White House angry at General Stanley McChrystal speech on Afghanistan
According to sources close to the administration, Gen McChrystal shocked and angered presidential advisers with the bluntness of a speech given in London last week.
The next day he was summoned to an awkward 25-minute face-to-face meeting on board Air Force One on the tarmac in Copenhagen, where the president had arrived to tout Chicago's unsuccessful Olympic bid.
In an apparent rebuke to the commander, Robert Gates, the Defence Secretary, said: "It is imperative that all of us taking part in these deliberations, civilians and military alike, provide our best advice to the president, candidly but privately."
When asked on CNN about the commander's public lobbying for more troops, Gen Jim Jones, national security adviser, said:
“Ideally, it's better for military advice to come up through the chain of command.”
Asked if the president had told the general to tone down his remarks, he told CBS: "I wasn't there so I can't answer that question. But it was an opportunity for them to get to know each other a little bit better. I am sure they exchanged direct views."
An adviser to the administration said: "People aren't sure whether McChrystal is being naïve or an upstart. To my mind he doesn't seem ready for this Washington hard-ball and is just speaking his mind too plainly."
In London, Gen McChrystal, who heads the 68,000 US troops in Afghanistan as well as the 100,000 Nato forces, flatly rejected proposals to switch to a strategy more reliant on drone missile strikes and special forces operations against al-Qaeda.
He told the Institute of International and Strategic Studies that the formula, which is favoured by Vice-President Joe Biden, would lead to "Chaos-istan".
When asked whether he would support it, he said: "The short answer is: No."
He went on to say: "Waiting does not prolong a favorable outcome. This effort will not remain winnable indefinitely, and nor will public support."
The remarks have been seen by some in the Obama administration as a barbed reference to the slow pace of debate within the White House.
Then we have this:
On Afghanistan, US military puts Obama on the spot
WASHINGTON (AFP) – By openly declaring their views on the Afghan war, US military leaders have placed President Barack Obama in a bind as he faces a fraught decision over the troubled US-led mission.
Obama has refused to quickly approve a request from his commanders for a major troop build-up in Afghanistan, insisting first on a full vetting of the current strategy.
But while a war council takes place behind closed doors at the White House, top military officers have made no secret of their view that without a vast ground force, the Afghan mission could end in failure.
"They want to make sure people know what they asked for if things go wrong," Lawrence Korb, a former assistant secretary of defense, told AFP.
As a result, if Obama chooses to change course in Afghanistan or decline a request for large numbers of troops, he will be rejecting the advice of the US military, raising the political stakes.
Commentators on the left say the military ought to keep its advice private without trying to influence public debate, with New York Times columnist Frank Rich accusing the generals of an attempt to "try to lock him (Obama) in" on Afghanistan.
Now a couple of things about all of this.
One has to wonder just how much respect the military has for Obama.
How could they really?
He brings no experience to the table.
He spent the entire campaign casting aspersions towards them and the work they were doing in Iraq.
When he wasn't attacking them on Iraq he was showing utter disrespect for them. One clear example was when he went to Germany and refused to visit wounded troops because he was not allowed to take reporters with him.
Him and his fellow supporters have spent the entire Iraq war attacking them endlessly. Calling them terrorists. Attempting to cut off funding for the war. Show zero respect for the work they do.
He has met with General McChrystal once. When trying to explain away this obvious arrogance in not seeking his General's advice on the war he is commanding, Obama and others in the administration have made it seem as if this is normal and that the advice of the General is only a part of the process. Bottom line, the administration is showing the same long standing contempt for the men and women who wear the uniform of the US military that those on the left have always exhibited.
Now everyone is shocked that the military doesn't fall in line behind him.
Second, we have this:
Commentators on the left say the military ought to keep its advice private without trying to influence public debate, with New York Times columnist Frank Rich accusing the generals of an attempt to "try to lock him (Obama) in" on Afghanistan
Funny how people in the fringe media are all of a sudden uncomfortable with military commanders speaking publicly about the operations in the Middle East. Just a short year ago and back to the beginning of the wars these same people salivated over any military personnel they could find that was critical of the war. Amazing how things change with these "journalists".