MSNBC host Keith Olbermann surprised many viewers Tuesday by telling President Barack Obama not to accept the resignation of Gen. Stanley McChrystal.
“You should take General McChrystal’s resignation, and fold it up, and put it in your top drawer, and tell him that that is where it will remain, and that as of now you are not accepting it,” said Olbermann.
The US commander in Afghanistan mocked the vice president and denounced a top diplomat in a magazine interview, while his aides spoke dismissively of President Barack Obama.
Among other things, General Stanley McChrystal joked sarcastically to Rolling Stone about preparing to answer a question referring to Vice President Joe Biden, known as a skeptic of the commander’s war strategy.
Even the hawkish Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman put out a statement saying the general was over the line.
We have the highest respect for General McChrystal and honor his brave service and sacrifice to our nation. General McChrystalÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s comments, as reported in Rolling Stone, are inappropriate and inconsistent with the traditional relationship between Commander-in-Chief and the military. The decision concerning General McChrystalÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s future is a decision to be made by the President of the United States.
“They left out the far greater truth Ã¢â‚¬â€ that the comments are inappropriate and inconsistent with the traditional relationship between military and civilian authority and are thus intolerable,” said Olbermann.
McChrystal “and his comrades are not the masters of this country, but its employees,” Olbermann continued.
And what happens next should be no surprise to anybody: General McChrystal will walk into the White House tomorrow and offer his resignation, not just from his leadership position in Afghanistan, but from military service itself.
And that, Mr. President, is when you should thank him for that service. And you should thank him for whatever admission he makes about the chain of command. And that is when, Sir Ã¢â‚¬â€presuming he recognizes his rank stupidity and his erasure of that inviolable line between the military and the civilian Ã¢â‚¬â€ you should say you are heartened that he realizes the depth and breadth of his idiocy.
And that is when, Sir, you should take General McChrystal’s resignation, and fold it up, and put it in your top drawer, and tell him that that is where it will remain, and that as of now you are not accepting it. Correct.
He tenders his resignation. You tell him to get back to Afghanistan because he’s not getting out of this morass he helped create, and tell him to make sure we get the surge troops withdrawn on time or faster if he can. And then, Sir, you sit back and watch the political world’s collective jaw drop.
As a lesson, Olbermann looks at how MacArthur defenders were emboldened after Truman fired him in 1951.
“If that happened then what exactly will the ouster of General McChrystal provoke, in our stupid, under-informed, constantly propagandized America of 2010? Who will be the first to identify McChrystal as a martyr to the evil Obama Administration? How many Americans, still looking for a rationalization to justify their rage at a Democratic president, or a black one, or an intelligent one, will have new fuel to feed their blind hatred?” asked Olbermann.
“Keep him, Mr. President. You will not merely neuter the political blowback, you will present a front of force, and calm, and intelligence, and a willingness to, dare I use the phrase Sir Ã¢â‚¬â€ a willingness to listen to the Commanders on the ground, even when they shoot off their big brass-covered bazoos,” said Olbermann.
“And which is more useful to this President and this nation right now? A martyred ex-General, around which an irresponsible and potentially dangerous opposition can coalesce? Or a spared and humbled General, surely no worse than any potential replacement, whose retention can recalculate the political formula… without a drop of blood, or a drop of teers, being shed?” he concluded.
This video is from MSNBC’s Countdown, broadcast June 22, 2010.
(with additional reporting by Ron Brynaert)