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Key Senate Democrat calls for McChrystal to resign

From Dana Bash, CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent
  • Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-North Dakota, calls on Gen. Stanley McChrystal to resign
  • Dorgan: McChrystal's comments "just can't be allowed to stand"
  • Most Democrats have deferred to President Obama on McChrystal's fate
  • Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan: the controversy sends a "message of confusion" to troops

Washington (CNN) -- Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-North Dakota, became the first member of the Senate Democratic leadership on Tuesday to suggest that Gen. Stanley McChrystal should resign.

Asked by CNN in a Capitol Hill hallway if McChrystal's comments in Rolling Stone magazine warrant resignation, Dorgan replied that if McChrystal "said what it was reported that he said, the answer is yes."

Dorgan, who chairs the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, was visibly annoyed by McChrystal's comments, as were many of his colleagues.

But Dorgan went further than his fellow Democratic senators. Most of them have called McChrystal's quotes about the president's team inappropriate and troubling, but they have also said it is up to President Obama to decide if McChrystal should be fired from his job as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan.

"We can't have a general calling the national security adviser a clown, or whatever had been attributed to him with respect to Vice President Biden, the national security adviser and others," Dorgan said. "It's just unbelievably inappropriate and just can't be allowed to stand."

Dorgan is one of many Democrats skeptical of sending more troops to Afghanistan, voting in May on an amendment for a timetable for redeployment.

Senate Armed Services chairman Carl Levin, D-Michigan, who like other senators appeared deeply conflicted about whether McChrystal should be forced to resign, warned that the controversy surrounding the general would have a "negative effect" on U.S. policy in Afghanistan.

Levin said the controversy sends a "message of confusion" to the troops in the field, which he said "is never good."