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McChrystal finds few defenders among senators supporting counterinsurgency

By Paul Kane
After spending months last year urging President Obama to heed the general's advice on the Afghanistan war, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) Tuesday declined to defend Gen. Stanley McChrystal over his comments mocking Obama's national security team and opened the door to someone replacing the Pentagon's top soldier in Kabul.

"It's the president's decision," McCain, Obama's presidential rival in 2008, told reporters. McCain said that the counterinsurgency policy that McChrystal is implementing in Afghanistan, which Obama approved last winter after the general's report warned of "mission failure" without a surge of more than 30,000 new troops, originated with Gen. David Petraeus in Iraq, making him the most important figure in the growing ranks of Pentagon leaders who advocate the policy.

Asked if the counterinsurgency movement was bigger than McChrystal, McCain said, "I would think so, sure, yeah, it was General Patraeus who wrote it."

McCain's comments came as other prominent Republicans who urged Obama last year to adopt McChrystal's strategy withheld comment or openly criticized him for his statements in a Rolling Stone profile. McCain referred reporters to a statement issued Wednesday morning by his office along with Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) -- the Senate's three biggest backers of the McChrystal strategy in Afghanistan -- in which they called the general's actions "inappropriate and inconsistent with the traditional relationship between Commander-in-Chief and the military."

The senators paid respect to McChrystal for his "brave service and sacrifice to our nation," before adding, "The decision concerning General McChrystal's future is a decision to be made by the President of the United States."

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), another prominent supporter of McChrystal's, withheld any defense of the general until he held a meeting with Obama Wednesday to clear the air about his comments. "I'm going to give him the opportunity to try to clarify what he said or explain what he said before making any comment. ... Obviously I think it's fair to hear from him what his side of the story is, then we can judge what's right or wrong," Kyl told reporters.

By Paul Kane  |  June 22, 2010; 12:30 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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Next: Leading Democrat calls for McChrystal's ouster, while others open to his dismissal

Comments

Now that our enemy rejoices at Obama's decision concerning McChrystal, why would Obama not be guilty of treason? Very clearly the President has, with very poor reason, served in support of our enemy! And just what effect will come about for our own troops, and their attitudes? But I don't think you should bother telling the President he is in fact a traitor; in accord with Biden's standards, he'd probably say "big 'f-ing' deal"!

Posted by: swordmakerkurtisdavis | June 26, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Wowee, it's collective amnesia of all the years before Obama was President. Suddenly all the rules : don't talk badly about the Commander in Chief during a war no longer apply. Chain of command in the military no longer applies. Open talk of assassination of the President is no longer an act of treason but makes people heroes.

You were blaming Obama for the economy before he took office.

Just be honest. From the very beginning, your feelings were there is an N in the white house and if he was not impeached or replaced during the next Presidential election Sarah Palin and her worshipers (a good many of the people on this message board)will await Palin's instructions to use your guns to overthrow the government - oddly something that's no longer treasonous as well.

Posted by: raduodogi | June 24, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

The reporter is the one who violated McCrystal. He sat him up royally, the reporter bought him drinks, and made him feel like a confidant, and then rolled him.
What a jerk, and a poor human being. He sold McCrystal out for dirty money.
I hope he will fall in a hole and rott.

Posted by: heidio | June 24, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

The reporter is the one who violated McCrystal. He sat him up royally, the reporter bought him drinks, and made him feel like a confidant, and then rolled him.
What a jerk, and a poor human being. He sold McCrystal out for dirty money.
I hope he will fall in a hole and rott.

Posted by: heidio | June 24, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

The reporter is the one who violated McCrystal. He sat him up royally, the reporter bought him drinks, and made him feel like a confidant, and then rolled him.
What a jerk, and a poor human being. He sold McCrystal out for dirty money.
I hope he will fall in a hole and rott.

Posted by: heidio | June 24, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

The reporter is the one who violated McCrystal. He sat him up royally, the reporter bought him drinks, and made him feel like a confidant, and then rolled him.
What a jerk, and a poor human being. He sold McCrystal out for dirty money.
I hope he will fall in a hole and rott.

