Friday, June 25, 2010

How the general lost his job



General McChrystal was denied a glamorous ending.
All monarchs and generals, atleast in books and movies, lose their jobs in very grand manners. They are either killed in battles, or assassinated, or take their lives themselves. They are made to suffer for their mistakes by being marooned on islands far away from their country where they die of some awful disease and end up being glorified. Or they seek political asylum in a foreign country, giving lectures all over the world for a living and still end up being gloried. But no general, in the history of the world (as I know it), lost his job because of an article written in a magazine.
But here is where you’re wrong. Rolling Stone is not just ‘a’ magazine. I thought that too for some time, but that was before I read Hunter S. Thompson’s work and a magazine which can have a journalist like him on board, must be quite radical. The magazine is devoted to music, politics and popular culture (source: Wikipedia). So the same issue that might rave about Lady Ga Ga’s new album (with her 'almost' nude pictures all over the place) and criticise the new chick-hunk-action Cruise/Diaz film 'Knight and Day' also squeezed in a life changing, and maybe a world changing, interview of General McChrystal.
I wonder what the general was thinking. Did he imagine he would have all the bigwigs in Congress and the White House worrying over what this man, in charge of one of the biggest wars in the history of America, thinks about them behind their back? Or maybe, he thought that Obama would consider his ‘I-don’t-give-a-shit-about-politicians’ attitude as the key to put pressure on our puppet government? Or maybe, just maybe, he was looking for a way out from this whole Afghanistan thing and instead of asking for a leave, he just thought of giving a bizarre interview to an iconic magazine. Or maybe, (and this one is good), he thought that having his picture in a popular, youth oriented magazine might make him a big star and land him with a Hollywood movie.
Whatever it was, General McChrystal was relieved of command, over, yes, a magazine article. Not a very glamorous ending. No firing squad. No life imprisonment over war crimes. What would the General do now? I think he would probably team up with Musharraf (another gung-ho general) and they’ll make a geo-political think tank which would try and solve the Afghanistan problem, hunt down the Taliban, get hold of the mineral wealth of that country, and eradicate terrorism from the world – all in a few hours of lectures and talks.
So, if the war in Afghanistan worsens, do we blame Rolling Stone?
Photograph: Rolling Stone magazine [www.rollingstone.com]