June 24th, 2010
12:53 PM ET
13 years ago

Mullen backs Obama decision, mulls Centcom options

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/06/24/art.mullen.0618y.gi.jpg caption=" Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen said Thursday he backs the president's decision to remove Gen. Stanley McChrystal from his command post."]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."

In the meantime, Centcom will be run by Deputy Commander Lt. Gen. John Allen whom Mullen described as "extraordinary," saying "I have all the confidence in the world in him to be able to lead Centcom until this transition is complete."

Mullen said Petraeus "is fully in support of the policy" laid out by President Obama who has set a July 2011 timeline to begin gradually withdrawing from Afghanistan.

Mullen said that operations in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar present "extraordinary, complex challenges," and reiterated his belief that "Kandahar is the center of gravity for how we're moving forward in this strategy." Gen. McChrystal recently said that planned operations were not proceeding as quickly as planned.

"This is a tough, tough time," Mullen said. But Mullen said it's not all gloom and doom, adding "there is darkness just before the dawn in these kinds of operations."

"Bazaars are open, there are teachers out there now," Mullen said.

"There are leaders stepping forward in the local communities, so the indicators are moving in the right direction," Mullen said.

Filed under: Mike Mullen • Stanley McChrystal
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    United We Stand, Divided We Fall.

    June 24, 2010 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  2. Dave

    It is ironic that the President fires a general for the remarks of others or for a comment he made about the vice president, and later appoints a general he and other democrats villified a few months earlier. I don't get the President and the media for their reporting on this matter.

    June 24, 2010 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  3. Fed up

    No kidding, what do you expect him to say? This is NOT news, just more reassuring Dictator Obama he was right...........when infact he just needs to develop thicker skin and rise above some comments....sad part is they weren't lies!

    June 24, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  4. Barack.Hussein.Obama-America's-Benevolent-DICTATOR

    Of course he supports it! Do you honestly expect him to say...

    "No I don't support Obozo's decision to bag one of the best there is just because The Annointed One got his feelings hurt by a general telling the truth about the incompetence of the Obozo Administration and their flunkies."

    I guess this guy wants to keep his job!

    I can hardly wait until McCrystal retires and tells the truth about these clowns running the show in Washington.

    June 24, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  5. Take America Back

    You know, all you slobbering Liberal Dems and Obambi lovers are having a "60ish Love In" over the "brilliant move" Obambi made in firing McChrystal and replacing him with Petraeus. For once, I agree......because this move is nothing less than saying in a very loud voice that "George W. Bush was right all the while"! Lest you have forgotten; Petraeus was ridiculed and hated by all Dems......so thank you for proving what we knew all the while.....Bush was right, he did know what he was doing and the smartest thing Obambi has done yet is to follow the path Bush has already blazed! I just hope Obambi has enough smarts not to "un-do" what has been done!

    June 24, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    Don't worry folks. Just be patient. Your answers will arrive shortly. I'm 100% certain our friendly neighborhood GOP/conservative Limbot Beckscateers will give us a thoroughly rational and fact-laden analysis of why this means Obama is a Kanyan-born muslim manchurian socialist dictator who is the worst and most unconstitutional POTUS ever because he is trying to destroy the United States in order to make way for Islamic popsicle stands for thirsty Mexican illegal immigrants along the southern border. Clearly, he's attempting to lose the war, cause terrorist attacks on our soil and punish the southwest with poor border control...and Bill Cosby and his puddingpop masters are behind it all.

    June 24, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  7. Jerry

    Another lap dog afraid for his job, to bad the rest of the USA feels you are wrong.

    June 24, 2010 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  8. thor

    Another military leader who would rather save his job and say what Obama wants him to say than do whats right for the country.

    June 24, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  9. That Army Guy

    Translation: One guys kicks butt, the other kisses it.

    Funny thing is people don't seem to think about the undercurrent on this. Why would McCrystal do this? Why would he PUBLICALLY bash the president when he KNEW that is was a UCMJ violation? Easy answer is: HE WANTED OUT. He realized that he can't win because Washington won't let him win. Washington and for that matter the American people want microwaved combat. They want it started and finished in a short, definitive time frame. Anybody who has served and been associated with combat units KNOWS that you cannot fight that way. You have objectives, not time frames. The mission is a success when the objective is reached, not when the clock runs out.