Posted by: heidio | June 24, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

The general is clearly in the wrong. His conduct in this instance amazes me, I thought he was more professional than to make such comments to a journalist, or to anyone except in confidence.

It's especially ironic that the strategy McCrystal is supposed to be implementing is one the Republicans urged the President to adopt. I hope they act with consistency and do not defend McCrystal's breach of military code in this.

It does not speak well of military discipline, set a good example to the soldiers under McCrystal's command, improve troop morale or help our efforts in Afghanistan, to have a 4-star general behaving in such an unprofessional manner.

Posted by: PeggyB1 | June 22, 2010 11:51 PM | Report abuse

As my old pappy used to say... there is a fox in the hen house.

Anyone that doubts that the General did not have secondary motives has to have their head in the Sand.

Here is a man that knows the military, and like any 3 STAR General he sees a different view of what is going on in the war.

It is my understanding the the FORMER General that Obama sent there as the Ambassador is noted for being two-faced and a back stabber... He is a first class jerk and anyone that worked for him and with him says that he would say what the bosses wanted to hear... just to gain advancement.

My take has been and is that OBAMA cares nothing about the military, the people in the two wars and is not interested in doing anything but LOOK GOOD.

Without a doubt this may be the STAKE through his heart. Meaning that he is done as an effective POTUS.

When one of our brightest and honorable Generals is at odds with Obama and the jerks he has in his administration.. then we have a problem..

Any Senator that sucks up to OBAMA must be voted out in 2010, 2012, 2014.

Perhaps the military finally realizes that Obama is not eligible to be POTUS and thus is not THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF.

Remember that Obama was a dual citizen at birth... and ALL the House, Senate and the Supreme Courts KNOWS that he does not meet the eligibility requirements of the Constitution.

OBAMA must be Impeached and tried for High Crimes and Treason and tried in Military Court of Justice.

Posted by: miller515501 | June 22, 2010 11:34 PM | Report abuse

Boy are you wrong. The headline should read McChrystal has few supporters in Washington DC but everywhere els in this land we know the truth and he was right. He did not say anything the rest of this nation does not understand. He told the truth and it smells so sweet. It just stands out with this administrations since they would not know the truth if it bit them in the behind.

Posted by: greatgran1 | June 22, 2010 9:21 PM | Report abuse

I defend McChrystal!
He like many US citizens are sick and tired of Presidential double talk.
When a US president says one thing then does another it is time for the President to step down.

Posted by: rteske | June 22, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Of course he isn't finding many supporters.

If he was a military yes man who viewed the troops he commands as resources to further his career he wouldn't need them.

That is the difference between a politician general and a warrior general.

He puts the life of his troops ahead of his career.

He not like Colan Powell who was strictly a politician.

He told the president what he needed to make the job safer for his troops. He didn't get what he needed and what he did get he got after a long unnecessary wait while Obama, the commander and chief who sees troops as resources to be thrown into the fire to fuel his drive, decided how to make it look like the was going to support the troops.

In truth, a pacifist politician like Obama has no clue as to the thinking of a warrior. He sees warriors as anachronisms. Something from another time that we no longer need. That is a kind analysis. I don't want to call him a traitor. I have no proof.

Anyone who has served knows that it is better to serve under a warrior. As long as you didn't screw up he will have your back. A politician? No way.

He did what a good general. He pointed out, in a politically incorrect way, that the commander and chief was not qualified to make these decisions, most of them aren't, and wouldn't listen to the experts, which many of them have.

I salute you general. I am sorry that you had to sacrifice yourself.

Posted by: kbworkman | June 22, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Of course he isn't finding many supporters.

If he was a military yes man who viewed the troops he commands as resources to further his career he wouldn't need them.

That is the difference between a politician general and a warrior general.

He puts the life of his troops ahead of his career.

He not like Colan Powell who was strictly a politician.

He told the president what he needed to make the job safer for his troops. He didn't get what he needed and what he did get he got after a long unnecessary wait while Obama, the commander and chief who sees troops as resources to be thrown into the fire to fuel his drive, decided how to make it look like the was going to support the troops.

