Here are three examples of military commanders whose words or beliefs resulted in their early retirement. General McChrystal meets with Obama Wednesday.
Gen. Stanley McChrystal might be fired Wednesday because he made contemptuous remarks about senior US officials to Rolling Stone magazine. If he does lose his job, it will represent a rare – but not unprecedented – dismissal of a wartime military commander by civilian leaders.
The most dramatic such replacement since World War II was probably President Truman’s sacking of Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur. At the time, MacArthur was commander of the United Nations forces defending South Korea in the Korean War. His daring amphibious assault at Inchon helped turn the tide of that conflict, but his public statements criticizing Mr. Truman’s policies became intolerable. At one point, for instance, MacArthur called the administration’s Far East positions “appeasement and defeatism in the Pacific.”
MacArthur even then was a legendary figure, but Truman decided he could not put up with the general’s continued blather. He fired him in April 1951.
“I was ready to kick him into the North China Sea, I was never so put out in my life,” Truman said later.
Here are three other, more-recent examples of military commanders whose words or beliefs resulted in their early retirement: