Obama on McChrystal, Truman on MacArthur

Both presidents relieved top generals of their duties, language is similar in tone

Topics: U.S. Military, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, Barack Obama,

Army Gens. Stanley McChrystal and Douglas MacArthur met the same fate — sacked by their commander in chief. In 1951, President Harry Truman stripped MacArthur of his command after disagreements over Korean War strategy. On Wednesday, President Barack Obama fired McChrystal after his disparaging comments about the president and several members of the administration.

Here is what the presidents said:

——

Obama: “Today I accepted Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s resignation as commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. I did so with considerable regret, but also with certainty that it is the right thing for our mission in Afghanistan, for our military and for our country.”

——

Truman: “With deep regret I have concluded that General of the Army Douglas MacArthur is unable to give his wholehearted support to the policies of the United States government and of the United Nations in matters pertaining to his official duties.”

——

Obama: “The conduct represented in the recently published article does not meet the standard that should be set by a commanding general. It undermines the civilian control of the military that is at the core of our democratic system. And it erodes the trust that’s necessary for our team to work together to achieve our objectives in Afghanistan”

——

Truman: “Full and vigorous debate on matters of national policy is a vital element in the constitutional system of our free democracy. It is fundamental, however, that military commanders must be governed by the policies and directives issued to them in the manner provided by our laws and Constitution.”

——

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Obama: “He has earned a reputation as one of our nation’s finest soldiers. That reputation is founded upon his extraordinary dedication, his deep intelligence and his love of country. I relied on his service, particularly in helping to design and lead our new strategy in Afghanistan. So all Americans should be grateful for Gen. McChrystal’s remarkable career in uniform.”

——

Truman: “The nation owes him a debt of gratitude for the distinguished and exceptional service which he has rendered his country in posts of great responsibility.”

——

Source: Text of Obama’s remarks from the White House; text of Truman’s remarks from the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum.

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