In truth, a pacifist politician like Obama has no clue as to the thinking of a warrior. He sees warriors as anachronisms. Something from another time that we no longer need. That is a kind analysis. I don't want to call him a traitor. I have no proof.

Anyone who has served knows that it is better to serve under a warrior. As long as you didn't screw up he will have your back. A politician? No way.

He did what a good general. He pointed out, in a politically incorrect way, that the commander and chief was not qualified to make these decisions, most of them aren't, and wouldn't listen to the experts, which many of them have.

I salute you general. I am sorry that you had to sacrifice yourself.

Posted by: kbworkman | June 22, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

TO - M1RIFLEMAN1940 - Thanks for your service.

Posted by: redhorse_69 | June 22, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

TO - M1RIFLEMAN1940 - Thanks for your service.

Posted by: redhorse_69 | June 22, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

TO - M1RIFLEMAN1940 - Thanks for your service.

Posted by: redhorse_69 | June 22, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Griping about superiors is an ancient privilege of soldiers. Even generals are entitled to vent their frustration, and indeed need to, to preserve their sanity. Their privacy should be respected. I hope that no reporter will get that kind of access again, and granting it in the first place was a gaffe of Bidenseque proportions. Give the officers the same break that troopers get, but give then a stern lecture on blabbing in front of reporters. Senior officers should know that dealing with reporters is like petting a strange cat; you never know when it will claw you.

Posted by: M1Rifleman1940 | June 22, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Members of the military do not have the right to criticise the President as do the rest of us. We all knew this when we took our oath as commissioned officers. For you civilians, Google the officers oath and it will then be clear to you that Gen McC stepped over the line and altho I am not an Obama supporter Gen McC should be fired.

Posted by: redhorse_69 | June 22, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

ONE WOULD THINK THAT A GUY WITH FOUR STARS ON HIS COLLAR WOULD UNDERSTAND THAT "CLOSED MOUTHS GATHER NO FEET" EVEN WHEN IT'S THE TRUTH......GOTTA BE REALLY HARD FOR A PATRIOT TO SERVE SUCH A PHONY WHO HAS NO DESIRE TO SEE AMERICA BE A WINNER.

Posted by: rog_1939 | June 22, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Hey bluecollarbluejeans, Iraq seems pretty much won. Your Obama did not change one thing from what Bush put in place including the Defense Secretary and the generals. The withdrawal is set according to the treaty Bush negotiated. Yet Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time Biden is now trying to claim Iraq as Obama's finest accomplishment (he must have forgot the Nobel Peace [Sur]Prize). Afghanistan will not be won for years. However, only weakness on our part will cause a loss. The Taliban will not win unless we give up.

Posted by: Childrex | June 22, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Gen. McChrystal thought that he had his play backed by his friends in the Senate, that rogue guy McCain and his shadow, Lieberman, would surely back him. So he went rogue, feeling his oats, and got strung out with no one reaching for him. Gen. Mc, how's the limb you are occupying? A word to the wise military operative, believe no Republican who backs your play with impunity, because when the pinch comes, they will save their own glutes before they offer you the length of a shoestring of support.

Gen. McChrystal should ask to be included on as many prayer lists as the religious world can come up with, because he has hung himself in a delicate position and is sure to take a direct hit on this one. Mock a senator or a representative and get on Saturday Night Live. Mock the President, the VP, or cabinet members, and you will be looking at a farewell set of orders, possibly without a hail and farewell ceremony. The ultimate question is this, Do you think that all of those cheap shots and surly remarks about those in power above you were funny, now that you are on the hot seat? Smile at the out-processing center when they issue you the retired ID card. And get ready for the new commander in chief to issue your orders and give you the TO DO list.

Posted by: ronjeske | June 22, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

How like many Americans, including John McCain,Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) to leap before hearing from our General.

What McCrystal is sharing will be well worth listening to - this man isn't a traitor, but he is honest.

