Pentagon note to self: Do not tolerate “that’s so gay” comments (at least about allies)

by on June 24, 2010  •  In Military

Politico's backgrounder about Gen. McChrystal's plummet from grace:

…McChrystal’s break-neck fall from grace began Monday evening when assistant White House press secretary Tommy Vietor was emailed an advance PDF copy of “The Runaway General,” which he quickly printed out for press secretary Robert Gibbs. An irate Gibbs tracked down the president in the basement of the executive residence to deliver the news that his maverick Afghanistan commander and his team had trashed the White House and U.S. allies in vulgar, vivid terms.

“[Obama] read the first few paragraphs and we decided to go to the Oval Office and get a bigger group together…The possibility [of sacking McChrystal] came up,” said a senior administration official of that first meeting, which included Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, senior adviser David Axelrod and Gibbs, among others.

The passage that really torqued the president, advisers say, was McChrystal’s reported contempt for U.S. allies in Afghanistan – especially the French – illustrated in the story by McChrystal’s reluctance to meet a senior official in Paris, a dinner appointment one McChrystal aide called “gay.” Obama, the administration official said, was astounded and alarmed by “the effect it would have on the allies” in Afghanistan, who have been asked to shed blood and “who will be asked to do more” if the U.S. is to begin pulling out by July 2011.

“This was not about the president being angry about the things that were said about himself,” added the aide, who says that Obama never even discussed McCrystal’s reported criticism of the president as detached and intimidated during his meetings with the brass.

Of course, this probably has nothing to do with the resentment/resistance games being played around the edges of DADT repeal. Or with the White House's anxiety about having "real" military men paint the civilians as soft and "intimidated." Because, after all, sexuality and gender issues are just symbolic politics – they don't influence anything that really matters. Right. Just ask the general about that.


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