Maybe Petraeus could also plug that hole in the Gulf - Macleans.ca
 

Maybe Petraeus could also plug that hole in the Gulf


 

Below is Obama’s statement. Reasonable people disagree, but I don’t think he had much choice in replacing McChrystal. If he hadn’t, Obama would have looked personally weak and, worse, he would have tolerated an undermining of the civilian leadership of the military and the role of Commander in Chief. Also, the national security team would have looked divided. And tolerating the incident would have sent a message not only to the military but to the entire machinery of government about the kind of behavior that is acceptable.

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

___________________________________________________________________________________________

For Immediate Release                                                       June 23, 2010

STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

Rose Garden

1:43 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon.  Today I accepted General Stanley McChrystal’s resignation as commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.  I did so with considerable regret, but also with certainty that it is the right thing for our mission in Afghanistan, for our military, and for our country.

I’m also pleased to nominate General David Petraeus to take command in Afghanistan, which will allow us to maintain the momentum and leadership that we need to succeed.

I don’t make this decision based on any difference in policy with General McChrystal, as we are in full agreement about our strategy.  Nor do I make this decision out of any sense of personal insult.  Stan McChrystal has always shown great courtesy and carried out my orders faithfully.  I’ve got great admiration for him and for his long record of service in uniform.

Over the last nine years, with America fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he has earned a reputation as one of our nation’s finest soldiers.  That reputation is founded upon his extraordinary dedication, his deep intelligence, and his love of country.  I relied on his service, particularly in helping to design and lead our new strategy in Afghanistan.  So all Americans should be grateful for General McChrystal’s remarkable career in uniform.

But war is bigger than any one man or woman, whether a private, a general, or a president.  And as difficult as it is to lose General McChrystal, I believe that it is the right decision for our national security.

The conduct represented in the recently published article does not meet the standard that should be set by a commanding general.  It undermines the civilian control of the military that is at the core of our democratic system.  And it erodes the trust that’s necessary for our team to work together to achieve our objectives in Afghanistan.

My multiple responsibilities as Commander-in-Chief led me to this decision.  First, I have a responsibility to the extraordinary men and women who are fighting this war, and to the democratic institutions that I’ve been elected to lead.  I’ve got no greater honor than serving as Commander-in-Chief of our men and women in uniform, and it is my duty to ensure that no diversion complicates the vital mission that they are carrying out.

That includes adherence to a strict code of conduct.  The strength and greatness of our military is rooted in the fact that this code applies equally to newly enlisted privates and to the general officer who commands them.  That allows us to come together as one.  That is part of the reason why America has the finest fighting force in the history of the world.

It is also true that our democracy depends upon institutions that are stronger than individuals.  That includes strict adherence to the military chain of command, and respect for civilian control over that chain of command.  And that’s why, as Commander-in-Chief, I believe this decision is necessary to hold ourselves accountable to standards that are at the core of our democracy.

Second, I have a responsibility to do what is — whatever is necessary to succeed in Afghanistan, and in our broader effort to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda.  I believe that this mission demands unity of effort across our alliance and across my national security team.  And I don’t think that we can sustain that unity of effort and achieve our objectives in Afghanistan without making this change.  That, too, has guided my decision.

I’ve just told my national security team that now is the time for all of us to come together.  Doing so is not an option, but an obligation.  I welcome debate among my team, but I won’t tolerate division.  All of us have personal interests; all of us have opinions.  Our politics often fuels conflict, but we have to renew our sense of common purpose and meet our responsibilities to one another, and to our troops who are in harm’s way, and to our country.

We need to remember what this is all about.  Our nation is at war.  We face a very tough fight in Afghanistan.  But Americans don’t flinch in the face of difficult truths or difficult tasks.  We persist and we persevere.  We will not tolerate a safe haven for terrorists who want to destroy Afghan security from within, and launch attacks against innocent men, women, and children in our country and around the world.

So make no mistake:  We have a clear goal.  We are going to break the Taliban’s momentum.  We are going to build Afghan capacity.  We are going to relentlessly apply pressure on       al Qaeda and its leadership, strengthening the ability of both Afghanistan and Pakistan to do the same.

That’s the strategy that we agreed to last fall; that is the policy that we are carrying out, in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In that effort, we are honored to be joined by allies and partners who have stood by us and paid the ultimate price through the loss of their young people at war.  They are with us because the interests and values that we share, and because this mission is fundamental to the ability of free people to live in peace and security in the 21st century.

General Petraeus and I were able to spend some time this morning discussing the way forward.  I’m extraordinarily grateful that he has agreed to serve in this new capacity.  It should be clear to everybody, he does so at great personal sacrifice to himself and to his family.  And he is setting an extraordinary example of service and patriotism by assuming this difficult post.

Let me say to the American people, this is a change in personnel but it is not a change in policy.  General Petraeus fully participated in our review last fall, and he both supported and helped design the strategy that we have in place.  In his current post at Central Command, he has worked closely with our forces in Afghanistan.  He has worked closely with Congress.  He has worked closely with the Afghan and Pakistan governments and with all our partners in the region.  He has my full confidence, and I am urging the Senate to confirm him for this new assignment as swiftly as possible.

Let me conclude by saying that it was a difficult decision to come to the conclusion that I’ve made today.  Indeed, it saddens me to lose the service of a soldier who I’ve come to respect and admire.  But the reasons that led me to this decision are the same principles that have supported the strength of our military and our nation since the founding.