Why would anyone expect him to have one ounce of respect for Obama; it was because of Obama that we lost so many men and women in our military last year. Talk to their families, if you don't believe me. Obama blatantly told him he didn't have time for him and more or less draw a number General.

John McCain and his buds are worried about job security - McCrystal is worried about the truth. This is the second officer in a few days time to resist the very corrupt leader that is ruining our Nation.

Jon Kyl once again is right in giving our General the courtesy of an explanation.

What we're living here is but one more example of Obama power; if you think Obama's first consideration is the safety of our troops, go back and read about his visit, read it all and read between the lines.

Posted by: tboca | June 22, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

McChrystal sold Obama a bad strategy and now that we see the results of his plan in Afghanastan, he found a way to bail out. Only blame for Obama, was poor judgement in selection of this general.

Posted by: tmd678 | June 22, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

McChrystal sold Obama a bad strategy and now that we see the results of his plan in Afghanastan, he found a way to bail out. Only blame for Obama, was poor judgement in selection of this general.

Posted by: tmd678 | June 22, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

McChrystal sold Obama a bad strategy and now that we see the results of his plan in Afghanastan, he found a way to bail out. Only blame for Obama, was poor judgement in selection of this general.

Posted by: tmd678 | June 22, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Everyone seems to forget that a number of Generals and Admirals objected to the conduct of the Iraq war during the Bush Administration and were immediately retired for it.

McChrystal has done nothing more than give fuel to the Tea Partiers and tin foil hat Birthers. He should be retired as well. Such blatant disrespect for the Commander in Chief serves no one.

Posted by: lurkittyfb | June 22, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Obama needs another 'butt kisser' for a General. Pelosi, Reid, Bernanke, Holder and Geithner are not enough.

****************************

This is pretty far from not being a "yes man." The Gen. has Tourette's syndrome. He is not fit for high command. The President gave him complete control and he is complaining. There's nothing else to give him.

He is complaining about the Whitehouse for trusting him with this responsibility. I have to agree with him. The President was a fool to trust this fool with anything.

Posted by: Reesh | June 22, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

It's rumored that Osama bin-Laden strongly endorses Stanley McChrstal's leadership in Afghanistan.

Posted by: Reesh | June 22, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Any of you have a solution to 'win' the two wars that your buddy W started? Kind of quiet on the W,Cheney,Rumsfeld front.

Posted by: bluecollarbluejeans | June 22, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Any of YOU YAHOO"S have a solution to the two wars started by your buddy W?

Posted by: bluecollarbluejeans | June 22, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

My son and daughter-in-law (both West Point grads) are in Afganastan and this buffoon of a 4 star General is leading them? He has gotten everything he wanted - why do you think the Repubs haven't said anything? Afgan is NOT Iraq and whatever worked in Iraq is not working in Afgan. Surge, surge - you need a government partner for that and we don't have that. Eikelbury recognized that - McChrystal did NOT. Obviously McChrystal's stragegy is not working and he is looking for scapegoats - so lets blame it on Obama - like everything else. Everything is Obama's fault - everything. Give me a break. McChrystal should resign iimmediately for the good of the country. Where was Petraeus? He is McChrystal's boss. What happpened to that chain-of-command? Huh? It is Patraeus who reports to Gates. What happened to that chain of command? McChrystal is a failure and whatever he was doing was not working. Lets put the blame where it really belongs - on "W" who got us here in the first place and NEVER put any resources into Afgan - NEVER. It all went to Iraq and Obama was left holding that bag of s..t. Say goodnight McChrystal and put out the lights as you close the door.

Posted by: BostonBuckeye | June 22, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Obama needs another 'butt kisser' for a General. Pelosi, Reid, Bernanke, Holder and Geithner are not enough.

Posted by: markypolo | June 22, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

A more meaningful question would seem to be "Will Gen. McChrystal (and the American people) fire an incompetent Chief Executive Mistake?"

Posted by: IQ168 | June 22, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Gen. McChrystal should have known better.

On the other hand, imagine trying to fight a war that Obama and his band of incompetents are running...

