WASHINGTON (AP) — A senior administration official tells The Associated Press that President Barack Obama has accepted Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s resignation as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan and is replacing him with Gen. David Petraeus, head of U.S. Central Command.
McChrystal was pushed out over his blistering remarks about administration officials quoted in a magazine interview.
After an Oval Office meeting with McChrystal in the morning, Obama huddled with his war advisers and planned to announce his decision on the general’s fate to the nation at 1:30 p.m. EDT in the Rose Garden.
The official spoke only on condition of anonymity, because the president’s announcement was not yet public. Petraeus now oversees the wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
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WASHINGTON – With his future as the top U.S. commander of the war in Afghanistan uncertain, Gen. Stanley McChrystal arrived at the White House Wednesday to explain his biting complaints about President Barack Obama and his aides directly to the commander in chief.
The general was meeting with Obama in the Oval Office before attending the president’s regular monthly war meeting. McChrystal usually participates by videoconference.
McChrystal met earlier Wednesday with Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at the Pentagon.
Obama summoned McChrystal after learning of his comments about administration officials in a magazine article. A White House rebuke of McChrystal suggested it would be hard for him to save his job.
Two military officials said McChrystal was prepared to submit his resignation. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
Obama was set to make an announcement on McChrystal’s future soon after their face-to-face.
“I think it’s clear that the article in which he and his team appeared … showed poor judgment,” Obama said Tuesday at the close of an unrelated Cabinet meeting. “But I also want to make sure that I talk to him directly before I make any final decisions.”
Afghan President Hamid Karzai expressed his confidence in McChrystal during a video conference Tuesday night with Obama, Karzai spokesman Waheed Omar said Wednesday in Kabul.
“We hope there is not a change of leadership of the international forces here in Afghanistan and that we continue to partner with Gen. McChrystal,” Omar told reporters.
In a Rolling Stone magazine article, McChrystal didn’t criticize Obama himself but called the period last fall when the president was deciding whether to approve more troops “painful” and said Obama appeared ready to hand him an “unsellable” position.
McChrystal also said he was “betrayed” by Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, the man the White House chose to be his diplomatic partner in Afghanistan. He accused Eikenberry of raising doubts about Karzai only to give himself cover in case the U.S. effort failed. “Now, if we fail, they can say ‘I told you so,’” McChrystal told the magazine. And he was quoted mocking Vice President Joe Biden.