Loose Talk Notwithstanding, McChrystal’s Policy on Civilian Protection Should Be Real Regret
After the initial surprise of yesterday’s news that Gen. Stanley McChrystal had exposed himself to a Rolling Stone reporter, I’ve found all the resulting back and forth about resignation or not rather meaningless – except as a rather stunning example of the macho games these guys play.
More important – and lost in the hoopla – is the following passage from the article:
“You better be out there hitting four or five targets tonight,” McChrystal will tell a Navy Seal he sees in the hallway at headquarters. Then he’ll add, “I’m going to have to scold you in the morning for it, though.”
From the time of his appointment, some of us have been calling for a closer look at McChrystal the Special Ops guy, who commanded the rogue troops of Camp NAMA where access by the International Red Cross was blocked, where the treatment of prisoners was so out of control that other DOD commands banned their troops from operating there – and his claims to be concerned about civilian casualties.
McChrystal’s people – and his apologists – kept portraying him as limited in his ability to prevent the recurring attacks on civilians by Special Forces air strikes and night raids. We heard multiple claims that he had no authority to restrict their actions, no way to bring them into line with proclaimed COIN policy of resident protection.
Yet all along, as Gareth Porter reported, he had full command and just chose not to use it.
Now we see that not only did he not demand adherence to international legal standards which require protection of civilians, he openly encouraged the opposite. So much for all those statements of regret.
Insubordination to the Commander in Chief matters – and McChrystal should be fired for it – but who will call him to the dock for this abrogation of the most fundamental requirements of international law?