Obama: McChrystal showed poor judgment but the mission is paramount

posted at 6:50 pm on June 22, 2010 by Allahpundit

He says he won’t make any final decisions until after they meet tomorrow, but here’s a heavy hint from this afternoon’s war cabinet meeting that big Mac might keep his job after all. “I know Secretary Gates feels the exact same way,” says The One about prioritizing victory over punishment for insubordination, but how true is that? Gates has pulled the trapdoor on many a general in his day, which is not to say that he’s prepared to risk defeat to send a message about discipline but rather that he seems to think the Pentagon’s bench is deep enough to risk late-inning substitutions.

Regardless, via WaPo, here’s a sneak preview of the inevitable spin if McChrystal does indeed hold on:

“My advice is to call him back to Washington, publicly chastise him and then make it clear that there is something greater at stake here,” said Nathaniel Fick, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and is now chief executive of the Center for a New American Security. “It takes time for anyone to get up to speed, and right now time is our most precious commodity in Afghanistan.” If Obama believes the current counterinsurgency strategy for Afghanistan is the right one, then he cannot afford to jettison McChrystal, Fick said…

A senior Pakistani government official said Monday that many in Pakistan already believe the Americans lack a long-term strategy in Afghanistan. The possibility of McChrystal’s being removed only deepens Pakistan’s skepticism about chances for a U.S. victory in Afghanistan, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive policy assessment.

“Now, the person who helped craft that strategy, if he’s not on the scene, how will you take this process forward?” the official added.

A “senior official” tells NBC that McChrystal can save his job tomorrow if the meeting with Obama goes well. In fact, I wonder if one benefit in The One’s mind of keeping Mac on is what Fick alludes to in the blockquote — namely, it’ll allow him to stick with his timetable to begin withdrawing next summer. McCain has already seized this as an opportunity to pressure Obama towards relenting on the drawdown schedule and moving to a “conditions-based” approach; if O cans McChrystal, the argument for doing that becomes stronger since the new commander will need time to get up to speed. Obama clearly isn’t willing to be there forever, though: If he was, he wouldn’t have announced a withdrawal date in the first place, and given the lack of progress after six months and grumbling among his base, he surely doesn’t want to prolong the commitment. Keeping McChrystal gives him the political cover he needs to eventually say, “hey, we tried.” In the meantime, he gets to look magnanimous by forgiving an act of poor judgment and offering a new vote of confidence in his commander.

Exit question: Does he stay or does he go? Get your predictions in now!

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If McCrystal has an ounce of honor and integrity, he’ll resign and file his retirement papers.

lonesomecharlie on June 23, 2010 at 8:43 AM

I suspect this argument divides along gender lines. The men are all saying, “Fire him.”

I’d keep him, for strategic purposes.

Bet the men are right on this one. Obama won’t be able to set aside his ego.

AnninCA on June 23, 2010 at 8:43 AM

Tough question. I think he SHOULD stay. But Obama is pretty thin-skinned.

I’d love to see Obama call the media to task for stirring the pot, and call the military and State Dept. to task for bickering in the press. Then give everybody a mulligan.

That would be level-headed, mature, and serve our foreign policy interests. So it’s the least likely to happen.

hawksruleva on June 23, 2010 at 9:08 AM

Still don’t see any insubordination, but what do I know.

Obama won’t can the general for no reason other than it will make him (Obama) look bad. Some commenters and others said this yesterday. McChrystal was ‘hand-picked’ by Teh One, if he fires him, it calls his own judgement into question.

I know, I know. There is plenty of other evidence to call his judgement into question, but you catch my drift.

catmman on June 23, 2010 at 9:18 AM

You don’t suppose that such a crafty hand’s off president could have use the arts and his govdernment controlled media(he started that way before using stimulous money) to publicly create what he needs as politic cover to dump McCrystal without him being the evil guy – do you?

This trandsparent typical Obama strategy allows even the conservatives to defend Obama. What fools we be for ever trusting anything – repeat – anything -they say or do.

In case we haven’t yet noticed -they loathe three things: truth, God, and freedom. It is time we take off, at least, our verbal gloves and return their blows for that which is worth defending – those same three things.

They laugh openly at logic -the constitution -God -family and moral codes that alone make society stable.

Don L on June 23, 2010 at 9:19 AM

McChrystal showed poor judgment? Everyday Obama shows poor judgment. Actually it’s more like no judgment.

sandee on June 23, 2010 at 9:22 AM

If dear leader doesn’t fire the general after all the media bashing then he will appear weak to our enemies who would shoot someone for less than what McChrystal did, but that’s their culture and how they hold power. Ours is a political system of making deals, swallowing hard when necessary, and smiling for the cameras. Hence, the pragmatic in chief will wait for McChrystal to resign rather than make a decision. Look for a lot of the aides to follow suit. There will be a huge leadership vacuum in the war after that.

Kissmygrits on June 23, 2010 at 9:30 AM

Obama: McChrystal showed poor judgment but the mission is paramount

So Obama’s punting. That’s not a big surprise.

Dr Evil on June 23, 2010 at 10:08 AM

No Barry Hussain Sotereo Obowma, America showed poor judgment in electing you as president, they acted stupidly. Hopefully they won’t make the same mistake in the future.

thinkagain on June 23, 2010 at 10:11 AM

Obama’s mistakes do not excuse McChrystal’s mistakes.

hawksruleva on June 23, 2010 at 10:46 AM

The press is holding its powder a bit on this; if McChrystal is out watch them attack him. If he stays (which I doubt) Obama will be praised as the wise one….

albill on June 22, 2010 at 7:19 PM

They’re waiting for Obama to tell them what is okay for them to think.

tom on June 23, 2010 at 11:46 AM

I suspect this argument divides along gender lines. The men are all saying, “Fire him.”

I’d keep him, for strategic purposes.

Bet the men are right on this one. Obama won’t be able to set aside his ego.

AnninCA on June 23, 2010 at 8:43 AM

Hmm, so now AnninCA assumes she speaks for all women.

Thanks for my daily dose of “WTF?”.

hawkdriver on June 23, 2010 at 3:33 PM

Obama: McChrystal showed poor judgment but the mission is paramount

Obama: Now my judgement, on the other hand, is impeccable…..(when’s my next tee time?)

olesparkie on June 23, 2010 at 7:37 PM

This should open the door to fire True incompetents who refuse to defend our southern border.

TimBuk3 on June 24, 2010 at 9:16 AM