Wednesday, June 23, 2010

McChrystal Out; Petraeus to Succeed Him

Just reported by the NYT and others: McChrystal out, Petraeus to succeed him.  Makes sense:
  •  Petraeus is the author of the counterinsurgency doctrine that McChrystal was brought in to implement.
  • Petraeus seems to have the respect of both the military establishment and  (especially) the Lieberman - McCain - Graham clique in the Senate.  It will be difficult for the red-meat-eating "victory"-seeking bunch in Congress or at the American Enterprise Institute to argue with this one.

But there's potentially a huge down-side for Petraeus, who still shimmers in the glory of his alleged "victory" via the Surge in Iraq.  Now he's going to be in charge of the Surge in Afghanistan, which is not going nearly as well as the Iraq Surge and shows no real promise of going any better.  If Afghanistan continues to swirl the bowl (which, IMO, it will - bringing in Petraeus is not a game changer), his reputation as a miracle worker is going to suffer.

On the other hand, can Obama trust Petraeus to stick to his July 2011- start-the-withdrawal game plan?  Or might Petraeus end up undercutting that and force Obama's hand?

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