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Was Obama right to relieve Gen. McChrystal of command?

President Obama on Wednesday fired Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal as commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan and replaced him with Gen. David H. Petraeus, a White House official said. Read the full article.

By Jodi Westrick  |  June 23, 2010; 1:44 PM ET  | Category:  National Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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No matter what his frustrations, it's appalling that McChrystal would publicly undercut the leadership this way. He left Obama with rotten choices: look weak, or fire the top soldier mid-war. The soldiers going to war have a right to expect that the civil & military leadership can put on a united front; our Afghani supporters & enemies are watching, too. Dreadful judgment on the general's part. His bid to look witty will cost the country dearly.

Posted by: Hunter | June 23, 2010 2:04 PM

While I'm sure General McChrystal is an extremely qualified commander, as a general who is in charge of our efforts in Afghanistan, you can't go around publicly trashing your commander-in-chief, or allow your staff to do the same. If you disagree with him, don't think highly of him or any of the rest of the civilian leadership, fine-but you can't go public with it. That was just stupid. I don't really know a lot about the military, but isn't that kinda considered insubordination?

Posted by: BruinGirl2001 | June 23, 2010 2:06 PM

This is a terribly sad affair. Unfortunately, Gen. McChrystal chose a poor forum for expressing his frustration. The general should have demanded an audience with the president to discuss these matters--not grant a Rolling Stone reporter this type of interview. And allowing his aides to dogpile on the administration is truly inexplicable. If the situation with this administration was so difficult and he could not communicate via normal chains of command, the general should have resigned, then granted his interview with Rolling Stone.

But this situation would only detract from the mission at hand, and for this reason, Gen. McChrystal needed to be relieved of command. Best of luck to Gen. Patreus in this role.

The only winner: Rolling Stone magazine adn their reporter.

Posted by: pepperjade | June 23, 2010 2:07 PM

No doubt in the future so-called reporters with Rolling Stone, or who have ever worked with Rolling Stone, will find it exceedingly difficult to find any active duty military folks to "interview".

It's like with GQ magazine ~ they got an interview with RNC Chairman Steele, and now they can't even get an interview with the Republican crowd who just lost all their primaries in South Carolina!

One does wonder what will happen to Lady Gaga. She was a hot leadin to the General McChrystal story ~ Fur Shur.

Just like to add Rolling Stone didn't win anything here.

Posted by: muawiyah | June 23, 2010 2:14 PM

McChrystal knew what he was doing, playing the press game and thinking Obama was going to genuflect and let it slide. I won't cry for him though, he's got his pension and a cushy contractor job waiting on him.

Posted by: walkdwalk | June 23, 2010 2:14 PM

I think blaming the Rolling Stone is a way of giving support to McChrystal for his comments. It was a reporter that he and his aides made the comments in front of. Did he seriously think they would not be reported? The same thing would have happened if the reporter came from ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC or Fox. This notion being floated around that he was not media savy is a bunch of baloney. I'm not a 4 star general but even I know you don't run your mouth off about your boss when there is a Reporter around. Just how media savy to you have to be to understand that? McChrystal showed exceptionally poor judgement and should have been relieved of command.

Posted by: dre7861 | June 23, 2010 2:15 PM

Of course President Obama did the right thing by replacing McChrystal. He was given no choice. I have to give him credit: he acted decisively and spoke eloquently. Unlike his handling of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Obama showed the sort of leadership the office of presidency requires. I don't think anyone will be unhappy with the choice of Gen. Petraeus as the Afghan commander for a variety of reasons. Petraeus is a Patriot and we should salute and support him for taking on this difficult assignment.

Posted by: bryan37 | June 23, 2010 2:18 PM

McChrystal's poor judgement and immaturity surely should have noticed long before he became a four-star general. The signs were there just overlooked.

Posted by: Alliance1 | June 23, 2010 2:19 PM

How wonderful that we have such a courageous CinC who is determined to lead this nation to victory in Afghanistan and so give another General the chance to be the first since Alexander to subjugate and pacify the Afghan tribesmen.

