Mark (mhaithaca) wrote,

Gen. McChrystal falls on Michael Hastings's pen

Well, as I just tweeted, Michael Hastings is one asshat who'll never again land an interview with a military or political subject. If you don't recognize his name, he's the freelancer whose Rolling Stone profile of Stanley McChrystal just got the four-star general relieved from his command post in Afghanistan.

I'm not sure which is more appalling to me, that McChrystal and his staff (all of whom, you can be sure, are experienced officers) were clueless enough to casually rant about the Obama administration's positions on the war and their opinions of Vice President Biden, or that Hastings and the RS editors felt it was OK to publish any of it.

While I would stop far short of saying this is entirely Hastings's fault, I feel strongly, as a part-time writer myself, that a journalist has a responsibility to tread carefully in a wartime interview. Whatever the interview subjects were told, it seems irresponsible and disrespectful to report on casual utterances heard during off-duty hours in a bar.

Yes, it was entirely irresponsible for the officers in question to utter them, in a (semi-) public place with a reporter present. Sadly, Gen. McChrystal deserved to be relieved today, no matter how effective he's been or how well his strategy jibes with Obama's.

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