MSNBC: President Relieves McChrystal


President Barack Obama has decided to relieve Gen. Stanley McChrystal of his command over all U.S. military forces in Afghanistan, sources tell NBC News.

Obama is scheduled to make an official 1:30 p.m. EDT announcement about the general. Meantime, the Associated Press reported that Obama has chosen Gen. David Petraeus to replace McChrystal as top Afghan commander.

(Emphasis supplied.) Choosing Petraeus as the replacement is very very shrewd.

< McCrystal Meeting With President Very Short | Obama Announcement: Live Thread >
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    Kinda (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by AlkalineDave on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 12:33:14 PM EST
    want to say I called it.  First choice.

    Is there a precedent for (none / 0) (#6)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 12:37:02 PM EST
    this sort of military leadership downward move :)?  He isnt' even being allowed to return to Afghanistan and get his chit and get out.  It is being sent to him.........hmmmmmm, I bet someone is going through his stuff too :)

    I'm kinda wondering (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by AlkalineDave on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 12:39:29 PM EST
    too.  Does LtGen Allen run day to day things at CENTCOM while Gen Petraeus runs Afghanistan while keeping the title of CENTCOM CINC?  Will be interesting to see how they do this.  Shrewd move for those who believe the General was eyeing a White House run.  

    Yes it was :) (none / 0) (#14)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 12:44:58 PM EST
    Petraeus will now be too busy trying to save his COIN strategy, the lynchpin to his claims of a successful life.  A different commander would have difficulties and fights with Eikenberry and Holbrooke to point to that McChrystal's revelations would have strengthened to be about Obama's incompetence.  Politics be NUTS!

    Isn't there a thing about going where (none / 0) (#11)
    by inclusiveheart on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 12:40:43 PM EST
    you're most needed?

    That's for lowly grunts :) (none / 0) (#15)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 12:45:35 PM EST
    good for Obama (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by The Addams Family on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 12:34:42 PM EST
    i was worried that Obama would go all milquetoast

    no one is indispensable & no commander in chief can tolerate insubordination from a general

    So, what happens to McChrystal now? (none / 0) (#8)
    by caseyOR on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 12:38:45 PM EST
    Does he get another command? Does he, like Adm. Fallon did, retire? Is his career effectively over?

    Also, is this a demotion of sorts for Petraeus? A lateral move?


    Not a demotion (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by AlkalineDave on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 12:41:52 PM EST
    but a lower billet if he doesn't keep his title as CENTCOM CINC.  

    General McChrystal's career is over.  A General relieved of command is done.


    There are many ways to get relieved (none / 0) (#10)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 12:40:40 PM EST
    of your command.  The fact that he doesn't even get to return to Afghanistan is a bad sign that his future looks bright.

    really? (none / 0) (#21)
    by Left of the Left on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 12:49:24 PM EST
    I would take that as a bad sign

    as to his future (none / 0) (#22)
    by Left of the Left on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 12:50:17 PM EST
    I mean.

    That's what I meant to say (none / 0) (#27)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 12:56:21 PM EST
    We have had other Generals relieved of command in our recent history, both Shinseki and McKiernan.  But I don't think they were so immediately removed from the entire vicinity of their past command like this.  I think they were able to at least pack their offices up and go home.

    I am just glad that his political (5.00 / 5) (#5)
    by inclusiveheart on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 12:36:09 PM EST
    advisors were not allowed to call the shots on this one.  They're inclination to make play to press as the "nice guy" who needs to think things through could have really done damage in this situation.  Maybe they've learned something from the Gulf disaster response.  Here's hoping.

    Good decision n/t (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by lilburro on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 12:40:58 PM EST

    Good (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by CST on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 12:47:31 PM EST
    I think this was the right thing to do.  Both on the firing, and on the hiring.  And politically - I don't see a good argument against putting Petraeus in charge.

    Had to be done, as much for the (5.00 / 5) (#24)
    by Anne on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 12:51:52 PM EST
    message it sends throughout the military as anything else; it really puts the "Command" back in "Commander in Chief," which is where it belongs - keeping McChrystal on would have done serious damage to Obama's command function, in my opinion.

    If Petraeus is the replacement, he will be, if nothing else, a steady hand at the helm, which may be needed more than ever in Afghanistan.

    Score one for Obama.

    Only (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by BackFromOhio on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 06:59:58 PM EST
    problem is removal of timeline and even greater commitment to war.  I'm concerned...

    Military talking heads (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by waldenpond on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 12:52:25 PM EST
    critical of policy.  This is all Obama's fault.  The policy is at fault.  Obama must remove the timeline.  Petraeus will need to ask for more troops.

    Still not clear who made the decision.  A couple say it was Gates.