In order to show how all Americans support our CinC and his new general in the field let's now enact a draft to ensure that manpower will be available in generous numbers and all Americans will have a chance to show their support for the War and President Obama.

Next, for those unable because of age and/or physical infirmities to paticipate in person, surely after nine years under Bush and Obama of efforts to cover the wars costs with supplementals, it is time to end them now.

Put the figure in the budget at the beginning of the FY and make a ten year survey of costs and resources. Plan accordingly.

Further, cease financing the war with more indebtedness for future generations to repay.

These expenditures are great for the defense industry and for foreign companies with outsourcing contracts from the Pentagon. For example, the Russian helcopter manufacturer and suppliers must be looking forward to a long and happy and profitable relationship with the U.S. military.

And Kirghzstan will continue to enjoy revenues for base and landing rights --- if the Russians don't object. And those Afghan warlords toll collectors from American convoys during the day but Taliban fighters at night never had it so good. Once upon a time strategists underlined the need for secure supply lines but that is obviously old fashioned thinking these days.

Petraeus, Petraeus, he's the man, if he can't win then nobody can.

P.S. It seems to me that Obama had complete confidence in Gen.Mac on his appointment announcement. What happened?

Posted by: AmericanInterestsFirstandLast | June 23, 2010 2:24 PM

Obama and McChrystal are both war criminals.

McChrystal enables and facilitates torture, with Obama's approval.

They both disgust me.

Posted by: solsticebelle | June 23, 2010 2:26 PM

The general seems to have confused having a few stars with being a star.

don't worry, the tea party will call.

Posted by: newagent99 | June 23, 2010 2:29 PM

If the present civilian leadership acts the way they are doing we will lose the "war on terror" irrespective of new commander and his previous achievements. Success in Iraq was due to President Bush. Undercutting Afghnistan/Pakistan Governments by our civilian team members, like Biden, Holbroke and others will not brink victory. They should learn from the Bush, how to run a war to win.

Posted by: madayilnair | June 23, 2010 2:29 PM

You don't "screw up" the chain of command.
Although President Obama has not had any
military experience, he has enough to promptly react to his Army commander's less than respectful and inappropriate comment to relieve the General of command. The question to be answered
is why did the General, of all people with
his extensive military experience, shoot
his mouth off??

Posted by: onaryc | June 23, 2010 2:31 PM

You don't "screw up" the chain of command.
Although President Obama has not had any
military experience, he has enough to promptly react to his Army commander's less than respectful and inappropriate comment to relieve the General of command. The question to be answered
is why did the General, of all people with
his extensive military experience, shoot
his mouth off??

Posted by: onaryc | June 23, 2010 2:33 PM

Having been born into a military family and having served in our military there is a chain of command. I don't care what your views are on our President but he is Commander and Chief. What messege does this send to the rest of the world.

I agree 200% on the actions taken. We have our daughters and son's over there fighting for us and this man who is supposed to be in charge is making self serving statements.

Happy Trails.

Posted by: debrady2000 | June 23, 2010 2:34 PM

some posts about General McChrystal are just hilarious. They call him immature and lack or poor judgment.....they should read the General CV before posting.

Regarding General Petraeus, this is a completely different person, with different background. One is a former speacial operation soldier, a commander who spend a lot of time on the ground. Petraeus is more like a Washigton animal, more of a politician.....maybe he will do a better job....but General McChrystal will be sorely missed

Posted by: christiankeen | June 23, 2010 2:36 PM

The military has to defer to the civilian leadership, that is the only way a Democracy can survive.

Posted by: AverageJane | June 23, 2010 2:37 PM

I'm glad the President did what he had to do. It's just to many disrepectful people working for him. This President has been called all kinds of names, and he just let it roll off of him. Now the next one who does this will know that you will be let go. Tried of hearing I'm sorry or I did not mean what I said Mr. President.

Posted by: johnsonj3 | June 23, 2010 2:37 PM

Good riddance!

