(CNN) - Director Oliver Stone, a longtime critic of President Barack Obama's Afghanistan policy, says the president was wrong to choose Gen. David Petraeus to be the new leader of the effort there.
"He's asking the head of the whole region, CENTCOM command, Petraeus, to step down in authority to take this post. That shows a complete breakdown in the military, to me," Stone said in an interview with CNN's John King.
"You don't promote down," added Stone, a veteran of the Vietnam War. "It's like asking Eisenhower to lead a division in World War II after he's led D-Day. You don't do that."
Obama relieved Gen. Stanley McChrystal of his duties as the top commander in Afghanistan Wednesday after the general and his staff were quoted in a Rolling Stone magazine article making comments that appear to mock top administration officials.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen endorsed Obama's decision during a Pentagon news conference Thursday. Mullen said he was nearly physically "sick" when he read the Rolling Stone story. The comments in the article constituted an unacceptable challenge to civilian authority, the men said.
(CNN) - Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen said Thursday that he was nearly "physically sick" when he read the story about Gen. Stanley McChrystal and McChrystal's staff in Rolling Stone. Mullen also said he was "stunned."
He said the story, in its totality, amounted to an unacceptable challenge to civilian authority.
Washington (CNN) - The top US military official said he backs the president's decision to remove Gen. Stanley McChrystal from his command post.
"I'm very supportive of the president's decision," Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen said at a Washington event on Thursday.
President Barack Obama has tapped Gen. David Petraeus, the current commander of Central Command, to replace McChrystal as top commander in Afghanistan.
Asked if he has any individuals in mind to replace Gen. Petraeus at Centcom, Mullen said simply, "I do." and then added "but that's all I'll say."
Editor's note: Gloria Borger is a senior political analyst for CNN, appearing regularly on CNN's "The Situation Room," "AC360°" and "State of the Union," as well as participating in special event coverage.
Washington (CNN) - Aside from his extraordinarily bad judgment, Gen. Stanley McChrystal also had something else working against him: bad timing. Really bad timing.
President Obama, you may recall, has lately had some troubles with public perception of the way he has been handling the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. His leadership has been questioned. In fact, Americans have downgraded his ability to handle a crisis by 11 points in the past year, according to CNN polls. They don't think he's a very tough guy.
That is, unless they caught his announcement of General Stanley McChrystal's "resignation." It wasn't a towel-snapping I've-had-enough-of-this-kind -of-insubordination statement. Rather, it was a reasoned, calculated explanation of why the commander-in-chief could not countenance McChrystal and his cronies bad-mouthing the president and his entire national security team.
The president was forceful, and clear: It "erodes the civilian control of the military," he said. It files in the face of the "strict code of conduct" for the military," he told us. And, by the way, debate is fine, but this president "won't tolerate division."
Or immaturity. Or anything that is not worthy of the risks the troops take each day.
Washington (CNN) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates backed keeping Gen. Stanley McChrystal on the job because he was vital to the war effort in Afghanistan, but he was overruled, a senior Pentagon official told CNN's Barbara Starr.
The official has direct knowledge of the events but declined to be identified because they are internal administration discussions.
President Barack Obama relieved McChrystal of command of the Afghan war on Wednesday, a day after Rolling Stone published critical comments about top White House officials by members of McChrystal's staff.
It's still unclear whether Obama had made up his mind before sitting down with McChrystal, but CNN has learned that during their one-on-one meeting, Obama gave the general a chance to defend himself.
"The president asked him about the (Rolling Stone) article," said a senior administration official.
McChrystal "tried to explain the situation," the official said.
Washington (CNN) - It's still unclear whether President Barack Obama had made up his mind before sitting down Wednesday with Gen. Stanley McChrystal, but CNN has learned that during their one-on-one meeting, Obama gave the general a chance to defend himself.
"The president asked him about the article," said a senior administration official, referring to a Rolling Stone magazine article containing comments from McChrystal and his staff that appear to mock top civilian officials,
including the vice president.
"He [McChrystal] tried to explain the situation," the official said.
That senior administration official, who briefed reporters, gave this backstory:
Once Obama accepted McChrystal's resignation, he wasted no time finding his replacement. After McChrystal walked out of the White House following his 30 minute face-to-face meeting with the president, the president immediately huddled with a team of advisors to decide who would replace McChrystal.
That group included Vice President Joe Biden, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, National Security Advisor Jim Jones and Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. For 45 minutes, they mulled over the president's options.
Washington (CNN) - Gen. Stanley McChrystal knew he lacked White House support when he walked into an Oval Office meeting Wednesday with President Barack Obama, a source close to McChrystal told CNN.
According to the source, McChrystal briefly explained the magazine article at the center of the controversy and took responsibility, then offered his resignation. Obama accepted the resignation, the source said.
The president "had no intention of keeping him," and McChrystal knew that going into the meeting, according to the source.
In addition, the source said McChrystal will not return to Afghanistan. His team will go back to pack up on his behalf.
Updated: 7:11 p.m.
(CNN) - After President Barack Obama announced Wednesday that he has asked Gen. David Petraeus to replace Gen. Stanley McChrystal as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, McChrystal released the following statement.
"This morning the president accepted my resignation as commander of U.S. and NATO Coalition Forces in Afghanistan. I strongly support the president's strategy in Afghanistan and am deeply committed to our coalition forces, our partner nations and the Afghan people. It was out of respect for this commitment - and a desire to see the mission succeed - that I tendered my resignation. It has been my privilege and honor to lead our nation's finest."
Read reaction from lawmakers to President Obama's decision after the jump:
President Obama announced Wednesday that he has asked Gen. David Petraeus to replace Gen. Stanley McChrystal as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)
Washington (CNN) - President Obama announced Wednesday that he has asked Gen. David Petraeus to replace Gen. Stanley McChrystal as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan.
Obama said McChrystal's conduct "does not meet the standard that should be set by a commanding general" and undermines both civilian authority and trust.
He said his decision to change commanders in Afghanistan is "a change in personnel, but ... not a change in policy."
Obama said he could not maintain a "unity of effort" in the Afghan war without a change of command. Obama said he won't "tolerate division" among his military commanders. "Our nation is at war," he said at the White House. "We face a very tough fight in Afghanistan."