I finally got to read the entire Rolling Stone article last night, and I have to be honest. I didn't think the no-holds-barred discussions among his own staff, nor remarks about the civilian leadership, were all that bad (given all the damaging press commentary), and here's why. It's not unusual for a CO to rant about a mission or assignment. It's not unusual for military and civilian leadership to butt heads. They are, after all, trying to reach the same goal using completely different tools. Add to that, the ol' human ego (I'm smarter than you), and the mix inevitably muddies the waters. BUT, McChrystal and his team should not have made such a public spectacle of their frustrations. They knew they were being recorded; they had to know they were contributing to what would become a bombshell (no pun intended). But apparently they were all willing to risk their own integrity, and worse, the integrity of the mission. And that is what is unacceptable behavior. As I was reading the article, I began remembering when I worked as a civil service clerk for the 13th US Army Corps reserve, my first job out of high school. I was only 18 and pretty naive, so you can imagine my shock by the free-flowing language, grumbling about war game assignments, and the general animosity against politial interference almost on a daily basis. BUT, most of the grousing came from the lower ranks against the Commanding Officer (who of course was only following his orders, too). And if the old man happened to stroll into the middle of that kind of bitchfest, they immediately fell silent. The CO, on the other hand, would get into heated discussions, not with fellow officers, but with his first aide, a Master Sargeant. They would spend hours bouncing ideas off each other (loudly). The walls were thin, and I heard a lot of criticism and language that wasn't fit to repeat, let alone go public with. And that was during peace time! The US had not yet become fully involved in Vietnam. So you can imagine how the same sort of tensions are enormously magnified on the battlefield. Military people are trained to be tough guys, so it shouldn't be surprising that they talk tough too. They curse a LOT, they have pet names for people they don't like and people they do like. Does that excuse acting like Neanderthals for the entire civilian population to see? No. That's clearly disrespectful insubordination. But it does explain the difference between a soldier and a diplomat, the latter by definition alone.