Nonetheless, speculation was rife Tuesday that Gen. McChrystal would offer his resignation and that the president would accept it.
He is already viewed as having two strikes against him because of prior comments about Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., and the disclosure of a dire assessment of the Afghanistan war that led to a request for more troops.
Although the harshest words in the article come from anonymous McChrystal aides, the general himself called Mr. Obama’s lengthy review of his request for tens of thousands more troops as an unpleasant experience.
“I found that time painful. … I was selling an unsellable position,” the magazine quotes him as saying.
Very few military leaders have ever publicly spoken in such terms about their commander in chief. When they have, the consequences have often been more than just a reprimand.
Article 88 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice directs that any officer using “contemptuous words” about the president, the vice president, or other top officials can be court-martialed.
Washington pundits already were comparing the issue Tuesday to the most famous military-civilian showdown in U.S. history, with CBS News titling one segment on its website “Obama, McChrystal Like Truman, MacArthur?”
In that conflict, President Truman removed Gen. Douglas MacArthur as head of the U.S.-led forces during the Korean War after he violated orders on press interactions and publicly called for expanding the war into China as a general crusade against Asian communism. At the time, Truman was trying to engage China in cease-fire and peace talks.
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