    June 24, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  10. phoenix86

    "...there is darkness just before the dawn...".

    Like the darkness that has enveloped the United States since the dems took power in 2006 (the year the economy began to slide). The dawn will begin to appear when the liberals are booted out of congress in 2010 and when the lefty loone in the White House is booted out in 2012.

    June 24, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  11. Marcus

    To expect that Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen would NOT backs the POTUS decision is to expect that the Pope would decide that Catholicism is not the 'true faith'.
    Like the Pope is responsible for all aspects of the Catholicism, Admiral Mullen is responsible for all aspects of the US Military forces.
    Including discipline.
    McChrystal disobeyed the basic rule of the military discipline: you don't question your orders (unless when allowed to), you obey them.

    PS – Cue to somebody saying that I am comparing President Obama to God...

    June 24, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  12. chuck

    Gen. McChrystal, told it as it is in RR. Obama is not a military leader; and his team is a bunch of bozos.

    We should bring all of our troops home as soon as possible. The War is LOST.

    June 24, 2010 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  13. Silence DoGood

    "I'm very supportive of the president's decision," = oh god I hope I don't offend his Majesty and get fired too.

    June 24, 2010 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  14. Retired Army in San Antonio

    Not surprising.

    Every member of the military understands that you cannot verbally disparage your senior officers.....OR.....your civilian leadership.

    And to do so in a time of war just aggrevates the offense.

    Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, it's actually a criminal (jailable) offense. In my opinion......McChrystal will be fortunate if he's allowed to keep his current rank as he fades into retirement.

    June 24, 2010 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  15. Luke's Corner

    Its hilarious seeing all these stories being ran about so and so supporting Obama's plan to replace the General as if these people were gonna publicly say something against the administration...isnt that what got the General canned?

    Although General McChrystal couldve found a different forum to express his emotions i dont blame him a bit for his comments.

    Maybe he was tired of dealing with this clown car administration and figured this would be a certain way out.

    All i know is that it takes a hell of a lot of frustration to make a 30 year American hero get a sudden case of loose-lips in an interview.

    Best of luck to you Gen. McChrystal and thank u for helping to open the public's eyes as to how disconnected this administration is from our heros serving overseas as well as the struggling poor they claim they wanna help.

    June 24, 2010 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  16. ajax

    Just remember it was Obama that called the war in Afghanistan the good war and hand picked the guy that he had to let go.He's already sent 60,000 additional troops there.It's going down the toilet and Obama is looking for a way to save his rear end.Not that long ago the people that were asking for Petraeus head because of Iraq are now prasing him to lead us out of this mess.

    June 24, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  17. G Barnes

    More a question than a comment! What next for General McChrystal? Does he stay with the military in some capacity or retire after being debriefed? Perhaps Barbara Starr or another journalist who follows the Penatagon can do a piece on "what next."

    June 24, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  18. famous4theday

    wow I just watched the interview with gates and mulan every soldier should be mad as hell to see McChrystal get off so easy.As a E5 in the army if i did something like this i would lose my strips or worst.
    This goes to show that there are two classes even in the military, and that gap is getting bigger.

    June 24, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  19. yanni

    What else would you expect him to say–What a dumb pick! He'd be gone in a heartbeat.

    June 24, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  20. Chipster

    MsMHS criticizes President Obama for being "just a Community Organizer." MsMHS, the President was a Community Organizer long before he was a respected constitutional Professor, State Senator for 7 years, National Senator for nearly 4 years, and President since January 1, 2009. Jesus was also a Community Organizer and His leadership skills were good enough for me. He didn't belittle people. I'm really sick of the baseless sniping. If you don't like policies, argue the policies but the cattiness is tiresome and unproductive. The President made an executive decision. Agree or disagree but it was his to make and even a Community Organizer may be more qualified than you.

    June 24, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  21. Willy Brown

    Mullen's is a stooge for Barry

    June 24, 2010 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  22. Pragmatic

    , McChrystal was in a "three strikes" situation: first, there was the leaking of the demands for more troops, then, there was his involvement with the Tillman death misrepresentation, and now this month long "surprise" interview ... not man enough to talk to the President directly – bad mouthing behind his back doesn't make you a hero ... more of a zero! Think he knew the McChrystal Plan was failing and wanted out???

    June 24, 2010 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |