Law, Money, & Elder Law: Who is four star General Stanley A. McChrystal?

By Monte M. Korn

Four Star General Stanley A. McChrystal is without a doubt one of the brightest generals serving in the United States Army today.
Where did McChrystal come from?
He was the commander of the International Assistance Force (ISAF) and commander of U.S. forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A).
He served as director, joint staff from August 2008 to June 2009.
McChrystal was commander joint special operations command from 2003 to 2008, where he was credited with the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of al-Qaida in Iraq.
McChrystal was reportedly known for saying and thinking what other military leaders are afraid to. Perhaps that is one of the reasons cited for his appointment to lead all forces in Afghanistan, a post he held from June 15, 2009 to June 23, 2010. In addition, General McChrystal was ordered to prepare the battle plan for the surge and the wiping out of the al-Qaida and Taliban forces in Afghanistan.
What was General McChrystal’s assessment of the Afghan conflict and winning the war in Afghanistan?
“It boils down to a warning that without quick action, and clear policy objectives, the war could very easily be lost within 12 months. It's a warning that has plunged him into a political storm, not least because what McChrystal has had to say has been political poison: that five years and a joint Afghan-US-led security force of 500,000 may be required to win the conflict. And that America's corrupt partners in the Afghan government led by Hamid Karzai are as big a threat to the country as the Taliban fighters.” (leak to Bob Woodward of the Washington Post)
What set in motion the unflattering remarks about Vice President Joe Biden and other Obama Administration officials reported in Rolling Stone magazine and attributed to McChrystal and his aides?
Is it possible that after reviewing his own battle plan and the forces available under his command, McChrystal was aware that without the support of the Afghanistan people and without the support of several hundred thousand more U.S. troops, the American and U.N. forces could be defeated as the Russian forces were defeated before them and we would have to pack up and our forces would have to go home with thousands of our troops killed and wounded with nothing to show for the time and effort except the horrible price paid in blood, resources, and money?
So General McChrystal faced an enigma. He couldn’t resign the command which he had accepted, which was to follow the battle plan of his creation.
He had to find a way out that would compel his Commander in Chief, the President of the United States, to fire him.
So that’s why General McChrystal, a vary savvy general, permitted a reporter from Rolling Stone to listen to McChrystal’s officers criticizing Vice President Joe Biden and other administration officials knowing that these remarks would be printed in Rolling Stone magazine (with McChrystal’s consent).
This could be considered conduct unbecoming an officer for which he would immediately be recalled to Washington and asked to resign his command.
Once General McChrystal resigned his command, he would no longer have on his conscience the thousands of U.N. and American service men who would die or be wounded under his plan for the surge and the battle for the destruction of the al-Qaida and the Taliban control of Afghanistan.
To win this Afghanistan war and to keep our losses at a minimum, General McChrystal knew the allied forces would need the complete support of the Afghanistan people...yet as General McChrystal prepared for battle, he must have had spinning around in his brain a recent Pentagon report that found an almost complete lack of support among Afghans for the Karzai government.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai notified President Obama that General McChrystal had his complete confidence and support and Karzai hoped that McChrystal could keep his command.
Yet McChrystal was aware that Karzai’s government was a corrupt one and when the chips were down whatever Afghan troops Karzai controlled in a moment’s notice could join forces with the Taliban.
When President Obama read the Rolling Stone article, he did what McChrystal hoped he would do. He ordered McChrystal to take the first flight to Washington D.C. where McChrystal was forthwith ordered to resign his command of the surge and the coming battle for Afghanistan.
Which brings us back to Four Star General Stanley A. McChrystal who had prepared the battle plan for the surge and the fight to the finish of the American and U.N. forces in Afghanistan...How can you stay in command of a battle plan that you feel you cannot win because you do not have the support of the Afghan people?
You cannot resign immediately before the battle that is using your plan of action...that would be cowardly. And if the battle were fought without you leading the troops, leaving thousands of American and U.N. forces dead and wounded on the battlefield, it would be blamed on your running away from your command just before the battle...this a four star fighting general could not do.
Yet you cannot stay as commanding general of a battle you are sure to lose.
So how do you get rid of your command without resigning before the battle?
You get yourself fired...and that Four Star General Stanley A. McChrystal did by permitting a reporter for Rolling Stone to listen to the derogatory comments of McChrystal’s general staff about Vice President Biden and about President Barak Obama – their Commander in Chief – which mocked the government and President Obama.
Why did a very savvy four star general set in motion the very acts that would cause him to be discharged from his command before the first shot of his war plan would be fired?
Was it because “A Pentagon report finds an almost complete lack of support among Afghans for the Karzai government, on which the U.S. has pinned its hopes...”?
“ war, it’s dark before the dawn. It’s also dark before disaster. All we know is that darkness has fallen over Afghanistan.” (David Von Drehle, Time Magazine, 6/21/10)
Monte M. Korn is an attorney practicing law in West Bloomfield, has been a member of the State Bar of Michigan since 1942, and is a member of the Probate and Elder Law Sections of the State Bar.
Monte Korn is the talk show host of “Open Line with Monte Korn” on radio station WNZK am690 every morning at 11 a.m. He can be reached at (248) 933-4334.
The material in the above article is the research of Monte M. Korn. The Detroit, Oakland County, and Macomb County Legal Newspapers have no responsibility therein.