Three candidates under consideration if McChrystal resigns

President Obama removes McChrystal as commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan on Wednesday after remarks he made in a magazine interview about top administration officials.
By Greg Jaffe
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 23, 2010; 2:17 PM

As Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal meets with President Obama on Wednesday morning, his fate is far from clear. If he's fired, Obama and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates would likely select his replacement from three possible candidates.

The easiest transition would involve appointing Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez, the No. 2 U.S. commander in Afghanistan, to take over for McChrystal. Rodriguez worked as Gates's top military aide in Afghanistan and has had time to build relationships with senior Afghan officials over the course of two tours in Afghanistan.

Another possibility would be Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John R. Allen, the deputy commander at U.S. Central Command. Allen is a politically astute general who played a key role in organizing Iraqi tribal leaders, who turned on al-Qaeda affiliates in 2007 and helped reverse the course of the war.

The last candidate would likely be Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mattis, who is widely considered one of the military's smartest counterinsurgency strategists. Mattis has a reputation for blunt talk that has caused controversy in the past. But he is widely admired within the military and has experience in both Iraq and the early days of the Afghan war.

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