The reporter could have written that McChrystal and his staff sometime seem uncomfortable with other key players in Afghanistan, and express themselves in salty language, yet they salute and do their part. It's one way to relieve the enormous pressure on them.
I don't blame the reporter for illustrating the point with direct quotes; reporters are ambitious. IMO, this one was too ambitious. Wolf Blitzer, and David Martin, who were all at the Pentagon when I was, didn't advance by being Mr. nice guy, but they understood that every eyeroll by a sr officer is not news and reporting them is petty.
I agree. Loyalty is willingness to protect your boss even if it pisses him off. That seems to have been missing here. McChrytal seems not have had anyone close to him watching his six."This wasn't about bribery, theft, incompetence, or something that ought to be reported."
No. Nothing so mundane. This was about loyalty that was expected from his subordinates to him but not passed on to his superiors while casually and callously rendered among his staff and himself.