Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 23, 2010

OBAMA RELIEVES MCCHRYSTAL OF COMMAND.... This morning's schedule offered a pretty big hint. President Obama met with Gen. Stanley McChrystal for only 20 minutes in the Oval Office, and the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan then departed -- before a scheduled meeting of officials to discuss the ongoing war effort. If McChrystal was going to stay at his post, it seemed the four-star general likely would have stuck around.

He didn't for a reason. The Commander in Chief relieved McChrystal of his command today.

President Obama today fired embattled Gen. Stanley McChrystal from his position as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan after the general made disparaging comments in a magazine story about top administration officials.

In a striking development, McChrystal will be replaced by Gen. David Petraeus, the current CENTCOM commander. It's unclear, at this point, if Petraeus will try to take on both tasks at the same time, but the shift from McChrystal to Petraeus is stunning and unexpected. At a minimum, it signals something of a doubling down -- by tapping Petraeus, it's clear Obama isn't changing course in Afghanistan.

More soon.

Steve Benen 1:45 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (27)

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Comments

I'm no expert on military protocol and ranking systems, but wouldn't this technically constitute a kind of demotion for Petraeus, unless he were to also keep his CENTCOM position?

Posted by: jonas on June 23, 2010 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

McChrystal must have known what he was doing when he and his staff spouted off to a RS reporter - he is many things, but not an idiot. McChrystal fired himself. Why?

Posted by: cjdquest on June 23, 2010 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

Interesting. Does Odierno replace Petraeus at Centcom now, and if so who replaces Odierno in Iraq?

Posted by: sacman701 on June 23, 2010 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

I missed the president making the announcement... link to video anyone?

Posted by: citizen_pain on June 23, 2010 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

I guess McChrystal is in the pockets of the right wing. Why else would he slam his boss in the Rolling Stone mag? Maybe he saw what we are all thinking: Afghanistan is the graveyard of empires and he didn't want to "go down with the ship" so to speak. Semper fi McChrystal. Semper Fi...!

Posted by: stevio on June 23, 2010 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

Jonas, not sure - but when your president calls, you really don't have a choice but to say yes.

In any case, it won't be considered a demotion because of the circumstances.

Posted by: fourlegsgood on June 23, 2010 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

Right call. We have to at least pretend there's civilian control of the military. McCrystal challenged Obama to a game of chicken, and that's one the president can never lose.

Posted by: beep52 on June 23, 2010 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

Petraeus. Ugh.

Villagers creaming themselves - war forever! Endless repetition of the idiot conventional wisdom that Petraeus, with his brilliant surge, singlehandedly won the war in Iraq.

Not unexpected, but dispiriting.

I will hand it to Obama, the village at a stroke went from asking how could a pigmy Democratic president possibly replace the indispensable McChrystal to falling all over themselves with the brilliance of doubling down on this hopeless war.

We are totally f*cked.

Posted by: jimBOB on June 23, 2010 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

"he is many things, but not an idiot."

I disagree. He got in trouble earlier with his comments on the Afghan policy review, but didn't learn anything.

He says he has compromised the mission, and in the old days a general would consider using his service revolver on himself.

Posted by: bob h on June 23, 2010 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

Weak, ah? He won them all. If Saint Petraeus can't win this war, then we could just go home next year.

Posted by: impik on June 23, 2010 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

"At a minimum, it signals something of a doubling down"...

.. to which the person betting loses even more money, or in this case lives as far as the U.S. is concerned.

Posted by: Sean Scallon on June 23, 2010 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

Petraeus was in congress just the other day and was very firm on the July 2011 deadline.

Posted by: impik on June 23, 2010 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

Surprisingly, especially in light of the comments here, but most of the media thinks it was a brilliant move by the President.

Posted by: maggie on June 23, 2010 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

I dunno guys...I was just reading General Honore (ret) and he quoted Charles de Gaulle, who once said, "Graveyards are full of indispensable men."

"He had something there," Honore says

Posted by: SYSPROG on June 23, 2010 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

Gen. McCrystal: Day 1 keynote speaker at 2012 GOP convention!