    Obama: Erodes trust necessary for team, responsibility to men/women fighting and our democratic system, no diversions including adherence to code of conduct, code applies to newly enlisted and general, hold ourselves accountable to standards that are the core of our democracy, disrupt ? dismantle AQ, told NS team time to come together, debate yes but won't tolerate division, meet our responsibilities to each other and troops, Amer don't flinch, we persevere, won't tolerate safe haven for terrorists, break taliban momentum build afghan capacity pressure on leadership, policy we agreed to will carry out in Af/Pak, recognizes allies, fundamental to living in peace and security in 21st century.  Grateful to Petraeus for agreeing to serve at great persoanl sacrifice, change in personnel not policy. saddened to lose service of commander come to admire, thank McChrystal

    Shouted question... can this war be won.

    Not clear who made the decision? (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 01:07:57 PM EST
    WTF?  I can't believe a president wouldn't consult with his defense secretary on something like this, but no way he's going to ask him for marching orders.  Sheesh.

    General McChrystal has always been (5.00 / 5) (#38)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 01:54:51 PM EST
    worrisome, he has done things and obeyed orders that were illegal orders and then given a pass by two Presidents.  That says a few things about our Presidents but it also says a few things about him too.  Obama knew all this and hired him to run Afghanistan, that says things about Obama right there.  And Obama barely met with McChrystal.  That is a huge failure. He also allowed there to be infighting that only worsened as he kept himself out of the mix and kept the stink of his war off of himself.  Obama has failed too.  Let's face it though....for all of General McChrystals brilliance there are things about him that are damned frightening.

    Im just wondering what happens (none / 0) (#41)
    by jondee on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 02:51:16 PM EST
    if the fantasy cover story ever comes to fruition and Afghanistan actually becomes a "fully functioning democracy" (like we'd know what that was), and then, afterward, starts moving in the socialist-nationalizing direction again. Does the U.S again start funneling covert support to the Islamofascists?

    Or, as George Carlin put it,is the question moot, in that, we will always be too "manly" to ever completely "pull out"?  


    We have never completely pulled out of (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:05:44 PM EST
    anywhere according to the SUPER lefties :)  You can't even have an embassy without being called an occupying force :)

    Super Lefties.. (5.00 / 0) (#51)
    by jondee on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:32:35 PM EST
    Im just wondering if you're getting ready to change that moniker from "military" to Sargent Rock any day now..

    With seven hundred military bases - not exactly "embassies" by any stretch of the imagination - I'd say there's a pretty good basis for the (slight) exaggeration that we've turned the world into our assistant-in-a-blue-dress..


    Military Talking Heads? (none / 0) (#29)
    by squeaky on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 01:01:21 PM EST
    Or GOPers as if there is a difference. What they are really saying is: Where is our man Bush with his codpiece... lol

    Kinda of funny (5.00 / 3) (#42)
    by AlkalineDave on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:05:25 PM EST
    in a way Gen Petraeus is bailing out a President again.  Good luck to him.

    Collateral Damage (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by squeaky on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:15:14 PM EST
    Apart from it being a good choice, and perhaps a contingency plan there is this:

    digby opines:


    It's a savvy political move and may just destroy any plans Petraeus had for elective office. It's a holy mess over there. Unless a miracle happens, he'll now be caught in the quagmire.

    Karzai phoned in his vote of confidence :) (none / 0) (#48)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:22:06 PM EST
    almost possible (5.00 / 2) (#50)
    by The Addams Family on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:26:02 PM EST
    to read the headline of this post as follows:

    MSNBC President Relieves McChrystal

    the way things are going that is possibly not too far off in our future - though the head would probably read something like this:

    Goldman-Sachs CEO Sacks Joint Chiefs and Commander-in-Chief

    just sayin'

    Good (4.40 / 5) (#2)
    by squeaky on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 12:33:21 PM EST
    Most of Obama's detractors were hoping that he cave because McChrystal was too big to fail, aka indispensable. Good to know that he is not and Obama did the right thing.

    I'd easily say Im (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by Left of the Left on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 12:47:38 PM EST
    what you would call an Obama detractor. This was a fairly stupid post.

    Great move by Obama.


    And If Obama Kept McChrystal (2.67 / 3) (#26)
    by squeaky on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 12:56:00 PM EST
    You would be delightfully calling Obama a wimp, along with the entire GOP...

    IOW you made my point, imo.


    Anyone wasting their time calling him (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 01:07:09 PM EST
    a wimp would be wasting time.  That would have been a time to start getting really worried, like the worry I have about the Wizard of Oz Bernanke and BP has the cap off the spew again worry.  Power needs checks and balances.

    well no (5.00 / 2) (#40)
    by Left of the Left on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 02:49:04 PM EST
    proving you're point would be me hoping Obama would cave because McCrystal was indispensable. I never hoped he would cave, I hoped he would do what he did, and am giving him credit for doing so. Actually, looking at it now both your posts (or points, however you care to phrase it) on this contradict one another.

