Obama Decides McChrystal's Fate

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WASHINGTON -- Gen. Stanley McChrystal met privately with President Obama Wednesday regarding derogatory remarks he made about his Commander-in-chief and his staff in a recent interview with Rolling Stone Magazine.

"I think it's clear that the article in which he and his team appeared ... showed poor judgment," President Obama said Tuesday at the close of an unrelated Cabinet meeting. "But I also want to make sure that I talk to him directly before I make any final decisions."

Although sources report the comments angered Obama, firing McChrystal could be costly for the president and the war effort in Afghanistan.

For more analysis, click play to hear CBN News White House Correspondent David Brody's comments following Paul Strand's report.

A Lose-Lose Proposition

The president could lose either way if he decides to replace the top commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

If Obama fires McChrystal, some will say he will appear to be super-sensitive and that rather than allowing a few insulting remarks in a magazine article to slide, he would risk the future of a war by firing one of his best - if not the best - general.

"I don't know if there's a better general out there to lead the effort in Afghanistan than McChrystal," said Jonathan Schanzer, vice president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. "If the primary goal that we have right now is to win the war in Afghanistan, then I think that we probably need to think about keeping him at the helm."

However, if Obama doesn't fire McChrystal, some will say the president could appear weak and wimpy and that no matter how many times the general verbally walks all over Obama and his top men, the president would seem to let him get away with it.

The infamous Rolling Stone article, which comes out Friday, is the latest in at least a trio of incidents in which McChrystal has publicly insulted or belittled top administration leaders.

All Options on the Table

Amid reports that the 55-year-old U.S. Army general will be offering his resignation on Wednesday, there has been a furious debate inside the White House over whether or not Obama should accept it.

"I would say all options are on the table," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said.

One thing everyone has agreed on - McChrystal lacks the good judgment to watch his words.

Still, McChrystal has strong advocates, including CBN News War Correspondent Chuck Holton, who served under the general in Afghanistan in 1987.

"Gen. McChrystal was my first company commander in the U.S. Army Rangers," Holton said. "He is a very forthright, a very honorable man."

"I have enormous respect for Gen. McChrystal," Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., said. "I think he's a terrific soldier and this is a critical moment in Afghanistan."

But others question whether McChrystal really is the best man to direct the war.

For instance, some have complained his rules of engagement are so strict, they tie the hands of U.S. forces and have in some cases, even cost American lives.

One such rule in place -- Coalition forces can't engage the Taliban if any civilians are present. So the Taliban drag civilians along with them, an incident that occurred on one recent ambush.

"You had the hostiles embedded with the civilians, knowing that we would do nothing. And sure enough, we lost four Marines in that ambush," the Washington Examiner's Diana West told CBN News.

Following Obama's meeting with McChrystal, both men will meet with the entire National Tecurity team over the progress of the war. So far, there's been no word on whether Obama will fire the general. 

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Paul  Strand

Paul Strand

CBN News Washington Sr. Correspondent

As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington, D.C., bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress.  Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulStrandCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/PaulStrandCBN.