Posted by: collinsbs | June 23, 2010 2:38 PM

This is the best thing that could have happened to the United States.

Now is the time to pull back our troops to safe areas and wait for the Afghan government to step up to the fight.

The United States can turn it attention to fighting terrorists as even the general with his poorly thought out strategy admitted that only the Afghan government could defeat the Taliban.

As for the approval of the general from the Afghan government this can be thought of as equivalent to approval of Mexican drug gangs for appointees of the Mexican government to fight the drug trade.

Posted by: bsallamack | June 23, 2010 2:39 PM

"some posts about General McChrystal are just hilarious. They call him immature and lack or poor judgment.....they should read the General CV before posting."

Sir, do you think the average Afghani or taleban are going to look at his CV before they render judgment? McChrystal knew, or should have known, that he was jeopardizing his whole strategy just for the satisfaction of dissing the president publicly. How is that a cunning plan? It'll cost soldiers' lives.

Posted by: Hunter | June 23, 2010 2:41 PM

McCrystal and his aides are cowards. They should have made those comments in front of those civilian leaders they denigraded, instead of relaying them through the media.

Posted by: ldtorres | June 23, 2010 2:42 PM

I'm not an Obama supporter, but he absolutely made the correct decision in this case. The Uniformed Code of Military Justice is clear. Uniformed members of the military cannot publicly criticize the President. If Obama had let McChrystal off with a warning or some lesser form of punishment he would have appeared week (again).

Hopefully McCrystal will face a court marshal for this offense and be punished with something more than being fired and bad publicity. A loss of a star may not be appropriate, but he should at least have to forfeit some of his retirement pay.

As for why he did it? I don't even know why a senior member of the military would want to talk even in ear shot of a reporter from Rolling Stone. I want to believe that McCrystal simply played a game to get out of Afghanistan, and in a sense won that game, but doing it this way was just amazingly stupid. He could have made the same points by resigning and then writing a book.

Posted by: CJMARTIN04 | June 23, 2010 2:47 PM

Thank you, President Obama, for decisively defending the US Constitution and the basis of our democracy.

Posted by: wilder5121 | June 23, 2010 2:51 PM

Obama is a affirmative action hire

Nothing he does will change the fact that he is a narrative filling black face for the front office of lily white democrat socialism.

The General had to go, now he gets to speak openly and Obama will pay dearly.

November 2010 is when America begins to recover and Obama becomes an even lamer duck.

Posted by: georgedixon | June 23, 2010 2:56 PM

What would have been the consequences to any other soldier who showed insubordination at that level during a time of war? Didn't they used to execute people for this?

Posted by: CalmTruth | June 23, 2010 2:58 PM

The correct response is NOT part of the multiple choices:

HEL-L Facking YEA!

Posted by: JJames081 | June 23, 2010 3:03 PM

Just adding my voice to the many that have pointed out that there is a chain of command in the military. McChrystal surely knew that a Rolling Stone reporter was not in the chain of command.

General Norman Schwarzkopf, the highly successful commander of Gulf War I (I recommend reading his autobiography, "It Doesn't Take a Hero") had his disagreements with Bush I--he wanted to go into Iraq after freeing Kuwait, and Bush said no, unfortunately as it turned out--but Schwarzkopf kept his mouth shut and followed orders.

McChrystal should have done the same.

Posted by: dotellen | June 23, 2010 3:03 PM

Just adding my voice to the many that have pointed out
that there is a chain of command in the military.
McChrystal surely knew that a Rolling Stone reporter
was not in the chain of command.

General Norman Schwarzkopf, the highly successful
commander of Gulf War I (I recommend reading his
autobiography, "It Doesn't Take a Hero") had his
disagreements with Bush I--
he wanted to go into Iraq after freeing Kuwait, and
Bush said no, unfortunately as it turned out--
but Schwarzkopf kept his mouth shut and
followed orders.

McChrystal should have done the same.