Posted by: howie on June 23, 2010 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

McChrystal's statement:

"This morning the President accepted my resignation as Commander of U.S. and NATO Coalition Forces in Afghanistan," McChrystal wrote. "I strongly support the President's strategy in Afghanistan and am deeply committed to our coalition forces, our partner nations, and the Afghan people. It was out of respect for this commitment -- and a desire to see the mission succeed -- that I tendered my resignation."

Posted by: SYSPROG on June 23, 2010 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Stevio wrote: I guess McChrystal is in the pockets of the right wing. Why else would he slam his boss in the Rolling Stone mag?

So why give the down deep commentary to a magazine like the Rolling Stone and it's demographic of readers whose age-range and political leanings would hardly be viewed as right-wing republicans?

An interview with Fox News, CNN, or the WSJ would have been more reflective of your views.

Posted by: Pencarrow on June 23, 2010 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

howie, no, because Obama was smart enough to not trash McChrystal as he was shown the door.

he made it about the correct issue, which was the undermining of the civilian control of the military.

Posted by: fourlegsgood on June 23, 2010 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

McChrystal's staff called themselves "Team America." To quote the Team American character Cary Johnston in the 2004 movie "Team America-World Police,"We're dicks! We're reckless, arrogant, stupid dicks." McChrystal wasn't an idiot, he was a reckless, arrogant, stupid dick.

Posted by: Ron Byers on June 23, 2010 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

I suspect Petraeus' appointment means we MIGHT be exiting in 2011, heads held high.

The administration may be able to begin to talk about what they're doing there without a snake in the grass (you-know-who) shadowing every pronouncement & every policy decision and implying or saying outright it won't work.

McChrystal was a one-man Senate GOP.

Posted by: jjm on June 23, 2010 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

Petraeus as the replacement, if only temporarily, was the obvious solution. Continuity with the strategy, familiarity with the players and confidence from the troops. Having replaced McChrystal with Petraeus, I hope the scheduled December review of the Afghan war will not spell an unending conflict. Petraeus will be replaced as the central commander. I suspect he will be replaced by a placeholder, someone who is close to retirement or perhaps someone who has already retired such as General Abizaid.

Posted by: Diane Rodriguez on June 23, 2010 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

If McChrystal keynotes for the Republican convention, he can open by explaining why he reportedly voted for Obama in 2008 (as noted in the Rolling Stone piece).

Posted by: Tom S. on June 23, 2010 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

The Petraeus appointment could go either of two ways. First, Afghanistan could trash yet another general's reputation and cut Petraeus down to size in case he feels like wandering off the reservation, or, second, when this surge is over and it accomplishes the modest things it might reasonably be expected to accomplish, Petraeus can lead the brass band when we declare victory and get out.

Posted by: CJColucci on June 23, 2010 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

By putting GEN Petreaus in charge, the President effectively puts Deputy Commander LTG David Rodriquez in the position that GEN McChrystal held. This means that the entire project is not disrupted and that a very competent leader is in place.

Since this is a four star job (GEN) and D-Rod (as he is known) is a three star (LTG), expect a promotion soon.

http://www.isaf.nato.int/en/about-isaf/leadership/lieutenant-general-david-m.-rodriguez.html

Posted by: mikeyes on June 23, 2010 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

The right decision. McChrystal was plainly insubordinate and needed firing.

Posted by: marblex on June 23, 2010 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK


where are the betray-us full page ads?

or are the extreme leftists simply pure hypocrites?

and whatever happened to the daily media death watch? you know, another 2 americans KIA today... after all, 46 in a month is a huge number.

or have those stopped because the impotent puppet obama in office?

Posted by: skeptic on June 23, 2010 at 11:10 PM | PERMALINK

Skeptic (above) teh deaths were noted because Bush initiated two wars, one which rumsfeld insisted we could win with a handful of troops, and the otehr a war of choice when troops were needed elsewhere. that is what caused the deaths. The current deaths are to try and fix a huge mistake that has nearly destroyed our military, and at this point as an invading country we are bound by international law not to leave until some stability returns.

As far as Obama being impotent, his policies, like all those of Democratic presidents will be long lasting; Republican policies are always shortlived and easily reversed (time and time again, lol),

Posted by: ee on June 24, 2010 at 12:34 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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