President Barack Obama has relieved Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of the US military’s forces in Afghanistan, of command.
In his speech to the press at 1:45 PM ET, Obama emphasized that his decision came in part because he believes it it is imperative that the US military understands it is subordinate to a civilian-elected government.
“It undermines the civilian control of the military that’s at the core of our democratic system,” Obama said.
“This is a change in personnel, but it is not a change in policy,” he added later.
“I have no greater honor of serving as commander and chief,” he continued, and “it is my duty to assure no diversion come [between the] vital mission they are carrying out. That includes adherence to a strict code of conduct. The strength and greatness of our military is rooted in the fact that this code applies equally to newly enlisted privates and general officer who commands them.”
President Obama will tap Gen. David Petraeus to take over for McChrystal. Petraeus already leads US forces in Iraq.
McChrystal said in statement he resigned because of his “desire to see the mission succeed.”
McChyrstal had taken heavy flak after an interview he and his aides gave to Rolling Stone Magazine which mocked the President and Vice President.
Earlier, McChrystal was seen leaving the West Wing and climbing into a van after his nearly half-hour private showdown with the president.
“Summoned to Washington to explain himself, McChrystal arrived from Kabul in the early morning and met first at the Pentagon with Defense Secretary Robert Gates,” AP wrote Wednesday morning. “After his next face-to-face, with Obama, the general was not seen returning to the White House for a scheduled Afghanistan strategy session, as had been expected. It was not known where he went, as he did not appear at his Pentagon office, either.”
USA Today says: “NBC chief Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski reports that it was unclear if McChrystal submitted a letter of resignation of whether Obama took the action.”
President Barack Obama announced Wednesday that he will replace Gen. Stanley McChrystal with Gen. David Petraeus.
This video is from MSNBC’s News Live, broadcast June 23, 2010.