Monthly Archives: June 2010

Looking Deeper at McChrystal & MacArthur

Joe Pappalardo at Popular Mechanics on why the two cases aren’t as similar as many think:

In short, the dispute between President Truman and Gen. MacArthur was more substantive than what we saw between President Obama and Gen. McChrystal. During the Korean War, after the Chinese invaded Korea to force advancing United Nations troops away from its border, MacArthur agitated in public to attack the Chinese mainland. Truman refused to entertain the idea of a wider war, or the use of nuclear weapons. Contrast that heady dispute with a Rolling Stone article in which administration officials were insulted for not understanding the challenge facing the military: It doesn’t exactly measure up.

In fact, President Truman avoided firing MacArthur for a long time. The General was practically running for the White House from Korea. Truman suffered insults, backbiting and sneers from the revered general. During one meeting, MacArthur greeted his commander-in-chief with a handshake instead of a salute. Truman wisely ignored the slight. (Granted, the war was going well at that point and MacArthur was wildly popular in the U.S.) Truman acted only when MacArthur sent a letter to a congressman that questioned the president’s limited war strategy, which was read on the floor of the House of Representatives. That was impossible to ignore—and the world was watching.

True, McChrystal’s conduct is fairly tame compared to MacArthur’s but in both cases the world was watching. Hendrik Hertzberg makes an excellent point about the impact of McChrystal’s conduct in a wired world:

Just as important, frontline troops nowadays are also online troops. They are plugged in to the Internet, to Facebook, to blogs, to e-mail and Skype. They talk to each other in chat rooms with little or no supervision from the brass. It’s all instant and it’s all in their face. And that, I hasten to add, is not a bad thing. It’s a good thing. But it makes the morale of the troops that much more fragile, that much more apt to be affected by relative trivialities. The fact that General McChrystal, along with his “Team America” posse of adjutants, understood none of this was reason enough to send him packing. His “conduct” wasn’t just a disservice to his President; it was a disservice to the men and women under his command.

Peter Roff finds another interesting contrast in the men who fired their generals:

Let’s stipulate, using what some see as the obvious example, that McChrystal is no Douglas MacArthur. True enough, but Obama is no Harry Truman, who was a vigorous and effective commander-in-chief during the earliest days of the Cold War. Obama’s feckless leadership in the war on terror bespeaks a leader who does not want or know how to win the fight we are in. It is notable, for example, that it took nearly 10 months for Obama and McChrystal to meet face-to-face–via a video uplink–after the general called for a significant infusion of troops into Afghanistan. It only took about 10 hours for a meeting to occur once McChrystal’s comments leaked out.

An Inconvenient Smooch: Al Gore Subject of Sex Crime Investigation

The Gore divorce doesn’t seem so crazy now:

A Portland massage therapist gave local police a detailed statement last year alleging that former Vice President Al Gore groped her, kissed her and made unwanted sexual advances during a late-night massage session in October 2006 in a suite at the upscale Hotel Lucia.

The woman told investigators that she informed two friends and kept the clothes she wore that night, including her black pants with stains on them. But Portland police didn’t contact any of the woman’s friends, obtain the potential evidence or interview anyone at the hotel, records show.

The juicy bits:

While giving Gore an abdominal massage, she said he demanded that she go lower and soon grabbed her right hand and shoved it under the sheet.

“I felt like I was dancing on the edge of a razor,” she told Detective Molly Daul.

She tried to use an acupressure technique to relax Gore and thought she may have nearly put him to sleep. She went into the bathroom to wash up and came out to pack up.

That’s when, she says, Gore wrapped her in an “inescapable embrace” and fondled her back, buttocks and breasts as she was trying to break down her massage table.

She called him a “crazed sex poodle” and tried to distract him, pointing out a box of Moonstruck chocolates on a nearby table. He went for the chocolates and then offered her some, cornering her, fondling her and shoving his tongue in her mouth to french kiss as he pressed against her.

She said he tried to pull her camisole strap down.

She said she told him to stop it. “I was distressed, shocked and terrified.”

She said she was intimidated by his physical size, calling him “rotund,” described his “violent temper, dictatorial, commanding attitude” — what she termed a contrast from his “Mr. Smiley global-warming concern persona.”

Later, she said, he tried to lure her into the bedroom to hear pop star Pink’s “Dear Mr. President” on his iPod dock. She said Gore sat on one end of the bed and motioned for her to join him.

Suddenly, she said, he “flipped me on my back, threw his whole body face down over a top me, pinning me down.”

She said she loudly protested, “Get off me, you big lummox!”

There’s absolutely nothing funny about assault but, crazed sex poodle? That nickname is going to stick. But that’s the least of Al’s problems since the National Enquirer (which broke the story) says it looks like criminal prosecution isn’t out of the question:

In a statement just released by Multnomah County (OR.) D.A. Michael D. Schrunk, the official reveals that “our office was notified by the Portland Police Bureau that further investigation of this matter had been conducted by it in 2009 and we were provided with the reports from that further investigation.”

Schrunk goes on to add: “If the complainant and the Portland Police Bureau wish to pursue the possibility of a criminal prosecution, additional investigation by the Bureau will be necessary and will be discussed with the Portland Police Bureau.”

You can read the police report here.

Reaction:

Outside the Beltway
So: We have four-year-old allegations that police didn’t think credible at the time from a woman who apparently was more interested in profiting from a civil suit than prosecuting. That’s pretty thin grounds for believing Gore committed a crime. Still, it’s pretty clear that Gore was in a hotel room with a woman not his wife. And it appears that Mrs. Gore believes something illicit was going on in that room.

Jammie Wearing Fool
For shame, Manbearpig, for shame.

Wonkette
But if there is something to it, then it’s just more gross behavior from the super-rich gross people who either rule over the nation or make gazillions telling the nation to stop farting because it is killing the planet. (Those are the talking points for AM radio tomorrow. You’re welcome!)

Marbury
The only bit that made me wonder about her report was this: She…described his “violent temper, dictatorial, commanding attitude” — what she termed a contrast from his “Mr. Smiley global-warming concern persona.” Wait – his global-warming persona is dictatorial and commanding, isn’t it?

Weasel Zippers
I’m not saying it’s 100% true, but the National Enquirer has been sued so many times in the past their lawyers don’t let anything go to print unless they have something to back it up. If not, they would have gone out of business by now. Plus they did earn some credibility breaking the John Edwards affair…

Video: Obama Accepts McChrystal’s Resignation – Petraeus Takes Over

No surprises here:

President Barack Obama accepted the resignation of Gen. Stanley McChrystal “with considerable regret” and nominated Gen. David Petraeus, the head of the U.S. Central Command. The moves come in the wake of the revelation that Rolling Stone magazine would publish politically explosive remarks made by the general and his aides about key administration officials.

While it’s hard to argue with McChrystal’s reported positions on his civilian leaders it’s also hard to argue that the behavior captured in the Rolling Stone piece is acceptable. This is an unfortunate end to an honorable career.