McChrystal Firing Not Unusual in U.S. History

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Gen. McChrystal was not the first general to be dismissed by a president and due to the U.S. military and political systems, he won't be the last.

McChrystal's dismissal came after Rolling Stone magazine quoted the general and his staff making disparaging and insulting comments about Obama and the president's security team. The article described McChrystal as a man who, albeit brilliant, "speaks his mind with a candor rare for a high-ranking official"-- even when he disagrees with his superiors.

During the Korean War, Gen. McArthur openly opposed Harry Truman's orders to scale back American operations, going so far as to blatantly disobey orders and move troops forward. To maintain control, Truman felt he had no choice but to fire McArthur in 1951.

Among other notorious examples, James Polk canned Gen. Zachary Taylor after Taylor took too much authority in making an armistice with Mexico during the Mexican-American war in the mid 1840s. And Abraham Lincoln booted Gen. George McClellan during the Civil War in 1862 for not being as aggressive as Lincoln had ordered him to be.

Sometimes, conflicts between presidents and generals are more subtle, but tensions are almost always there, McManus said. During the Vietnam War, for instance, Gen. William Westmoreland was constantly chafing under restrictions imposed by Lyndon Johnson's administration. And there was endless bickering between George H.W. Bush's administration and top military commanders during the Persian Gulf War in the early 1990s....

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