Obama replaces McChrystal with Petraeus in Afghanistan
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06/23/10 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday | Listen to this entire show:

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Gen. David Petraeus in St. Pete.


photo by Tom Baur/WMNF (Jan. 2010)

In the White House Rose Garden today President Barack Obama says he accepted the resignation of General Stanley McChrystal - but with regret.

"But also with certainty that it is the right thing for our mission in Afghanistan, for our military, and for our country."

Obama says McChrystal's harsh comments about the president and other officials in a Rolling Stone magazine article violated a strict code of conduct.

"But war is bigger than any one man or woman. Whether a private or general, or a president. As difficult as it is to loose General McChrystal, I believe that it is the right decision for our national security. The conduct represented in the recently published article, does not meet the standard that should be set by a commanding general. It undermines the civilian control of the military that is at the core of our democratic system. And it erodes the trust that is necessary for our team to work together; to achieve our objectives in Afghanistan."

Obama named General David Petraeus to assume McChrystal's role as the highest-ranking U.S. commander in Afghanistan.

"Which will allow us to maintain the momentum and leadership that we need to succeed. I don't make this decision based on any difference in policy with General McChrystal, as we are in full agreement about our strategy. Nor do I make this decision out of any sense of personal insult. Stan McChrystal has always shown great courtesy and carried out my orders faithfully. I've got great admiration for him, and for his long record of service in uniform."

Despite the replacement, no major change is expected in pursuit of the war on Afghanistan.

"Our nation is at war. We face a very tough fight in Afghanistan. But Americans don't flinch in the face of difficult truths or difficult tasks. We persist and we persevere. We will not tolerate a safe haven for terrorists who want to destroy Afghan's society from within, and launch attacks against innocent men, women, and children in our country and around the world. So make no mistake, we have a clear goal. We are going to break the Taliban's momentum. We are going to build Afghan capacity. We are going to relentlessly apply pressure on Al-Qaeda and it's leadership, strengthening the ability of both Afghanistan and Pakistan to do the same."

Before the announcement, Obama met privately with McChrystal and separately with his national security staff.

Some previous WMNF coverage of Petraeus

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