Calling him "one of the nation's finest soldiers," President Obama relieved Gen. Stanley McChrystal of his overall command of the war in Afghanistan. Gen. David Petraeus, who was successful in running the war in Iraq, was named as his successor.
"This is a difficult decision. It saddens me to lose the services of a soldier I have come to admire," Obama said in a brief statement outside the White House Wednesday afternoon. He said he accepted McChrystal's resignation "with regret, but with certainty that it is the right thing for our mission in Afghanistan."
The move came hours after a meeting with McChrystal, and one day after word broke of a Rolling Stone interview where McChrystal and his aides made negative comments about Obama and members of his administration.
However, Obama said his decision was not made because of any "personal insult." But he did say McChrystal's "conduct represented in the recently published article does not meet the standard that should be set by a commanding general. It undermines the civilian control of the military that is at the core of our democratic system. And it erodes the trust that's necessary for our team to work together to achieve our objectives in Afghanistan."
He added, "I welcome debate among my team, but I won't tolerate division."
Petraeus will have to be approved by the Senate. Obama called for that approval to happen without delay.