In the now-infamous Rolling Stone piece, General Stanley McChrystal and his staff — “a handpicked collection of killers, spies, geniuses, patriots, political operators and outright maniacs” — imagine the general dismissing Vice President Joe Biden in a press conference “with a good one-liner”:
‘Are you asking about Vice President Biden?’ McChrystal says with a laugh. ‘Who’s that?’
‘Biden?’ suggests a top adviser. ‘Did you say: Bite Me?’
At another point, McChrystal checks his BlackBerry.
‘Oh, not another e-mail from Holbrooke,’ he groans. ‘I don’t even want to open it.’ He clicks on the message and reads the salutation out loud, then stuffs the BlackBerry back in his pocket, not bothering to conceal his annoyance.
‘Make sure you don’t get any of that on your leg,’ an aide jokes, referring to the e-mail.
Innocent shit like that and a guy gets fired? Jeez, what’s the world coming to…
For a while I was at a loss why McChrystal, who by all accounts is not totally unsavvy when it comes to the media, would allow himself and his team to vent like that when a reporter is around. But then I read this bit in a Reuters interview with the magazine’s Executive Editor, Eric Bates:
Indeed, [Bates] said, most of the general’s most explosive remarks came within five hours of Rolling Stone’s reporter gaining access to him.
What this tells me is that McChrystal no longer gave a fuck about his command and had decided to go out cowboy style, using as a vehicle a magazine that actually prints swear words. Why he would expect a story like that to “shift the debate” and not just make him look like a dork is beyond me. And frankly, who cares after this bit of news?