ABC’s Matt Jaffe and Z. Byron Wolf report: Sen. Joe Lieberman was effusive about the president’s decision to replace Gen. Stanley McChrystal with Gen. David Petraeus to lead U.S. troops in Afghanistan, saying it will turn out to be “a real turning point” in the Obama presidency.
“He’s taken this crisis brought about by the Rolling Stone interview with Gen. McChrystal and his staff and he’s turned it into a decisive moment of presidential leadership: upholding the values of the military, civilian rule in the military, and the commitment to success in Afghanistan,” said Liebermran.
Lieberman said the president’s move shows that going forward he won’t tolerate “public dissent or private division” among his administration.
“I think the other thing the president did that was very important: The Rolling Stone interview was inappropriate, but it revealed something that a lot of us know, which is that there’s not a unity of effort between the military and our diplomatic representation in Kabul and back here in Washington. The President was very clear — he’s not going to tolerate public dissent about this policy. And putting Gen. Petraeus in — the man who literally wrote the book on counter-insurgency — and restating his commitment as President to success in Afghanistan, I think these are very significant Commander-in-Chief decisions that say to me, ‘We’re on the road to success in Afghanistan.’”
Lieberman said that Petraeus appointment will be a morale boost for troops in Afghanistan and help with “seamless continuity” for the effort there.
Will the Petraeus appointment lead to a new strategy? Lieberman thinks not.
“This is a counter-insurgency fight. And we can win it and I think we’re going to win it,” he said.
In a paper statement, Sen. John Kerry, R-Mass, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was similarly enthusiastic.
“(President Obama’s) decision to return General Petraeus to the battlefield provides not just continuity in philosophy, but tested diplomatic skill that is at the very center of a military strategy which hinges on progress in governance to sustain military gains,” said Kerry. “The strategy and the objectives must be the only agenda. That’s what really counts. American lives are on the line and America’s security interests hang in the balance. We cannot afford another minute of distraction. We’ve already seen in Marjah that impressive military gains cannot be maintained without effective local governance and Afghan ownership. This must happen to give the mission a chance to succeed.”