Gen. Stanley McChrystal and his aides mocked President Obama’s national security team in a profile in Rolling Stone. McChrystal quickly extended his “sincerest apology for this profile” and expressed “enormous respect and admiration for President Obama and his national security team.” He’ll probably save face — Americans adore their military men.

Even as a majority of Americans oppose Obama’s Afghanistan escalation, we rarely hear anyone challenge any aspect of the military. But as McChrystal’s profuse apology demonstrates, he is fully beholden to President Obama. Civilians are too ready to accord the military a special status, when in fact it’s another branch of (big) government and just as answerable to a partisan leader as is any other agency. That means McChrystal has to think twice about criticizing his boss. But it also means the rest of us should be just as willing to criticize military leaders as we are cabinet secretaries and bureaucrats.