Reading the Rolling Stone article again and very closely, it becomes obvious that the McChrystal quotes do not add up to a firing offense, do not constitute insubordination, and are not the sort of occasion for other than the rebuke that Secretary Gates delivered this morning. The general has tendered his resignation as is appropriate when a media crisis erupts, as it gives the Commander-in-Chief complete flexibility and a chance to emerge stronger from the incident.
But President Obama will hurt the war and his already rapidly crumbling reputation if he accepts the general’s offer. The country and increasingly the world sees the president as insecure in the job and close-to-overwhelmed by events. If he dumps his hand-picked commander who is implementing the strategy that Obama labored over only months ago because of a few paragraphs in a rag, he will seal his reputation as a light weight who is making Jimmy Carter look strong.