Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Obama removes McChrystal from command

President Barack Obama announced today that he has decided to accept the resignation of General Stanley McChrystal, the man he tapped last year to lead the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. The president's decision came after a midmorning meeting with McChrystal, prompted by a profile of the general to be published in the forthcoming issue of Rolling Stone.

The profile depicted McChrystal and his staff as disdainful of senior civilian figures in the administration, including the Vice President.

"The conduct represented in the recently published article does not meet the standard that should be set by a commanding general," Obama said in remarks delivered in the Rose Garden alongside Vice President Biden, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and McChrystal's successor, General David Petraeus.

"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."

"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," the president added. "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."

Yesterday, we at NPI — and many other progressives — urged President Obama to dismiss General McChrystal for his disrespectful and inappropriate conduct. We're happy to see that he has done so.

McChrystal's team had to have known what they were doing when they allowed Rolling Stone to go ahead and publish its rather candid profile of them.

In a way, they did their country a favor, by making public their unprofessional behavior behind the scenes. As the president implied in his remarks, they clearly were not the right people for the job. What they did cannot be excused away as "barracks talk". They and their boss had the responsibility of setting and adhering to a higher standard. They failed in that responsibility and it is only fitting that they have been dismissed by the Commander in Chief.

Congratulations to Barack Obama for passing a key test of his presidency with flying colors. An important and essential idea in our democracy — civilian control of the military — has been reaffirmed today.


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