McChrystal Gives Obama Little Choice
On Wednesday's Washington Unplugged, CBS News' Jan Crawford hosted a roundtable discussion on the negative message had General Stanley McChrystal not been replaced and the new spotlight on the struggling war effort in Afghanistan.
"If he [stayed] at this point you have to ask yourself 'what message does that send our allies?' said Craig Shirley, President of Shirley and Banister Public Affairs. "What message does that send President Obama's political opponents? What message does that send to other members of the military that they can break the chain of command, violate the code of justice and openly criticize the commander in chief?"
According to Richard Fontaine, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, it wouldn't have been a good one.
"You can be court-martialed for making certain comments or statements against the president, the vice president," Fontaine said. "There is a difference between the kinds of remarks that commissioned officers, General McChrystal and his aides, make and civilians who work for the government or frat boys or anyone else because of the civil military relations in this country where the military is subordinate to the civilian command."
McChrystal's departure puts a spotlight on a war in Afghanistan that is already under some scrutiny.
"This is sort of another indication to people, probably in the region, but also here at home that are increasingly getting the feeling the war's not going particularly well," Fontaine said. "It's going to take time. There is a deadline a year out from now but with the larger campaign not looking tremendously successful...I think this probably just increases the doubts people have about the long-term viability of the strategy there."
General David Petraeus, McChrystal's replacement, and will have a lot on his plate from the get-go.
"Ultimately some signs of tangible progress on the ground and a decrease in US casualties will be what lots of the support for the war will rest on," Fontaine said. "But certainly in the meantime I think that the support for the war won't go up for this and it will probably to down to some degree."
Watch Wednesday's Washington Unplugged, also featuring CBS News National Security Correspondent David Martin and CBS News Correspondent Barry Petersen's new book about the personal impact of Alzheimer's disease in his new book, For Jan.
"Washington Unplugged," CBSNews.com's exclusive daily politics Webshow, appears live on CBSNews.com each weekday at 12:30 p.m. ET. Click here to check out previous episodes.
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