Joe Sestak -- a former Navy admiral -- invokes Dwight Eisenhower and Douglas MacArthur in comments to CNN about the US commander in Afghanistan Stanley McChrystal. The general "broke a military code," he says to John King, but dismissing him would mean a "step . . . would be missed" in fighting al Qaeda.
STESTAK: First off, he broke a military code. You go into a
commander-in-chief's room and if you disagree, you keep it there. And
that means the same for the men and women who work for you. You don't
go out and say, I don't like the cut of his jib.
That said, the general has, by and large, the policy support that this
president -- by the president. There are some personality conflicts
going on out there. People know that. But the general should be able
to rise well above that. General Eisenhower did it with General
Montgomery as we went into Normandy.
So the issue is not the policy difference. This general has been over
there, fighting both in Iraq and this war. It gets pretty tough at
times and there is some venting that shouldn't have been done. It calls
for dismissal, without a question.
But this president, this commander-in-chief who supported this policy
that this general wanted, has to make his decision. Do we need him to
be successful for the mission here? So if he keeps him, I think without
a question the general is going to keep his mouth shut. But that's the
decision that he has to make. Is there still a chance that this
strategy, of the president, can work for our security?
KING: And if he replaces him, how much drift? How long would the
drift be? Even if you found a fine commander to come in as soon as
possible, how much drift would be there?
STESTAK: I think there would be a step that would be missed. Because
Kandahar, as you know, we're going into this offensive right here, and
it's a very important moment. There are other generals that I knew,
General Mattis, for example, that could step in.
But this is also a general who actually has changed the tables over
there where the men and women know that they've been asked not just to
think about taking down an adversary, but winning the hearts and minds
of those who are here.
And I think the general has, by and large, the right strategy. The
question is, is it necessary to be successful to keep him there today?
Look, other things have happened that have been worse. You remember
reading about General MacArthur, he circled over Guam and stayed up in
the air until Truman actually landed so the president would have to
But the general was wrong in what he did. This is all about, however,
is this strategy going to help us destroy al Qaeda?