General Eric K. Shinseki was a hero to Democrats and the mainstream media because he publicly criticized the Bush administration on Iraq:
In a contentious exchange over the costs of war with Iraq, the Pentagon’s second-ranking official today disparaged a top Army general’s assessment of the number of troops needed to secure postwar Iraq. House Democrats then accused the Pentagon official, Paul D. Wolfowitz, of concealing internal administration estimates on the cost of fighting and rebuilding the country.
Mr. Wolfowitz, the deputy defense secretary, opened a two-front war of words on Capitol Hill, calling the recent estimate by Gen. Eric K. Shinseki of the Army that several hundred thousand troops would be needed in postwar Iraq, ”wildly off the mark.” Pentagon officials have put the figure closer to 100,000 troops.
General Stanley McChrystal has publicly criticized the Obama administration’s handling of the war in Afghanistan. But unlike Shinseki, McChrystal is being portrayed as a bum:
An angry President Obama summoned his top commander in Afghanistan to Washington on Tuesday after a magazine article portrayed the general and his staff as openly contemptuous of some senior members of the Obama administration….
The article does not mention any serious policy differences with Mr. Obama, who chose General McChrystal to take charge of a major escalation of American troops and materiel, in hopes of reversing the deteriorating situation here.
Still, the article seems destined to raise questions about General McChrystal’s judgment, and to spark debate over the wisdom of Mr. Obama’s strategy, at a time when violence in Afghanistan is rising sharply and when several central planks of the strategy appear to be stalled.
There is a huge difference between Shinseki and McChrystal. The former was critical of Bush, the latter of Obama.
Drawing that distinction is what’s called journalism.