Afghan commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal has reportedly offered to resign. President Obama told the press pool late this afternoon that he wants to have a sit down with the general before he makes any decisions.
"Whatever decision that I make with respect to Gen. McChrystal or any other aspect of Afghanistan policy," Obama said, would be in pursuit of an overall "strategy that justifies the enormous courage and sacrifice that those men and women are making over there."If President Obama accepts the embattled general's resignation, most people I've talked to believe he will, the question now becomes: Who will be the third person in less than two years to command the faltering U.S. led war in Afghanistan?
Somebody who served with McChrystal told me that if it was just one misquote, or even a negative quote or two, perhaps McChrystal has a chance; but the range and depth of the comments including quotes from both McChrystal and multiple members of his staff that were biting and highly critical of the most senior members of the Obama administration’s national security team made this person skeptical he could survive.
This person was baffled, along with former colleagues, as to how McChrystal could have allowed this whole story to emerge; allowed his entourage to say the things they did in the presence of a reporter. The badmouthing showed a picture of a command element that was “off the reservation,” he said.
Obama’s decision on whether or not to replace McChrystal should be based on issues greater than profane and impolitic remarks made by the general and his staff, such as turning the tide in Afghanistan before next summer, says Nate Fick, chief executive of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS).
“Changing commanders for the second time in a year is simply going to slow us down” he says. The relationships McChrystal has established with his command and with his Afghan counterparts would have to be rebuilt, a time consuming process; and time is one element in this war that’s in very short supply.
While McChrystal must be publicly reprimanded, and must display some serious contrition, if Obama believes this strategy is the right one then he should keep him in place as his war commander, says Fick
Who would likely succeed McChrystal? The names I’ve heard most frequently repeated are McChrystal’s deputy Lt. Gen. David Rodriquez, which would allow some essential continuity of command, or Joint Forces chief Gen. James Mattis, who was recently passed over for Commandant of the Marine Corps.
-- Greg Grant