So, once again, I thank General McChrystal for his enormous contributions to the security of this nation and to the success of our mission in Afghanistan.  I look forward to working with General Petraeus and my entire national security team to succeed in our mission.  And I reaffirm that America stands as one in our support for the men and women who defend it.

Thank you very much.

END             1:51 P.M. EDT


 
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Maybe Petraeus could also plug that hole in the Gulf

  1. Not an unreasonable decision, but carried out with extreme ineptitude and drama. This should have been done immediately and without fanfare to minimize the damage.

    • "extreme ineptitude and drama"

      24 hours elapsed between the breaking of the story and the firing of the general. How could it have been done more quickly? Should Obama have fired him without speaking face-to-face?

      And what, aside from waiting 24 hours to speak to the man directly, did Obama do to create drama?

      Reasonable people can disagree about what should have been done, but the only "extreme ineptitude and drama" I see here is your post.

      • TJ, the cat's out of the bag on Obama. He's an incompetent leader and will be a ONE TERM PRESIDENT.

        He creates more problems than he solves. "Nuff said.

        • Well, that's a well-constructed argument, Jarrid, but even in the face of all the evidence you've presented, I'M STILL UNCONVINCED.

          "Nuff said.

          • I had Obama pegged from the get-go. We'd a been better off with the Clintons. Anyway, my predictions on Obama were immortalized on the John Parisella posts. They're looking better day by day.

          • Evidence:

            Obama failures:

            Increased agression from the US's enemies: North Korea, Iran, etc.

            Lossing allies like: Turkey, Brazil

            BP oil spill: he's demonstrated lot's of finger-pointing and no leadership.

            US economy: all economic indicators are going in the wrong direction.

            Every politician he's campaigned for in the US since winning the presidency has lost.

            The only place where he's holding his own is when he's fallen back on previous republican policies.

            He's in very serious political trouble. No need for any evidence for this last proposition. It's plain as day. Even for an MSNBC viewer like you, TJ.

          • Well that's just adorable.

            – In what ways are North Korea and Iran behaving differently from 2008? Looks to me like they're both continuing their Bush-era policies, which, in both cases, were drastically worsened by the actions of the Bush administration.

            – In what ways have Turkey and Brazil moved from allies to foes?

            – The BP oil spill: what should he have done differently, and how would the situation be different today if he had?

            – What should he have done differently on the economy, and how would it be different if he had followed the sage advice of you and Fox News?

            – The midterm elections haven't happened yet, so I fail to see how a referendum has occurred on Obama's leadership. When they do happen, let's compare the results to those of Clinton, both Bushes and Reagan.

            – "The only place he's holding his own…" Well, perhaps in your world.

            " No need for any evidence for this last proposition…" Heck, as far as you're concerned, you can just throw all this bullsh*t out there without any evidence whatsoever. Cat's outta the bag – what you call "evidence" is just a list of baseless accusations!

            And this MSNBC that Sean Hannity told you about – I haven't seen more than ten minutes' worth of its programming ever.

            Go to sleep Jarrid, tomorrow's a new day, and your world will be fully refreshed.

  2. The decision is easily defensible. The teleprompter text should have been a whole lot shorter:

    "Folks, we have a war to win. Not to fight, not to endure, but to win. The comments from General M and his staff actually have some factual merit, and I promise to heed his call to redouble my own personal involvement in seeing our great country to victory — American service men and women, and the American people deserve no less. But, as able as General M is, clearly these distractions are hindering our efforts. New leadership is required to refocus on what we need to accomplish. This is an order, General P, and through you to each and every member of our formidable armed services: go win this war. I will take no questions. Thank you."

  3. The alternate decision could conceivably be defensible, as well:

    "Folks, when I gave General M the task last year, it was because he was the best man to get this difficult job done. He still is. The criticisms from him and his staff have been noted, and deserved to be heard. By me alone. I re-iterated to General M that I must have just this sort of candid feedback, warts and all, straight from the people most involved, affected, and aware. How else can the civilian control of our military ever function properly? He and I spoke candidly about how we could improve our direct lines of communication with each other. He and I will both be making adjustments to see that this happens. Now, then: This is an order, General M, and through you to each and every member of our formidable armed services: go win this war. I will take no questions. Thank you."

  4. Obama can fire people working under him who diss him.

    But he won't be able to fire all those voters who are dissing him in recent polls. No indeed not.

    It'll be they who will fire,

    him.

    • Keep rubbin' those crystal balls of yours, jarrid.. you might get something useful one day.

  5. These are trying times to keep the faith TJ, that's for sure. In a major US National Poll out today, things are looking a little grim for Obama, to say the least:

    "Americans are more pessimistic about the state of the country and less confident in President Barack Obama's leadership than at any point since Mr. Obama entered the White House, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.

    Sixty-two percent of adults in the survey feel the country is on the wrong track, the highest level since before the 2008 election. Just one-third think the economy will get better over the next year, a 7-point drop from a month ago and the low point of Mr. Obama's tenure.

    Amid anxiety over the nation's course, support for Mr. Obama … is eroding. For the first time, more people disapprove of Mr. Obama's job performance than approve"

    Ouch! But on the plus side, 91% of African-Americans still approve of Obama's job perfornance and TJ Cook is still keeping the faith.

  6. >If he hadn't, Obama would have looked personally weak

    Are there still people who don't think Obama is weak?