Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, did something incredibly stupid. He cooperated with and spoke far too frankly to a Rolling Stone reporter. He is on his way to Washington to apologize for it. But there’s a pretty good case to be made for firing him.
The argument against firing him is that, well, he’s in charge in Afghanistan. It’s his strategy, he’s the counterinsurgency expert, and he’s supposed to have made the place ready for drawing down in a year.
But he insulted the civilian leadership of the military, from the State Department’s ambassador to the vice-president of the United States. On the record. To Rolling Stone. His staff trashed the president himself. James Fallows says the president must “demonstrate that there are consequences for showing open disrespect for the chain of command.”
Spencer Ackerman says there’s a case to be made that McChrystal could be court-martialed. But, he adds, McChrystal probably won’t even get fired:
Regardless of whether McChrystal should be fired — there’s, frankly, a compelling case to be made when considering the Uniform Code of Military Justice’s penalty of court martial for “any commissioned officer [using] contemptuous words” against the civilian chain of command — my guess is that he won’t be.
But while McChrystal will probably keep his command, his idiotic decision does probably mean that any further escalation of the Afghanistan war is off the table.
An interesting question now is whether Republicans jump on Team McChrystal and begin repeating the complaints made by the general. On the one hand, we know how Republicans feel about undermining the commander in chief during a time of war. On the other, they only think that’s bad when the commander in chief is a Republican. Just be on the lookout for some neocons to start bemoaning the influence of Joe Biden while disingenuously talking up their respect for Hillary Clinton.
(Just about an hour ago, you could read the entire forthcoming Rolling Stone piece at Politico, for some reason. I’m guessing that reason is “theft,” because you can’t do that anymore. Rolling Stone will most likely post the entire thing online some time in mid-July, when everyone is done talking about it. For now, a couple excerpts are here.) (Update: Look, Rolling Stone put it up! They’re learning!)
Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @pareeneMore Alex Pareene.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.