President Obama Ousts Afghanistan Commander McChrystal
Staff and Wire Reports
WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama said he has accepted the resignation of Gen. Stanley McChrystal with regret, but is certain that it is the right decision for the country's national security and the future of the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.
Speaking in the Rose Garden, Obama said McChrystal's biting comments about the president and his aides in a magazine article did not meet the standards of conduct for a commanding general.
Obama named Gen. David Petraeus to assume McChrystal's role as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan. He said the move will allow the U.S. to maintain leadership and momentum in the war.
Obama made the announcement following a private meeting with McChrystal and a separate meeting of his national security staff.
At least one former top military official does not believe President Obama made the right call by relieving General McChrystal. Current Oklahoma Senator and Retired Lieutenant Colonel Steve Russell, known for leading the troops that captured Saddam Hussein, said McChrystal was the right man to lead the war in Afghanistan.
"If you want a warrior to win a war, McChrystal would have been able to do that. The troops had complete confidence, President Karzai has complete confidence, the NATO allies had confidence in him, so could he have gotten the job done, " Senator Russell said.
Russell said he is angered by the Rolling Stone article, which he called an anti-war piece, that had McChrystal and some of his top military advisors critical of the Obama Administration.
"The general is accountable for his words, no question, but the reporter has escaped complete scrutiny. The president is being criticized, McChrystal is being criticized, but the reporter should have shown some level of responsibility," said Russell.
And while Russell is disappointed to see McChrystal go, his biggest concern is what the military shake-up could mean for Afghanistan and the thousands of U.S. troops their sent to defend it.
"The Taliban and Al Qaeda will look at this and be jumping for joy because our free press and our democratic processes are working to their advantage. Not saying we should abandon them but in the small term they will have a small measure of advantage in the interim," Russell said.