Posted by: dotellen | June 23, 2010 3:09 PM

The issue is that Mr. McChrystal is a military man. Should he be a civilian politician he would have been a hero for putting the information that everyone knows together. Perhaps, he can be elected into the Senate where he can be praised for his public speaking!

Posted by: elhaver | June 23, 2010 3:18 PM

"Dreadful judgment on the general's part. His bid to look witty will cost the country dearly."
POSTED BY: HUNTER | JUNE 23, 2010 2:04 PM
Excellent post, Hunter!
And the choice of General Petreaus was the best choice in the face of this debacle.
General Petreaus will move swiftly to give his soldiers security and a sense of solid purpose during transition and after, as things settle down and our military gets serious about Afghanistan.
Our soldiers deserve strong leadership, not a politically motivated charade which has been their plague.
Thank you, General Petraeus.
You obviously love our country and our military.
A military wife

Posted by: Judy-in-TX | June 23, 2010 3:19 PM

georgedixon - you need to attend another KKK rally rather than pretend to offer insight here... it's more your speed. And I'd bet my last buck that you said NOTHING when things were going poorly in Iraq under G.Dubya and there were rumblings in the military about our ineffective policy and how we weren't carrying out the mission properly. But G. Dubya isn't Democrat!

Posted by: ANTGA | June 23, 2010 3:25 PM

The two greatest wartime presidents (Lincoln and Roosevelt) did not have any wartime experience, yet few would disagree that their role was crucial to the successful outcomes of those wars.

Contrast that with Bush's much touted military background in wartime and how poorly he fared in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Obama doesn't need a military background to lead a war. Time will tell how successfully he dealt with what he was given.

Posted by: HillRat | June 23, 2010 3:27 PM

It was stated that many of the more blatant comments by General McChrystal were left out of the Rolling Stone Article.
What a pathetic way for a General to retire....forcefully.
As stated before, this man had a Napoleon Complex.
Here's to General Petraeus, and a thanks to all our men and women in uniform.

Posted by: lenegal77 | June 23, 2010 3:31 PM

Both myself and my housemate are prior military. And as much as I do not care for President Obama and what he is doing to this country.When you are in the military you take and oath and that includes obeying the Commander-in -Chief. No matter what. You are not to make any kind of negative comments,nor should any of your "staff".
The fact that he did, is indeed, insubordination. We will see if this will make or break our mission in the Middle East.
Bottom Line: President Obama did the right thing.

Posted by: dstark001 | June 23, 2010 3:35 PM

Obama has committed political suicide. The men and women in the field support McChrystal. It's only going to get worse for Obama.

Posted by: georges2 | June 23, 2010 3:38 PM

I am supposed to be impressed with this ? come on, the general spoke the truth and like any good soldier fell on his sword for the leader ????. This was a no brainer. now how about we look at the real issues we face like the economy, jobs, affordable housing, the disaster in the gulf, where is the leadership here ? He dithers, waivers, turns down help from other nations, uses the tragedy as an excuse to force more of his socialist ideas on this nation. I understand there is a village in kenya who is missing the village idiot, I think we KNOW where he is at.

Posted by: upgp46 | June 23, 2010 3:39 PM

McChrystal was not relieved of command. MacArthur was relieved. McClellan was relieved. McChrystal resigned, and the Commander-in-Chief accepted his resignation. McChrystal resigned under pressure, to be sure, but being relieved is different.

Posted by: huguenotklj | June 23, 2010 3:40 PM

The BO team is worthless when trying to get any real work done. That is very obvious. He can spend money on free-loaders very well, but that is it. We were all duped into the change thing and assumed his one-half negro blood would really make a difference. It did not and it will not.

Posted by: charlesSC | June 23, 2010 3:49 PM

upgp46 ... where he's "at"? You sound like your village idiot.

Posted by: ANTGA | June 23, 2010 3:49 PM

General McChrystal is guilty of insubordination. But in allowing his staff officers to ridicule their civilian superiors, he is guilty of worse - conduct unbecoming an officer, and a colossal error in judgment. It is a sad ending to an otherwise distinguished career.

