Breaking:McChrystal Out, Petraeus In
General David Petraeus was just demoted to take over the top reigns in Afghanistan from the sacked General Stanley McChrystal. The McChrystal dismissal may become a good thing if it now brings focus on the civilian side which has been described as “dysfunctional”. If we have learned anything from the COIN warfare of the past decade is that it takes both the civil as well as military sector to be on the same team and strategy if an acceptable outcome is sought.
Concerning Petraeus, it is hard to conceive of a better choice, other than the man who literally wrote the book on modern US Army counter-insurgency tactics. This is probably long overdue, and puts a very positive light on a potentially dark outcome of sacking the commanding general in the middle of a major offensive.
I doubt the Taliban will be rejoicing over the change-over for long. In fact, they have good reason for worry. David Ignatius at the Washington Post opines:
If the Taliban sold stock, its price would surely have fallen after Wednesday’s announcement.
Stanley McChrystal has been in charge of the Afghanistan Front for 18 months with so far little noticeable results. In 2006, when Petraeus took over command in Iraq, the change was felt almost immediately and now we are withdrawing forces at a rapid pace.
One final point. Michael Yon’s original description of McChrystal seems to be more accurate than we thought, with the freelance reporter being soundly lambasted in the blogosphere from his peers. As David Axe says:
Controversial war reporter Michael Yon anticipated the current flap two months ago after he was booted from a media embed inside McChrystal’s staff. “Today, I do not trust McChrystal anymore than some people trust The New York Times, Obama or Bush,” Yon wrote in April.
So should Yon now feel vindicated?
A few Outstanding Quotes on the McChrystal firing:
“The hearing for general Petraeus confirmation will probably be the fastest in the history of the Armed Services Committee”.–Sen. John McCain
“I think today the President stepped up and dealt with it directly and strongly and made the right decision”.–Sen. Joe Lieberman
“Dave Petraeus is our best hope”.–Sen. Lindsey Graham