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Senators Bond, McCaskill Weigh in on Change of Leadership in Military

Gen. Stanley McChrystal says he has tendered his resignation out of his desire to see the mission in Afghanistan succeed. McChrystal issued his statement Wednesday night from NATO headquarters in Kabul just minutes after President Barack Obamaannounced that he was dismissing the top commander in Afghanistan. The general had been quoted in a magazine article mocking vice president Joe Biden, as well as the president’s strategy in Afghanistan. KSMU’s Jennifer Moore reports on what Missouri’s two senators had to say about the situation.

Both Senators—Republican Kit Bond and Democrat Claire McCaskill—talked to reporters Wednesday.

McCaskill said she found the article about McChrystal disturbing on many levels.

“The lack of judgment that was displayed by General McChrystal is beyond alarming, in terms of not just what he said, but what his aides said in front of him without him correcting them or without him advising them that what they were saying was inappropriate within the proud traditions of the American military,” she said.

One reporter on the conference call asked the Senator which she thinks is better: a general who speaks what he or she believes is the truth, or one who simply follows orders? McCaskill said it’s possible to have both. She said President Obama has a strong record of listening to the opinions of other military leaders, even if they counter his own.

Both McCaskill and her Republican counterpart, Senator Kit Bond, spoke to reporters before the White House had announced that McChrystal would be leaving his post.

Bond would not say whether he thought the general should resign, but said he was leaving it up to the president to decide.

“General McChrystal is an outstanding military leader. We honor his brave service and sacrifice to our country and putting a clear path forward to succeed in Afghanistan. He made a poor choice of words, but I hope that our focus today will be fighting against Al-Qaida terrorists,” Bond said.Shortly after it was announced that General David Petraeus would be replacing McChrystal as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Bond’s office issued a statement. It said, “General Petraeus is an outstanding military leader, but even he can’t win in Afghanistan if the President continues to insist on an arbitrary withdrawal date.”

For KSMU News, I’m Jennifer Moore.