    Your ultimate point appears to be to provide cover for Obama from anything resembling criticism, and even critics who aren't being critical.


    OK (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by squeaky on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:08:06 PM EST
    You are entitled to your opinion. My take is that the GOP et al., with all their tough talk about the CIC needing to fire McChrystal, was betting that Obama would let McChrystal off the hook, and then laugh at him as weak and ineffective. Great play for November, imo. Now they got nothing, and Obama comes out looking good.

    This was already set in motion by the rumors that McChrystal was too big to fail, aka he was indispensable. Even our very own militaryish correspondent had the skinny that Obama was going to take it on the cheek and keep McChrystal around.

    Glad to see that you are a happy, but as for me, giving cover to Obama, that is pretty funny.


    You have been told to STOP, again (4.33 / 9) (#34)
    by Cream City on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 01:30:47 PM EST
    and again, putting words in others' mouths.

    As a matter of fact, not your fictions, you could look it up -- I said it was a tough call either way, and I applaud Obama for this move.

    Go stick that up your a**.


    Nice (none / 0) (#35)
    by squeaky on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 01:34:57 PM EST
    I know that you believe that the blogosphere circulates around you, but not sure why you think that my comment was directed to you, unless you have another screen name. Seems in vogue these days.

    Is Left of the Left your other screen name?


    In short (4.00 / 3) (#39)
    by DancingOpossum on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 02:35:49 PM EST
    War Criminal-in-Chief Appoints War Criminal to Replace War Criminal.

    Some days the headlines write themselves!

    It was good of Obama to meet (none / 0) (#3)
    by Cream City on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 12:33:50 PM EST
    with McChrystal today before doing this.  

    However, having read up on this, I gotta say -- and I would not be surprised if Obama is thinking -- that he ought to have met with McChrystal before promoting him to the top in Afghanistan.  Maybe seeing the president amid the pomp of the White House would have served as a reminder to McChrystal of who's da boss.

    Doubtful an early meeting (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by inclusiveheart on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 12:38:12 PM EST
    would have made that impression on a guy like McChrystal.  He sounds pretty much like he's under the impression that he's boss no matter who else is in his company.

    Well, it's a basic of the management biz (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Cream City on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 12:46:08 PM EST
    but then, that's the experience that Obama lacked and is having to learn on the job.  It can make a difference, so it's always worth it.  

    I feel better knowing that Petraeus and Obama have met, that Petraeus has seen Obama in place, etc.


    Yeah (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by squeaky on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 12:50:33 PM EST
    Tough to have experience being POTUS, without ever having been POTUS. But glad to see you are keeping up your lack of experience meme.

    I never bought the inexperienced argument, but it sure was a popular reason many had for being against Obama.


    And you keep up your whine (4.00 / 3) (#28)
    by Cream City on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 01:00:53 PM EST
    without, as usual, even giving a head fake at the favorable comment I made.

    You so bore me.  Go away and blah blah at someone else.  There is a world full of interesting news, and you are yesterday's news, again and again. . . .


    Compliment? (3.00 / 2) (#30)
    by squeaky on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 01:04:06 PM EST
    I could care less about your so called compliment. Just pointing out that I believe that the lack of experience meme, which you have brought up again, is and was bogus, imo.

    If you want to point that out (5.00 / 5) (#45)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:12:47 PM EST
    here's a sentence suggestion.

    I don't think his lack of experience is a factor.

    "I" statements squeaky....."I" statements :)  A sure cure for projection problems :)


    LOL (none / 0) (#49)
    by squeaky on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:24:00 PM EST
    Personality tips from MilitaryTracy... thanks. I will save it for the right moment or moments. You are skilled, no doubt about it.

    In the meantime you can be the polite indirect commenter at TL, and I will be direct as I see fit. As far as being impolite ymmv, as it depends on your vantage point.


    Not personality tips (5.00 / 2) (#53)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:39:26 PM EST
    Tips on where your own reality ends.  Any a-hole can make "I" statements.  That's what is so great about them IN MY OPINION (that IMO is a longer form of "I" statement)

    Opinion (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by squeaky on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:57:16 PM EST
    I use imo quite a bit, but when a commenter who wrote a few thousand comments harping on Obama's inexperience making him unqualified to be POTUS, and then writing this:

    Well, it's a basic of the management biz but then, that's the experience that Obama lacked and is having to learn on the job.

    It is not my opinion that CreamCity said that Obama lacked management experience, it is a fact.

    And I disagreed with the lack of experience meme quite a bit during the primaries. As far as I am concerned life experience is all that is needed to be POTUS. The rest can only be learned on the job. Many here disagreed with that position, and many still disagree.


