Contessa Brewer got a lot more than she was likely looking for when she interviewed Col. Jack Jacobs [ret.] this afternoon about the McChrystal situation. The MSNBC host wanted to focus on the impropriety of McChrystal publicly airing his criticisms of Pres. Obama and others in the chain of command.
But while the Medal of Honor recipient readily agreed that McChrystal was out of line, and would probably pay with his job, Jacobs also went out of his way—twice—to add an inconvenient truth: that when it comes to the substance of the criticism, most in the military think McChrystal "was right."
CONTESSA BREWER: It's about the sort of disdain for authority. And that worries me.
JACK JACOBS: Well it should worry you, and I think he's going to wind up getting fired because of that; at least partially because of that.
BREWER: But is his view not only about the President but about Joe Biden, about Jim Jones, the National Security advisor, about Karl Eikenberry [US ambassador to Afghanistan], on and on down the list: Richard Holbrooke --
JACOBS: Those views are very widely held, by the way, inside the military and outside the military, about those people. That they're ineffective, that Jim Jones, the National Security Advisor, does not have an impact on national security policy, that he has very little access. That Holbrooke hasn't done anything and so on. Those views are widely held. They're not just held by McChrystal's staff for example.
Contessa didn't respond to Jacobs' startling assertion. And when a bit later she closed with more concerns about respecting the chain of command, the colonel took a tough parting shot.
BREWER: There are hundreds of thousands of enlisted men and women in the military who are taught not to question authority; they don't go outside their chain of command. what kind of message does this send to people at the lower levels in the military?
JACOBS: Well, it's not a very goood one. But let me tell you what's going to happen. Gen. McChrystal can't stay in his position. He's probably going to tender his resignation, and it's probably going to be accepted--or demanded in the first place. He might stay. There are certain circumstances in which he might stay. Likely as not he is going to be gone, and he's probably going to wind up retiring.
And in the end, this is what the rank and file of military establishment is going to say, privately. They're going to say: absolutely right: you can't do this, you can't countenance your subordinates speak to the press and say that the rest of the chain of command above you are a bunch of knuckleheads. But they're going to say: you know what? He was right.