Commentators who say Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, is pressuring the White House to accept his ideas or else didn’t pay close attention to his remarks last week in London.

“I’m certainly not going to circumvent any political leadership, because at the end of the day the political leadership are the people who I work for, and I’m proud to do that,” McChrystal told the International Institute for Strategic Studies last Thursday. Once a decision on troop levels is made, he said, he will carry it out…

Some reports have said McChrystal is pushing for a quick decision. The general said in London, for example, that “time is important” and that he would like the process “to go as quickly as possible.” But when asked directly if there was enough time for debate, he replied, “I don’t think we have the luxury of going so fast we make the wrong decision.” He said that “a healthy public debate, a healthy decision-making process” that results in “resolute execution” by the Afghans, the United States and the coalition, would change “the time horizon.”…

A great deal of discussion was prompted by McChrystal’s remark that “they [may] crush me someday” — “they” implying his bosses in the White House who have questioned the leak of his 66-page assessment of the war and his recent public statements. McChrystal said that he has had “the opportunity to speak my mind absolutely” and that his senior leadership “not only encouraged that, they’ve demanded that.” He went on, “There may be a limit to it, and they [may] crush me someday,” but he quickly added: “But no, I’m just kidding. They absolutely demanded that. That is very healthy, so I feel very good about it.”