Imagine you are a girl (i.e. Obama) who is in a relationship with a guy (i.e. McChrystal) who is smart, accomplished and likeable. Except for that one time when he did something that really pissed you off and the fact that some of your family members are not a big fan of him, you’re pretty sure he’s the one. So far, so good. Now, around his friends (i.e. McChrystal's staff) this guy has a tendency to be a meathead -- but this is only when you’re not around. Fact is, most guys have a group of friends like this. The kind where if their girlfriend bared witness to their behavior, it’d mean definite axation. But everyone knows how to manage this: The guy accepts to either relegate those friends to guys-night-out only events; or, if they are to be invited, liquor is not to be served. No problem (minus weddings, but we’ll let some other humiliated reader share their story about this unavoidable exception to the rule).
Now, imagine you’re with this boyfriend on a trip to Europe, and are supposed to head back to the states the following day. During this trip you even spend some sober time with said group of friends, as the rules permit. They’re annoying and make some off handed comments about your relationship that have you wondering what your boyfriend must be saying to them, but whatever, you’re leaving the next day and can ignore it. There’s only one minor obstacle. You see, fate has it that a fucking volcano in northern Europe decides to erupt right as you’re about to leave the country, which means that all flights on the continent are grounded until further notice.
During the next two weeks your boyfriend, citing unforeseeable circumstances, breaks the rules and does not turn down the repeated invitations from his group of friends for you and him to join them. What follows is a disaster. His friends are assholes – I mean major assholes. But there’s more to it than that. A lot of the shit they tell you when drunk are quotes from your boyfriend: he thinks that your mother is a whore, most of your friends are idiots, that you’re intimidated by him and that you make him constantly do shit that is—and I quote—“fucking gay”. Oh yeah, and to top it off, this is all recorded and posted on YouTube (don’t ask me why, it just is).
That in effect is what happened with General McChrystal. He had an interview with Rolling Stone. During the two day interview he and his advisers made some suspect remarks, but they were things that could be overlooked. Then came that damn volcano. During the next two weeks very few of the insults the reporter heard came from out of the general’s mouth (they were mostly all from his top advisers). And most of the insults weren’t even directed at the President. But for the general’s friends to have said the shit they did, they had to have heard it from somewhere. And, even if the President could get past the personal slight, there was still that damn YouTube video –you know, the one that by now had not only been e-mailed around by all your cousins, but was being posted on Facebook by random people you haven’t seen since high school.
The president had to blow him off. And McChrystal? Sure we could say that he shouldn’t have been such a jackass and said all those things to his advisers in the first place, but you might also argue that his mistake was in not ending the reporter’s time with him as originally scheduled. Once that damn volcano hit, he should’ve known that there were simply too many opportunities for his friends to get drunk, run their mouths, and embarrass him. A lesson to be had for bachelors of the world...otherwise, we might all be forced to hand in our resignations.