Posted by: deadmanwalking | June 22, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

The only people who would not support him are the people who are afraid he is telling the truth and had the right stuff to say it. He had what it took to tell it like it is and expose the buffoons for who they are and he has the experience and know-how to be able to make that call. It might be unusual to do so but it shows what must be his total frustration with this useless Administration. I give him four stars for honesty and integrity. Can't think of another General and definitely not one politician I'd give four stars for those qualities to -- can you? I wish him nothing but the best. Wish there were more honest ones like him out there. Then Americans would really know what is going on in a war we are paying a heavy price for not only in money but in American lives. I think we are entitled to it. I fully support honesty and what he did. Good luck to him.

Posted by: nicholjo1 | June 22, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

When Generals forget the chain of command it is time for them to become privates.

Posted by: alf1052 | June 22, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Everything he said was true..... Obama is a complete failure... What an idiot you democrats elected.... Does "Worst President ever" ring a bell? We have a new one..... OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
___________________________________________

This is proof that some of you want the nation to fail. As an Air Force Veteran of the first Persian Gulf War, these comments from a 4 Star General are despicable regardless of who is in office. He should be fired and forced to retire. I have seen junior officers forced out of the service for lesser comments. Suppose the troops in the field under his command talked about him in this manner in interviews to the press. I gurantee he would call for their Court Martial.

Posted by: impartial1 | June 22, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

I am a Naval Academy grad, as is Senator John McCain. We understand that even when the Commander-in-Chief is incompetent, he still is in charge and active duty officers are prohibited from publicly disagreeing with him let alone subjecting him to ridicule. It will hurt the war effort but Obama probably must have him retire. I hope for change by Obama, to have him listen to the military rather than his sad sack VP (who is not in the chain of command).

Posted by: Childrex | June 22, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

McChrystal, just like all the other military and civilian leaders, is totally ignorant of the doctrines of Islam which holds the hearts and minds of the Afghan population in thrall. Those Islamic doctrines teach them that we, non-Moslems, are enemies, no matter how nice and generous we are to them. Those doctrines teach them that Moslems are brothers only to other Moslems. The only difference between the Taliban and the rest of the Afghan population is that the Taliban wants a more rigorous application of Sharia law. But, nearly the entire population wants Sharia law. "Our" Afghan constitution prohibits any legislation which contradicts the doctrines of Islam. "Our" Afghanistan is officially called "The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan". Therefore, "our" Afghan government is dedicated to promoting the doctrines of Islam. Nobody in our government or military seems to understand that basic fact.

The Rolling Stone article on McChrystal quoted the following which we should all take seriously:
"The entire COIN strategy is a fraud perpetuated on the American people," says Douglas Macgregor, a retired colonel and leading critic of counterinsurgency who attended West Point with McChrystal. "The idea that we are going to spend a trillion dollars to reshape the culture of the Islamic world is utter nonsense."

Posted by: Montedoro | June 22, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Thats what happens when you tell the truth around a politican, they can't handle the truth. But, if shooting your mouth off to the press is grounds for dismissal how come Biden is still hanging around, his foot spends more time in his mouth then it does on the ground.

Posted by: 2012anewstart | June 22, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

To 2010 Rout...Regardless of your politics, and your like or dislike of Obama, the fact of the matter is the Constitution enshrines CIVILIAN CONTROL over the military. In the military we say you don't have to respect the man but you MUST respect the rank. The President of the United States is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States. If McChrystal's comments are indeed true, he has disrespected the office of the President, regardless of who sits in that office, and with that, he reduces the respect people hold for that office. McChrystal, like MacArthur before him, must go. On a final note, Democrats did not elect Obama, the American people did. The referendum on him is in 2.5 years.

Posted by: Boston2768 | June 22, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse


Everything he said was true..... Obama is a complete failure... What an idiot you democrats elected.... Does "Worst President ever" ring a bell? We have a new one..... OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: 2010Rout | June 22, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

It's up to America to "fire" Congress, and it's coming. 2010 and 2012, years of reckoning. Get our your resumes, incumbents. Walmart is hiring.

Posted by: RealTexan1 | June 22, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

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