House Speaker Nancy Pelosi criticized Gen. Stanley McChrystal Monday night, telling Charlie Rose that the general should not used a press conference to publicly air his troop recommendations.
"Let me say this about General McChrystal, with all due respect," she told the Bloomberg TV host. "His recommendations to the president should go up the line of command. They shouldn't be in press conferences." In a London speech last week, McChrystal spoke out against a scaled-back military presence in the country.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates also said Monday that advice to the president should be private. "I can't improve on General McChrystal's assessment -- that the situation is serious and deteriorating," he said in a speech at the annual meeting of the Association of the U.S. Army. But he argued that strategic discussions should not be public. "In this process, it is imperative that all of us taking part in these deliberations -- civilians and military alike -- provide our best advice to the president candidly but privately," he told the audience.
And on Tuesday, Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) called McChrystal's public statements "pretty odd."
Pelosi also expressed some skepticism about increasing the troop levels in the country, but she pronounced herself "agnostic" until she spoke to President Obama. "It's a very difficult vote to get from the members," she said. "Their constituents don't like an escalated war in Afghanistan. They'd like to see a different approach. But let's see what the president has to say."
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