The Instigator
Albatross
Pro (for)
Losing
4 Points
The Contender
gizmo1650
Con (against)
Winning
12 Points

General McChrystal's fate should have been decided by the joint chiefs of staff not the president

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/24/2010 Category: News
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,806 times Debate No: 12410
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (11)
Votes (3)

 

Albatross

Pro

The argument was detailed in the title, but I will write it out again for the sake of it

Argument- General McChrystal's fate should have been decided by the joint chiefs of staff not the president

Definitions(if any are needed)

Joint Chiefs of staff-is a group of military leaders in the United States armed forces who advise the civilian government of the United States

I will take the Pro

It was recently decided by the President of the United States to relieve general Stanly McChrystal of command of US and NATO troops in Afghanistan. While I personally think this was a bad decision, that is not the focus of this debate, the focus is if he had the right to do that. While the president is technically the commander and chief, this term was created for the first president George Washington under the assumption that any man to hold the office would have some military experience(1). This has proven over the years to be untrue, not all presidents have had military experience. I am not trying to say the president has no control over the military but I believe he is stepping over the boundary between the two.

All military law is governed by the Uniform Code Of Military Justice(UCMJ), it is an established code of conduct and justice all members regardless of branch must follow. Insubordination is refusal by a subordinate to obey lawful orders given by a commissioned officer or non commissioned officer and there are also several other criteria(2). General McChrystal is guilty of this charge, but it should be dealt with in military circles, he is entitled to a court-marshal to see if he is indeed guilty of this crime, he is entitled to have a defense consul appointed for him. It is wrong for the president to simply dismiss a highly respected general in a closed meeting with no transparency as to its contents.

On to my main point, The president is motivated by political reasons, not tactical or military reasons. The general is not disobeying an order or failing to accomplish any goals, he is in reality exceeding most expectations put on him. The joint chiefs who are career military men would be better able to analyze the possible tactical ramifications of dismissing a highly respected general without regard to political influences. It is wrong also to simply fire those who disagree with you, if everyone blindly followed orders for fear of dismissal or even death, we would have more holocaust type situations where officers were given the choice of "do what i say or im going to kill you".

(1) http://en.wikipedia.org...
(2) http://usmilitary.about.com...
gizmo1650

Con

First i would like to respond to pros arguments.
1. "While the president is technically the commander and chief, this term was created for the first president George Washington under the assumption that any man to hold the office would have some military experience"
First, i saw nothing in the article about the term being created by George Washington, or under the assumption that the president has military experience, but for arguments sake i will except these facts.
Second, so what? the president is the head of the military, whether he should be or not is irrelevant.

2. "It is wrong for the president to simply dismiss a highly respected general in a closed meeting with no transparency as to its contents."
This sounds like you just don't like his decision, i fail to see how this applies to having the joint chiefs make the decision.

3."On to my main point, The president is motivated by political reasons, not tactical or military reasons."
Do you have any evidence to support this, as you (and General McChrystal) agreed he is guilty of challenging authority publicly, I'm not an expert on psychology, but what would it do to the military to have the leading general publicly attack the president.
Also, this debate is not about whether the president was right or wrong, it is about if the decision was his of the joint chiefs.

4."The joint chiefs who are career military men would be better able to analyze the possible tactical ramifications of dismissing a highly respected general without regard to political influences."
The US military reports to civilian authority, and this debate is not about who about who should have athority in general, it is about who should have made the decision in this one instance.

5. "It is wrong also to simply fire those who disagree with you"
A) True, but in the military it is wrong not to dismiss somebody who publicly attacks a superior officer, if this type of thing had happened with any of general McChrystalls soldiers, as an experienced military man, he would have dismissed them.
B) President Obama agreed with all of Chrystal policy, and if he did not than he should have replaced him long ago
C) This debate is not about if he made the correct decision.

I have seen no argument from pro to support his resolution, and i ask him to keep his arguments more on topic.
Debate Round No. 1
Albatross

Pro

I may have taken me sometime to get to my point, but it is clear that I was expressing, that the joint chiefs have more experience in the matter and are part of the military chain of command. The president is not a commissioned officer, he has received no formal military education, the title is a reflection of the fact that he exerts a certain amount of control over the military. Whether the decision would be the same or different is not what is important, it is the fact that a politician can forge military policy and fire and hire whoever he see's fit. There was no trial, no defense, no oversight of any kind. The joint chiefs are in the structure of the military and are the direct superior of all generals, they know who has the skills and capabilities to execute the strategy, they also would require a court-marshal for any offense a 4 star general was accused of, not a closed door shake down. I support the president in many issues, but he has no military experience, he should delegate decisions he does not fully comprehend to those in his cabinet that do, such as the joint chiefs.

