WASHINGTON — Whatever he said in the half-hour meeting with President Obama this morning, it wasn’t enough. Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s shockingly indiscreet comments to Rolling Stone magazine toppled the general who had been responsible for prosecuting the war in Afghanistan.
McChrystal will be replaced by Gen. David Petraeus, the head of U.S. Central Command and author of the surge strategy that has been credited in part with turning around the war effort in Iraq.
The switch was immediately hailed by several Minnesota lawmakers.
“I think that the president handled this as well as he could,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar in an interview this afternoon. “I support what the president did.”
“I think Petraeus is a really good pick, he knows what he’s doing. I think there’ll be an easy transition in that he’ll have the support of the troops in the field.”
“This is such a serious situation,” Franken agreed. “What was in that article was so out of line… and so horrible in the sense of what it does to the chain of command.”
“And then the tone and tenor of that, it just really made me sad.”
Rep. John Kline, who recently retuned from a five-day visit to Afghanistan, said the goal in that country remains the same — “A stable country that denies the Taliban and al-Qaeda a safe haven from which to launch attacks against Afghanistan, Pakistan, or the U.S. and its allies.“
“As a fellow veteran, I thank Gen. McChrystal for his decades of decorated service and honor him for answering the call to serve in Afghanistan and around the world,” Kline said. “Moving forward, I am confident General David Petraeus has proven his leadership in Iraq and is extremely well qualified for this job.
Rep. Keith Ellison said he supports the decision to replace McChrystal and reiterated his calls for more civilian aid to Afghanistan.
“I have long argued that in order to achieve peace and security in the region, we must have a civilian surge coupled with transitioning our troops out of combat missions and readying them for redeployment,” Ellison said in a statement. “I continue to call on President Obama and General Petraeus to increase public diplomacy to ensure long term stability, and to bring our troops home from this near decade long conflict.”
Updates to follow…