General James Conway, Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, recently said that U.S. soldiers in southern Afghanistan would have to stay well beyond President Obama’s self imposed July 2011 withdrawal date. He also said, among other things, that Obama’s deadline for American troops to begin pulling out of Afghanistan was “giving our enemy sustenance.”
General David Petraeus, Commander of United States and NATO forces in Afghanistan, is known to be at odds with the President on several important issues, including the deadline and Obama’s policy forbidding any link between terrorism and Islam.
When General Stanley McChrystal, the architect of America’s military success in Iraq and Petraeus’s predecessor in Afghanistan, was fired for critical remarks he made about Obama in an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine the President stated that division on his National Security Team would not be tolerated and that unity is obligatory, not optional.
Will Obama fire Generals Conway and Petraeus like he did General McChrystal? How many Generals can he fire anyway? What does this very public criticism by some of the highest ranking members of the American military really mean? Are we seeing the beginning of some sort of concerted effort by America’s military to politically weaken an already unpopular President who has been very damaging to the military itself and the national security of the country?
Good questions all.