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McChrystal / MacArthur: Deja vu all over again?

Six months after their 1950 meeting on Wake Island, Truman fired MacArthur. Now, eight months after their meeting on Air Force One, McChrystal is being summoned to Washington, his professional fate unclear. In this video from MSNBC TV's The Daily Rundown, NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell says:

"I think it crosses the line of insubordination and it crosses the line of the Military Code of Justice. He has challenged the Commander-in-Chief and legally, morally, ethically, professionally, he ought to be canned. Now the question is whether practically you can fire the top commander at a time when the war is [...] in a very bad stage." -Watch

As far back as last October, pundits and historians were comparing the conundrums Gen. McChrystal posed for President Obama with the troubled relationship between MacArthur and Truman, who famously reflected on the end of that affair: "I didn't fire him because he was a dumb son of a bitch, although he was." This column by David Greenberg, a professor of history at Rutgers University, is a good example, in part because of its clear caveat about drawing too direct of an analogy:

"Like most historical analogies bandied about in the media, this one is overdrawn. 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." -via The St. Petersburg Times / tampabay.com

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