Posted by: virtualchemist | June 23, 2010 3:51 PM

Makes me wonder if he had tried to resign before, based on policy differences, but POTUS wouldn't accept. If not, then incredibly stupid on McChrystal's part, and only mitigating factor is that he was stuck in Iceland. I mean, come on, that has got to affect a person's brain! Maybe he tried several times to pronounce that volcano's name, and came unhinged.

Posted by: dmm1 | June 23, 2010 3:53 PM

General Mcchrystal must not be as smart as the president and the press think he is. Does he think he can belittle his boss and keep his job????? This man is living in a vacum in his head, typical career military officer who think they are more important than their boss. ADIOS GEN, you can probably get a job with fox tv now.

Posted by: dgates1 | June 23, 2010 4:04 PM

I sent this to many many places in the net, including WHITE HOUSE, CONGRESS, SENATE, SPECIFIC POLITICIANS...corrupted and not corrupted,...and also to tv and rotatives tabloids....somes are ok with this, and somes hate my guts and want my head...but 'FEAR' and 'INTIMIDATION' are words not found in my dictionary;

Anyway here is my take;


Mr Obama was waiting, hoping, and desperately looking for an 'scape window' to his ongoing decadence n public credibility.

And so, the oportunity was presented; GEN McCHRYSTAL a very good soldier, but NOT! A replaced by GEN PETREAUS , also a good soldier...BUT ALSO A POLITICIAN.


Now, Mr Obama hopes to look good and regain some of his massively and ongoing lost 'populist credibility' because he...'demonstrated good judgement' for to put into place someone(GEN PETRAUS) who is well accepted by the american public for he is/was very well successful in IRAQ...

...(ALTHOUGH OBAMA WAS OPOSED ALL THE TIME TO THE SURGE IN IRAQ....but now this SUDDENTLY comes very handy for him....understand everyone?)

Actually , Obama did not not move this not even a centimeter for was 'THE PRESIDENTIAL CONSORTIOUM' the force behind to replace GEN McCHRYSTAL WITH GEN PETREAUS.


ALL IS/WAS WELL ORCHESTRATED...the oportunity appeared and...
'Obama did a good use with it'....remember the mantra?..."NEVER LET A GOOD CRISSIS GO TO WASTE..." here is the case.

Now, Obama looks good for he is strong and decisive, concern and also...'was mad'....

Here is this question; - WILL THE AMERICAN PUBLIC FALL FOR THIS ONE?...YES?...or...NO?

Let's recall another thing; - DOES ANYONE OUT THERE REMEMBER THE STINGY TROOP SENDING TO AFGANISTAN BY ONLY 30K, WHEN ORIGINALLY GEN McCHRYSTAL INDICATED THAT 45K WERE NEEDED?...the fractional 30k troops were sent after so long time - of deliberations- and was - as everyone knows - a political decission - to presents concern in the war there in Afganistan.

But we know how idiotically information was 'telegraphed' to the enemy,when Obama said that a troops pull-out is for to be done in a a year and half.


Can this guy(Obama),...or any of his associates be trusted?...YES?...or...NO?

Take it from there.

Opinions welcome.

Daniel Cabrera

Posted by: morcab | June 23, 2010 4:10 PM

"Trust in a commander"..."Belief in his tactics".....would these EXCUSES even be a FACTOR had this been Colin Powell during the BUSH-HICK BILL administration?????!!! DOUBT IT!! Bush, Cheaney, rush limbaugh, bill o'reilly and the rest of the DREAM "KILLERS" TEAM would have crucified Powell in the media!! He probably would have found out he was fired 7a.m. the next morning over cnn!!!

So for those of you who do not believe that this HUGE display of insubordination was not means of termination, I'd love to see what would happen to you if you went on record insulting YOUR boss and expressing your true feelings about the job they are doing, to the public!! Probably wouldn't be there too long.