In the comments section someone also brought to my attention the clause of the constitution that supposedly gives the president this authority,

"The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment."

where in the above quote does it suggest he has the authority to dismiss and officer without trial

I would like Con to tell me where he derives the authority to do this. A trial would at least give the general the ability to defend his comments and position in front of a jury of his peers. Even when a superior officer dismisses a lower officer there is a trial or at the very least a review.
gizmo1650

Con

To avoid confusion i am putting pros quotes in <<, and my sources quotes in parentheses.

<>
Yes this is very important, in America we have a concept called Civilian Control of the Military, "Civilian control of the military is a doctrine in military and political science that places ultimate responsibility for a country's strategic decision-making in the hands of the civilian political leadership, rather than professional military officers. "(1)

<>
No, The current military structure was defined in the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986 (2)
Section 151 sub-section B states their functions as advisors to the president.
The remainder of section 151 describes the individual functions and how the joint chiefs should achieve the above goal.
Section 155 sub-section e goes on to state "The Joint Staff shall not operate or be organized as an overall Armed Forces General Staff and shall have no executive authority."

<>
this is an argument i did not make.

<>
Uniform code of Military Justice Section 804 Article 4 (3)
"If any commissioned officer, dismissed by order of the president, makes a written application for trial by court-martial setting forth under oath, that he has been wrongfully dismissed, the President, as soon as practicable, shall convene a general court-martial to try that officer on the charges on which he was dismissed." General McChrystal did not submit an application for a court martial so none is necessary.

In this round i have demonstrated that the president had the authority within the US military, and the Joint chiefs do not. This is in agreement with a fundamental american principal, civilian control over military.

1)http://en.wikipedia.org...
2)http://www.jcs.mil...
3)http://www.au.af.mil... (look at the first section {801.1} and follow the link to 804.4)
Debate Round No. 2
Albatross

Pro

Thank you Con, I will concede this debate as all the above statements are entirely correct. I could contest that even though the above statements are true and the president does have this right that he should not, but that is for a different debate.

Id like to thank Con for bringing this to my attention, Im always trying to be more informed and improve my debating skills, maybe I just choose to argue the wrong topic and did not do enough research
gizmo1650

Con

I would like to thank pro for creating this debate and giving me the opportunity to research military law.
Debate Round No. 3
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
Con's R2 was most convincing, though it has always been clear that the president is commander-in-chief. I'd argue that McChrystal's remarks were political and significant, so even if the decision were made by the Joint Chiefs it would still have to be a political one.

S&G was poor on both sides, bad enough to distract from the content.
Posted by gizmo1650 7 years ago
gizmo1650
can someone please vote
Posted by AllenX 7 years ago
AllenX
There is nothing wrong in bursting out your opinions in public for as long as you will take the risk of being responsible for it. General Mchrystal released a statement about his disagreements for Obama Administration. General Stanley McChrystal is being called on the White House carpet after a magazine article released this week quoted the general and his staff criticizing the Obama administration and its Afghanistan strategy.I am not saying its totally forbidden and I respect him for doing that so, but the Obama administration serves the right also to make him explain further his statements.
Posted by mcala7 7 years ago
mcala7
albatross is sadly true obama and the president is no longer a military leader
although he may be the commander and chief
i do not believe he should be making decisions for the military
i mean the man is a lawyer not a soldier
he has no, as i know of, military experience so how would he truly know whats best
i think this was just another move for political points
Posted by gizmo1650 7 years ago
gizmo1650
thats because it is not relevant, and the president agreed with his policies.
Posted by Albatross 7 years ago
Albatross
the debate which you seem to be avoiding is as to who should have the authority, i believe that the joint chiefs should have it due to there long career dealing with the business of the military, the president is a figure head, he has no military experience. i did not include it in my official debate as it did not seem relevant but the fact that any president has control over the military is a joke. if the president wants something done by the military thats fine, but he should have no say as to how that end is to be accomplished, or as to who he thinks can do it best. If the job gets done it shouldn't matter if he personally disagreed with it
Posted by gizmo1650 7 years ago
gizmo1650
President Obama is his superior officer, and this is the military, wheres the debate
Posted by Albatross 7 years ago
Albatross
If you wish to debate do so, but just don't make unjustifiable claims, your Constitution reference is good, but says nothing to the effect of "the commander and chief has the right to dismiss anyone he wishes without due process of law"
Posted by Steelerman6794 7 years ago
Steelerman6794
@Albatross Obama has the final say in the matters of the military. He can decide who will be in command under him, and what troops will serve where and in what number. Therefore, replacing McChrystal with Petraeus is completely under his power, as he has the final say in who commands his forces.
Posted by Albatross 7 years ago
Albatross
I see nothing in the text you presented that suggests he has the authority to dismiss Gen, McChrystal
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Newsinterest 7 years ago
Newsinterest
Albatrossgizmo1650Tied
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Vote Placed by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
Albatrossgizmo1650Tied
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Vote Placed by Harman 7 years ago
Harman
Albatrossgizmo1650Tied
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Total points awarded:42