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The Right Thing to Do

June 23, 2010

General McChrystal is gone:

President Barack Obama ousted Gen. Stanley McChrystal as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan on Wednesday, saying that his scathing published remarks about administration officials undermine civilian control of the military and erode the needed trust on the president’s war team.

Obama named McChrystal’s direct boss – Gen. David Petraeus – to take over the troubled 9-year-old war in Afghanistan. He asked the Senate to confirm Petraeus for the new post “as swiftly as possible.”

The president said he did not make the decision to accept McChrystal’s resignation over any disagreement in policy or “out of any sense of personal insult.” Flanked by Vice President Joe Biden, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in the Rose Garden, he said: “I believe it is the right decision for our national security.”

Obama hit several gracious notes about McChrystal and his service, saying that he made the decision to sack him “with considerable regret.” And yet, said he said that the job in Afghanistan cannot be done now under McChrystal’s leadership, asserting that the critical remarks from the general and his inner circle in the Rolling Stone magazine article displayed conduct that doesn’t live up to the necessary standards for a command-level officer.

Obama seemed to suggest that McChrystal’s military career is over, including in his praise of the general that the nation should be grateful “for his remarkable career in uniform.”

McChrystal left the White House following his Oval Office call to accounts, and returned to his military quarters at Washington’s Fort McNair. A senior military official said there is no immediate decision about whether he would retire from the Army, which has been his entire career. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.

With the controversy have the effect of refueling debate over his Afghanistan policy, Obama took pains to emphasize that the strategy was not shifting with McChrystal’s outster.

There is only one person responsible for General McChrystal’s ouster and that is General Stanley McChrystal.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. rachel permalink
    June 23, 2010 4:35 pm

    He had to go.

  2. Pcfs permalink
    June 23, 2010 6:20 pm

    I agree.

  3. SpfcMarcus permalink
    June 23, 2010 9:46 pm

    Almost every person in the military, particularly at the highest levels, understood what was wrong about how McChrystal was conducting himself and undermining civilian-military relations- a key aspect of COIN. I served as a captain in Iraq so I know a bit about these things. I saw someone mentioned in some comment yesterday or today the self-promotion conspiracy blog No Quarter and I really think Larry Johnson’s analysis is total shit. First, the guy exaggerates his professional history and implies he’s an expert in all things military-intelligence related. Unfortunately, whatever cred he does have in that area, and he does certainly have some after working at the Agency, ended when he donned his tinfoil hat and started seeing conspiracies in everything Obama did/said. I didn’t vote for Obama but that doesn’t mean I’m going to buy the shit No Quarter is selling.

    Not only should the General and his gang not have talked shit about civilian officials, they should have understood that while preaching the theory of COIN they weren’t practicing it and thus they have jeopardized the entire effort and that is unforgivable. Some civilian media types and politicos don’t understand the significance of that, but those of us who have worn the uniform do, or should.

    • PYW permalink
      June 23, 2010 10:58 pm

      Do you agree with the Petraeus choice?

      • SpfcMarcus permalink
        June 24, 2010 5:37 am

        Yes and no. The Petraeus choice is excellent if you believe the COIN strategy is going to work. If you don’t, then he’s just more of the same.

        COIN basically assumes that a nation will be able to commit unlimited resources in manpower and money for a very extended period of time, possible 10+ years. Is the US prepared for that commitment? It also requires that the Afghan governor be a credible partner and Karzai is a walking disaster bc he’s playing both sides and really I think he’s not right in the head. So long as Karzai is there billions of taxpayer dollars will be wasted.

        I never served in Afghanistan but I have friends who are there and it is unwinnable under current circumstances. There is a reason it is the graveyard of empires. You can’t fight people who live in caves and who will stay there forever and fight it’s their country and whether we like certain elements or not they will never stop fighting unless they see a viable alternative.

        This war is also a huge boon to the defense industry and private contractors. The U.S. taxpayer is paying Xe to illegally work with the CIA and to get pay each mercenary soldier about $10,000 a day to do what U.S. military soldiers are getting paid piss to do. That Americans put up with this nonsense is outrageous.

        • June 24, 2010 9:02 am

          Thanks for your input and I agree. It doesn’t make sense that we are pursuing a strategy that by definition requires decades of commitment when we have no $$ and not enough troops.

          I don’t know how any of this can work when a corrupt, illegitimate govt is in place there- of course, the US originally anointed Karzai- yet another egregious error by the hawks that they don’t want to talk about. The CIA employs Karzai’s corrupt brother who is paying off Taliban and warlords.

          The whole policy seems naive and I just don’t understand why Gates, Clinton, etc. seem so gung ho (at least based on earlier reports during the troop increase talks)

  4. Jackie permalink
    June 24, 2010 2:20 am

    He didn’t have the confidence of the civilian leadership. I now think this was the right decision.

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