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General faces come-to-Jesus meeting with angry Obama

By MATT SPETALNICK
June 23, 2010

President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Gates (AFP)

Forget No-drama Obama.

An infuriated U.S. president is hauling his top general in Afghanistan to the White House, job hanging in the balance, to explain “what in the world he was thinking” when he and his aides mocked their commander-in-chief and his team.

After reading General Stanley McChrystal’s complaints in a Rolling Stone magazine article entitled “The Runaway General,” Obama departed from his calm, deliberative style. He wasted little time in ordering him to fly halfway around the world to face the music on Wednesday.

Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs, speaking more bluntly and emphatically than usual at his daily briefing on Tuesday, said “the magnitude and greatness of the mistake here are profound” and repeatedly declined to say McChrystal’s job was safe.

“All options are on the table,” he told reporters.

Gibbs said he gave Obama a copy of the article on Monday night and the president twice left the White House residence and went to the Oval Office to confer with his advisers.

“He was angry,” Gibbs said.

How so? a reporter asked. “You would know it if you saw it,” Gibbs said tersely.

The public talk of presidential pique raises strong questions whether McChrystal will be able to save his job.

Obama risks looking weak on insubordination if he lets McChrystal stay, especially with some leading lawmakers calling for the general’s head.

But Obama also could be accused of undermining his own Afghan war strategy — already facing steep obstacles — if at such a pivotal moment he cuts loose the commander he appointed to implement it. Success or failure in Afghanistan will be a major part of Obama’s foreign policy legacy.

“The purpose for calling him here is to see what in the world he was thinking,” Gibbs said of McChrystal. He pointedly insisted, however, that the U.S. war effort in Afghanistan was “bigger than one person.”

LOOKING FOR MORE “ASS TO KICK?”

The McChrystal controversy is the last thing Obama needs as he struggles with a devastating BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico while dealing with high unemployment and a stuttering economy that threaten his fellow Democrats in November’s pivotal congressional elections.

It is also another test of the “No-drama Obama” style he cultivated during the presidential campaign and has instilled as his presidential demeanor.

Obama has been widely criticized for not showing enough anger and emotion over the oil spill, the worst ecological disaster in U.S. history. But he won praise for his uncharacteristic comment that he was looking for an “ass to kick.”

McChrystal has apologized for the Rolling Stone article, which quotes his aides calling one top Obama official a “clown” and another a “wounded animal.” The general himself made belittling remarks in the article about Vice President Joe Biden and the U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke.

The article also quoted a McChrystal adviser dismissing an early meeting with Obama as a “10-minute photo op.”

“Obama clearly didn’t know anything about him, who he was,” the adviser told the magazine. “Here’s the guy who’s going to run his (expletive) war but he didn’t seem very engaged. The boss was pretty disappointed.”

Gibbs, asked about whether Obama was in fact disengaged, said McChrystal would have Obama’s “undivided attention” on Wednesday.

Copyright © 2010 Reuters Ltd.

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6 Responses to General faces come-to-Jesus meeting with angry Obama

  1. Jim0001

    June 23, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    “Come to Jesus meeting”? This son of God, allah, buddah, mohammed’s porcuine friend or spore of satan; whatever, this temporary sorjourner in the white house (AKA: empty suit) hasn’t got a clue. What a clown! General McChrystal needs to go for his transgressions against the chain of command and violation of his military oath, Obama needs to go for his disregard and disrespect for the Constitution, Biden needs to go for being a dumb ass.. “Jimmah” Carter should be estatic because he knows he will no longer be the worst “prez” in history. As screwed up as Carter was at least he could tell you his name without two tele-prompters. Bush would mispell his name but at least could remember it, Come on 2012….
    They all need to go-AWAY and let the Republic have a chance to survive!

    Lets focus on this and take our minds off of the administration’s limp wrist Gulf oil spill plan. Refocus the attention of the country, while that is happening, this administration will slip us another jalapeno enema. There I said it.

  2. Klaus Hergeschimmer

    June 25, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    Barack Jesus Obama is his name, continuing PNAC policies is his game.

  3. eve

    June 27, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    Here’s a quote to ponder…

    “I will promise you this, that if we have not gotten our troops out by the time I am president, it is the first thing I will do. I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this war. You can take that to the bank.”
    -Presidential Candidate Barack Obama, 10/27/2007

    • Guardhouse lawyer

      June 27, 2010 at 5:35 pm

      And here is something else to ponder:

      January 21, 2009, Obana’s first full day in office:

      \\http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/promise/125/direct-military-leaders-to-end-war-in-iraq/

      As to the Afghanistan situation, Obama NEVER promised to end our engagement in Afghanistan. He promised to increase our troop strength there. And he did:

      http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/promise/134/send-two-additional-brigades-to-afghanistan/

      As a matter of interest, though, troop withdrawals there are scheduled for about a year from now.

      Any questions?

      • griff

        June 27, 2010 at 8:31 pm

        Gee I thought we covered this already. There will be no drawdown in July, 2011. It’s what we commonly refer to as a lie.

  4. Klaus Hergeschimmer

    June 28, 2010 at 2:50 am

    Yep, Obomber never said he would promise to end the occupation of Pipe-O-Stan and the ‘We Can’ Obomber Unwashed Lemming Supporters sucked it up and put the Neo-Liberal into the center seat.