    OTOH - not seeing someone (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by inclusiveheart on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 01:14:43 PM EST
    like McChrystal who would likely smell his lack of experience in military and war from well outside the White House would be a strategically smart decision.  And I'm not making excuses, but that is another fairly smart tactic in business when you know that the person you are dealing with is more knowledgable that you are - you don't give them too much opportunity to identify and confirm your weaknesses.

    Any president who is still in the first term (5.00 / 3) (#36)
    by Anne on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 01:35:37 PM EST
    is learning on the job, and any president who has never been in the military, never had troops under command, is upside-down in the experience department - constantly in the presence of, and dealing with, people who know more than he (or someday, maybe, she) does.

    Should Obama have met McChrystal before he nominated him for the Afghanistan position?  Sure, why not?  Not knowing how much background was done on Stanley before he got the call, though, is where the tale may be told; based on the article in RS, I think all the signs that McChrystal might be a little too in-your-face for the job were all there, and maybe in hindsight, Obama now realizes that.

    Whether Obama should have made the decision sooner is anyone's guess; what matters, I think, is that he has now made the decision, it appears to be the right decision, and we can hope that it helps rather than hurts what is going on in Afghanistan.

    What I want, more than anything, is out of this war; what I don't know is whether there is anyone - this president or any other president, experienced or not, or any military person/brain trust - who can accomplish the goals that have been set for when it will be "okay" for us to withdraw.


    If I could only be a fly (5.00 / 4) (#20)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 12:47:40 PM EST
    Maybe Obama just sat there and stared him, not looking uncomfortable or intimidated :)

    I envisioned the same thing upon reading (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by Cream City on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:54:45 PM EST
    how short their meeting was.  Obama did not cover a lot of ground in that conversation, if it even was a conversation.  I would bet that there was one point and only one point to be made:  I am the president, and you serve at my pleasure -- and I am not pleased.

    I hope that the last few minutes were spent in Obama also pointing out that McChrystal and his staff's comments only served to undermine the mission, the men and women there, with the need for this upheaval now.

    (However, if anyone can prevent more upheaval and reassure the troops, Petraeus is the good choice.  As for what Karzai, the great fan of McChrystal thinks, I think he will switch horses midstream with no problem.  Afghanistan learned to do that eons ago.)


    When will MoveOn (none / 0) (#16)
    by BTAL on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 12:45:44 PM EST
    re-run their General BetrayUs ads?

    those MoveOn ads were so stoopid (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by The Addams Family on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 01:44:51 PM EST
    the Randi Rhodes School of Political Discourse

    It was there up until yesterday some say (none / 0) (#52)
    by BTAL on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:36:55 PM EST
    until this morning.  Now it is scrubbed with a redirect.

    Previous URL

    Google Archive shows the last date it was indexed was Jun 18th.  


    MoveOn = MoRons imho (none / 0) (#54)
    by The Addams Family on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:46:55 PM EST
    "shrewd" Petraeus (none / 0) (#47)
    by diogenes on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:16:10 PM EST
    Yup.  Put Obama's 2012 opponent in charge of an unwinnable war, make it more unwinnable while Petraus is there, and gut Petraus as a presidential candidate.

    Shrewd? (none / 0) (#58)
    by Edger on Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 05:06:16 PM EST
    Petraeus sort of reminds of a Bush favorite...

    Of course, there isn't all that much sunlight between Bush and Obama, and the foreign policies favored by both, and by all presidents the last 60 or so years...

    Zbigniew Brzezinski:

    For America the chief gepolitical prize is Eurasia... America's global primacy is directly dependant on how long and how effectively its preponderance on the Eurasian continent is sustained."

    "About 75 per cent of the world's people live in Eurasia, and most of the world's physical wealth is there as well, both in it's enterprises and underneath its soil. Eurasia accounts for about three-fourths of the world's known energy resources."

    "America's withdrawal from the world or because of the sudden emergence of a successful rival - would produce massive international instability. It would prompt global anarchy."

    "The most immediate task is to make certain that no state or combination of states gains the capacity to expel the United States from Eurasia or even to diminish significantly its decisive arbitration role."

    Barack Obama:

    There is a longstanding bipartisan consensus in the foreign-policy establishment that the US must control every strategically valuable region of the world -- and none more so than the oil heartlands of the planet. That's been a hard-and-fast rule of the elite for some six decades now.


    "The single most important job of any president is to protect the American people," [Obama] affirmed in a major foreign-policy statement last April [2007 on the campaign trail]. But "the threats we face.... can no longer be contained by borders and boundaries.... The security of the American people is inextricably linked to the security of all people." That's why the U.S. must be the "leader of the free world."


    That delights neoconservative guru Robert Kagan...

    Shrewd. Must be a bipartisany thing.