Emile Tubiana

  • Emile Tubiana

About the President and General McChrystal

Posted by Emile Tubiana on July 3, 2010

About the President and General McChrystal

When the balance and the trust of a man have been shaken, it is very hard for any superior to deal with him. Normally, it is the responsibility of the superior to act in a way that projects his authority upon his subordinates in a manner they can admire, and as a result, respect the superior.

The same holds true for the laws. They must not be imperative and absolute, but rather take into consideration the details of a particular case. It would be simplistic to attempt to cure all diseases with the same medicine.

A general, like a doctor, has to diagnose the situation before prescribing a remedy. The general gave his recommendation to the president.  In my view, a president, when it comes to war and peace, must possess the qualities appropriate to the task. I believe only experience can help him. Leadership is not given to everyone and especially in difficult situations.

The president’s role is to discover the various problems within each of the tasks he is facing. With this knowledge, he can re-establish the peace of mind which could be lost through diverse circumstances.  In any case, that attitude generates a stream of confidence and even friendship that flows between a superior and a subordinate.

If old problems are going unsolved, new ones are being compounded.  An authority can only expect respect if that respect is deserved. It is essential for an authority, leader, officer, or head of state to know how to establish a balance between the state of mind of his subordinate and the moral support he expects.  Those who do not have the capacity to fulfill such a role should have the courage to step down from their hierarchical position. In the case of the general, whose qualities the president should have been aware of when he nominated him, I believe that he expected a quick reaction and support from the Commander in Chief. The delay in responding to the advice of the general has certainly created the feeling of neglect or of lack of understanding for the actual situation in the field.

I am not arguing about the president’s decision to let General McChrystal “resign”. Discipline in the army must be respected and enforced. This is the basis of the army rule.  But by reading in the press about this famous General McChrystal, by reading various American and European articles, I found out that General McChrystal was not happy with the administration.  He may have said that the President lacks understanding for the meaning of war and for the Army, as he does not have any military experience. I find that it is peculiar for an experienced general, who as Senator Feinstein said: “General McChrystal was one of our very best if not the best commander in the field”, to receive orders from a Commander in Chief who never was in any military unit and who, above all, has an entirely different perception from that which the general used to know and to expect.

Copyrighr 2010 Emile Tubiana

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