McChrystal: Right move, wrong reason

When I was 17, I got a job in a restaurant swabbing out urinals (the perfect task for a 17-year-old) and cooking steaks (though that’s not something any 17-year-old should be doing). And I’ll never forget the first time I ever talked back to the boss.

It must’ve been 130 degrees in the kitchen. I was lugging a case of lettuce out of the cooler in that workweek’s hour number 62, and my glasses fogged up. The owner, Rick, saw me trying to navigate that slammed-busy Friday-night hellhole by sonar, and he cut loose with a gravelly, “Hendrickson, whydonyou get some goddamned contacts, so you can `expletive` see something?”

I had to. Just had to. “Because `expletive` $3.75 an hour won’t buy `expletive` contacts for the `expletive` crabs in your `expletive` skid-marked `expletive` underpants, Rick, you cheap `expletive`.”

The place erupted. I felt like Norma Rae. Rick just glowered and stomped off to the bar. I somehow kept my job, and when my student-loan check finally arrived (late) the next fall, I went and got my first set of contacts. Here’s looking at you, Rick.

Anyway, the ‘net is abuzz (a word, I know, but it avoided the spell-checker, so what the hell) about General Stanley McChrystal, and how Obama gave him the heave-ho because he and some of his staffers talked some smack about Joe Biden while they were getting schnockered with a journalist in Paris. Or something.

(Then again, most of said staffers are Colonels and above – what short-bussers are they, to have sat around getting pissed with a journalist in the first place? Note to self: Google these pilot fish tomorrow.)

(And of all people, Biden should be willing to forgive a little mandibular spillage. Really.)

I just don’t get it. Who’d send an undeclared-and-probably-illegal-war commander to the showers over that? I mean, yeah, when MacArthur wouldn’t stop calling Harry Truman a pansy for not letting him roll the Shermans into China, well, sure. Fine. That poo-canning made sense. Mac was the kind of guy who’d have blown the bugle himself and forded the Yalu river before Harry’s morning constitutional; he had to go, man. And let’s not forget, McClellan made such a job of dogging-out Honest Abe Lincoln around Washington that he completely forgot about chasing the slaveholders’ seldom-paid ‘backy-spitting rabble out of Virginia. His only achievement was commanding the country’s first pre-Airstream conscripted KOA. He had to go, too.

But to jettison McChrystal over this?

Bad idea. Not as bad an idea as, for example, invading Afghanistan, I’ll grant you. But still.

I mean, I don’t begrudge a bunch of military guys getting hammered and running their yappers in gay Pa-ree, and nobody should. Let’s not forget, McChrystal imposed his own private on-base version of the 18th Amendment in Afghanistan when he took over. So when his posse finally got a flight back to paved roads (albeit roads festooned with proudly-hairy sneer-perfecters on the streetcorners) and running water (though it’s too rarely used in France), what were the boys supposed to do? Buy crappy berets and take pictures of each other outside the Louvre all night?

C’mon. These guys live in the dirt and eat Halliburton Helper halfway around the world from home, and they kill and die for us (and, yeah, for money, but all told, it works out to about $3.75 an hour). If they wanna blast back a few Jacks and bellow about the boss, well, I say we should neither ask nor tell.

McChrystal actually should’ve been sent back to selling insurance or used cars or whatever within spitting distance of Fort Stewart years ago. Here’s why.

See, when former NFL safety Pat Tillman was cut down by friendly fire in outback Afghanistan (read: anyplace more than six blocks away from Hamid Karzai’s palace in Kabul) back in ‘04, it was McChrystal’s noggin over which the 60-watter really buzzed to life: “Hey, Rummy. Tillman played football. Let’s say the other guys shot him, and then flog his sacrifice around the country like Windows Vista. What’s anybody gonna do, ballistics tests on a soldier’s corpse out in Manah? Effit. I’ll sign the silver-star form. Thoughts?”

(As an aside, $3.75 says McCrystal’s memo served as the manual for handling Cheney’s subsequent duck-hunting misadventure. Gonna Google that, too.)

So, right thing, yeah. But wrong reason. Just sayin’. Back on January 20, 2009, this President from Illinois should’ve dragged this misbehaving General back to the Oval, introduced him to Pat’s mom Mary, and then heaved him overboard … on her say-so.

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