility in order not to be blamed for defeat.
That is about the only thing that makes sense, he did not want to be remembered as the "General Westmoreland" of Afghanistan. So I guess the question becomes, did he sabotage his command to avoid being another failed American general?
Looking at the fallout from this episode it's hard for me to think that was the plan, but considering the absolute breakdown of military discipline among such high ranking officers, I hope that is indeed the case...my gut tells me otherwise and that means there is a much bigger problem within ranks of our flag officers, Stan McChrystal and his band of brothers may be just the tip of the iceberg.