Like most historical analogies bandied about in the media, this one is overdrawn. As serious as it is, the war in Afghanistan hardly approaches the Korean War in its magnitude or impact. McChrystal, for his part, has nothing like MacArthur's prestige, and his testing of Obama's supremacy falls well short of MacArthur's defiance. Yet the story of Truman and MacArthur remains useful to remember—not because it directly mirrors today's but because it created a dynamic in which subsequent presidents felt unduly constrained by the prospect of military commanders undermining them.
Monday, October 12, 2009
David Greenberg on those who compare Gen. McChrystal's public dialogue with President Obama to Douglas MacArthur's confrontation with Harry Truman: