Congressman Buck McKeon, the Ranking Member of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, today released the following statement in response to the President’s decision to relieve General Stanley McChrystal of command in Afghanistan and replace him with General David Petraeus, the current commander of U.S. Central Command:
“We are at a critical time in our Afghanistan campaign with our troops engaged in tough fighting throughout the country. While the current situation is unfortunate, our focus must remain on the mission at hand: defeating al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and their extremist allies.
“The counterinsurgency strategy our troops are implementing in Afghanistan remains strong. I believe the appointment of General Petraeus will ensure continuity in this effort. In Iraq, he proved that a counterinsurgency campaign can work and is well prepared to do the same in Afghanistan.
“Now is the time for the President, as Commander-in-Chief, to exert stronger leadership over the course of the war. By focusing more on the effort, everybody—from the top commanders and diplomats to the warfighters and civilian professionals in the field—will know that he is engaged and singularly focused on winning.
“I encourage the President to recommit his entire Afghanistan-Pakistan team to the seriousness of purpose at hand. This will allow the President to reassure our troops and diplomats, and their families, that he has a cohesive team committed to providing the time and resources they need to win in Afghanistan.
“Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t thank General McChrystal for his decades-long service to our country and for his counsel to Congress on both Iraq and Afghanistan.”