McChrystal out, Petraeus in
A senior administration official tells The Associated Press that President Barack Obama has accepted Gen. Stanley McChrystal's resignation as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan and is replacing him with Gen. David Petraeus, head of U.S. Central Command.
McChrystal was pushed out over his blistering remarks about administration officials quoted in a magazine interview.
After an Oval Office meeting with McChrystal in the morning, Obama huddled with his war advisers and planned to announce his decision on the general's fate to the nation at 1:30 p.m. EDT in the Rose Garden.
The official spoke only on condition of anonymity, because the president's announcement was not yet public. Petraeus now oversees the wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
Look, we knew this was going to happen. We knew that either General McChrystal was either going to resign or be sacked. The thin-skinned president isn't one to allow criticism to go unpunished, and it was clear yesterday that he was out. We had hoped that he'd end up with a dressing down; a reprimand, and be allowed to return to duty in Afghanistan. Apparently, that's not the case.
Do we excuse General McChrystal and the comments that were quoted from his aides? No, we don't. They should know that any public rebuke or critique of the administration was going to result in someone losing their job. The lessons from MacArthur during Korea should have served as a reminder to what they were saying, and who they were saying it to. Evidently, they didn't take that into account.
Do soldiers gripe in the field? Hell yes they do, and more often than not, their ire is directed towards the civilian leadership in DC. The military detests back-bencher, armchair quarterbacks questioning them, and constantly checking up on them. But you don't go off spouting about it in public, and that was where they made their mistake.
It's a shame to see McChrystal go, but at least the troops in Afghanistan will be in good hands when General David Petraeus arrives. He helmed the Surge in Iraq, and he'll do what he has to do to win in Afghanistan.