Remember, you're never irreplaceable...There's ALWAYS someone who could do your job better than you can. You would think a Commander and Chief would know that. Then again, he learned from the best...GW

Posted by: Raymodmv80 | June 23, 2010 4:13 PM

I flat out do not like Obama's policies and believe he's in way over his head as President. However, one must respect the office of the President, even if one does not respect the man. The General was insubordinate and that was a challenge to the office. The President, as Commander-in-Chief, had no choice to either accept the resignation or fire the General.

Posted by: paulosfm1 | June 23, 2010 4:17 PM

Obamas an idiot, if anyone needs RELIEVED of their commnand it's OBAMA!!!

Posted by: jacquelinedeshea | June 23, 2010 4:18 PM

I can't say for sure whether McCrystal was rightfully frustrated by President Obama or not, but he was wrong to say so in the public eye. Obama had to get rid of McCrystal because if McCrystal remained, it made Obama look weak and that makes enemies bolder, and that gets our guys killed. Thank the Lord that the President had a humble but great leader available like Patraeus to step into the breach. When Patraeus succeeds, that will makes two Presidental posteriors in a row that he will have saved.

Posted by: Georgetowner1 | June 23, 2010 4:21 PM

The wrong man was forced to resign. Greg Neubeck

Posted by: gneubeck | June 23, 2010 4:31 PM

So Obama says unity vital??? Yet he's not involved??? I suggest we keep McCrystal and dumb Obama. There would be less damage....

Posted by: askgees | June 23, 2010 4:35 PM

I support Pres. Obama's decision. Gen. McCrystal's poor judgment affects his credibility as a leader. Perhaps he was stressed-out and exhausted, but his behavior is not what I expect of a military leader in war time.

Posted by: FromGeorgia | June 23, 2010 4:36 PM

Just wait for the book.

Posted by: askgees | June 23, 2010 4:39 PM

wonder if his wife is happy? Now she gets him for more that the 30 days a year they have been together for the past 10 years.

Posted by: carol217 | June 23, 2010 4:54 PM

The president was right to relieve General McChrystal and his choice of General Petraeus carries with it three advantages:
1)Petraeus helped devise the present Afghan strategy and is thus thoroughly familier with it and supportive of it. 2)His success (perhaps short ranged)in Iraq validates the idea that he is a smart, resourceful leader - can also do diplomacy as well as military tactics and 3)If it all fails in Afghan (I fear it will) guess who is on point to at least share if not shoulder most of the blame!

By the way, at the Post on this matter, Dana turns out to be the winner, Fred the loser.

Posted by: cooter_brown | June 23, 2010 4:59 PM

Why would an intelligent general allow a Rolling Stone reporter to be around talking with staff members? Obama dithered for months about making a decision on whether to give McChrystal the forces he said he needed to do the job and then gave him only a fraction (about 2/3) of those requested. Biden and others badmouthed the war and it is clear that most members of the administration are strongly opposed to continuing the war. Our troops deserve better than this, dying in a war crippled by political infighting and a Commander-in-Chief who wass more more concerned with how we are perceived by others than seeing the policy he supposedly supported and the general he appointed to execute it was successful.

Posted by: JHawker | June 23, 2010 5:11 PM

What would General McChrystal have done if his position and the President's were reversed? Exactly what the President has done. The integrity of command must be preserved for our armed services to remain effective and cohesive.

Posted by: ausura | June 23, 2010 5:15 PM

This situation could have been so far removed from the ugliness of today with very little effort from Mr. Obama. We turly missed out on the profound enlightenment from Mr. Obama's great elite-ness shining forth from the horizon to bathe we lowly peons with his devine wisdom and knowledge, but alas...

Mr. Obama could have accepted McChrystal's resignation and declined to allow it to go forward. That would have been the greater part of valor, in fact, it would have served as further punishment for McChrystal and definately greater respect for Mr. Obama.

Mr. Obama's polls would have jumped back like never before had he had the benefit of good advice or forethought to have been so graciously presidential.

Posted by: prossers7 | June 23, 2010 5:17 PM

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