Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Getting It Right

I’d say President Obama got it just about as near perfect as could be expected. My preference would be for him to reject McChrystal’s resignation and fire him, but if he believes that this better serves his relationship with the military that is certainly his call and I’m not prepared
to question his judgement on it. That’s why he is president and I’m not.

His naming of Petraeus as replacement is very interesting indeed, and probably also a really good choice in that it provides continuity not just for the war itself, but with regard to our relationship with the Afghan leadership. The latter is not a small consideration by any means, and serving that purpose without actually stating it is excellent.

The former is something that I actually regard as a disadvantage, because I am among those who regard counterinsurgency as a failed doctrine, and naming Petraeus means the doctrine will continue in Afghanistan. (That comes as no surprise, of course, but one could always hope.) It worked, more or less, in Iraq because we were able to bribe the Al Anbar tribes to join our side, but that was not part of the doctrine itself, and it is not something we are going to be able to do in Afghanistan.

That’s a different subject, though, and as to the McChrystal situation itself, I’m more than happy with the way Obama has resolved it.

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