President Obama removed Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal as commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan on Wednesday, moving quickly to restore the unity of his administration's war effort after the general and his top aides in biting remarks in an explosive magazine article.
Obama named Gen. David H. Petraeus, the former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and currently the head of the U.S. Central Command, to replace McChrystal and urged the Senate to confirm him promptly.
But Obama reaffirmed in blunt terms the counterinsurgency strategy he ordered last year, and he said that "war is bigger than any one man or woman, whether a private, a general or a president."
This move actually makes slightly more sense, blunting conservative criticism by tapping their Iraq hero for the job. As Laurence Lewis posted:
Conservative critics of President Obama long have derided him as weak. Intellectual, reserved, unemotional. When the BP oil gusher exploded, they criticized him for not taking aggressive enough action. Despite otherwise being critics of federal government. And then when he took decisive action by shutting down deepwater drilling and forcing BP to set aside $20 billion as a beginning of their debt repayment, they criticized him for overreaching and being a thug.
With the removal of General Stanley McChrystal from command of Afghan military operations, you can be certain that we will hear more right wing criticism. No matter what the President does, the right will criticize him. But those like McChrystal and his supporters who might have thought the President was weak now have their answer. He's the Commander-in-Chief, in a government that has civilian rule over the military. There is a chain of command. He knows it, and they that dared flout it now know it.
Let the critics come. Who looks weak now?
And of course this change maintains continuity of command and the strategy in Afghanistan and all that blahblahblah. July 2011 remains the withdrawal start date, and frankly it can't come soon enough.
Now back to the Gulf oil catastrophe, the economy, the multiple reform legislation battles ...