Philosophy 101 With Liz Smith: The Theoretical Future of General McChrystal

Gen. McChrystal/Image:

The octogenarian has a few pertinent questions … and asks you to weigh in.

“THE RECENT ETHOS (the firing of General McChrystal) had its flaws. But the exposure ethos, with its relentless emphasis on destroying privacy and exposing impurities, has chased good people from public life, undermined public faith in institutions and elevated the trivial over the important.”

So wrote David Brooks in The New York Times. Still, the General’s macho drinking-fueled hangout with his gossipy boys probably needed exposure.

And in the matter of ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer snagging a CNN job as a correspondent-commentator, I must ask: Do his detractors intend that Spitzer never be allowed to work again, that his considerable intelligence and “smarts” should be wasted on the desert air? It seems to me Spitzer, on the verge of a brilliant career in government, paid his price after his exposure as a dedicated user of prostitutes. He had to give up his job running New York State and he had to suffer the embarrassment and heartbreak of his wonderful wife and daughters.

He deserved all of that. But shouldn’t we be forgiving now, and let bygones be bygones? Let Eliot Spitzer survive and begin again to serve.


QUESTION: Where does a great big heroic military man and general who eats only one meal a day and is a giant-killer by anyone’s standards go after being fired from the Army by the president of the United States?

Will General McChrystal go to big oil or to Wall Street? What exactly does a West Pointer for life do for an encore?

Maybe the president should have offered McChrystal another job like being in charge of cleaning up the Gulf. (I’m sure BP has an eye on this “can-do” guy.)

Let the theorizing begin!

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