The McChrystal controversy

When generals are defiant

High ranking military officers rarely publicly criticize the President or his policies.

On the few occasions it's happened in the recent past, the offending officer was fired.

Admiral Louis Denfeld: President Harry S. Truman fired Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Louis Denfeld on a recommendation from then-Navy Secretary Francis Matthews after Denfeld complained that the Navy was being starved for funding by the Air Force B-36 bomber program.

General Douglas McArthur: After China entered the Korean War on the side of the North Koreans, MacArthur sought to extend the war into China. President Truman and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, anxious to avoid yet another world war, decided to limit the conflict to Korea. MacArthur made numerous statements criticizing this policy. Truman then fired him.

General Michael Dugan: Defense Secretary Richard B. Cheney fired Gen. Michael J. Dugan as Air Force chief of staff after Dugan made public comments about contingency plans to unleash massive air raids on Iraq and target President Saddam Hussein personally.

General Stanley McChrystal: The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, made disparaging comments about Obama administration officials in a profile published in Rolling Stone magazine. Obama says he wants to talk to McChrystal directly before deciding whether to fire him.

The Washington Post

© The Washington Post Company