The White House press secretary may have foreshadowed what the president is planning to do with a “runaway general,” by issuing a line that echoed history.
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.
“‘Are you asking about Vice President Biden?’ McChrystal says with a laugh. ‘Who’s that?'” the article quotes him as saying.
“‘Biden?’ suggested a top adviser. ‘Did you say: Bite Me?'”
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs wouldn’t say if McChrystal’s job is safe. He added that he’ll have more to say after President Obama meets with the general.
“All options are on the table” including firing McChrystal, Gibbs told the press.
Gibbs added, “Our efforts in Afghanistan are bigger than one person.”
That line by the White House press secretary was very similar to something said nearly sixty years ago by another Commander-In-Chief faced with a “runaway general.”
“The cause of world peace is more important than any individual,” President Harry S. Truman announced to the nation on April 11, 1951 after firing the extremely popular General Douglas MacArthur because he fought over the policy of containment in North Korea.
The White House press secretary also said that Obama was “angry” about the article.
“I gave him the article last night and he was angry,” Gibbs said.
This video is from MSNBC’s News Live, broadcast June 22, 2010.