Contrary to some of the whispers issuing forth like so much gas from Democrat operatives and media mouthpieces, General McChrystal was never “Bush’s guy.” He is, and has always been, Obama’s man; 12 months ago, he was being hailed in the media as Obama’s “hand-picked” replacement of General McKiernan.
Never mind that it had taken Obama more than half a year to reveal and articulate a plan for the war in Afghanistan – a plan that looked very much like the Bush plan.
Never mind, too, that Obama has met with his general less than a handful of times, most famously – and for only the second time in McChrystal’s then 4-month tenure – on the tarmac in Copenhagen, as the President engaged in an unsuccessful flyby of lobbying on behalf of Olympic host city-hopeful, Chicago.
Evidence that Obama is committed to the war effort in Afghanistan? Hardly.
An excuse for ignoring, then marginalizing and isolating your seasoned commander? Not a chance.
A demonstration of Presidential command? Absolutely…in this administration.
General McChrystal was Obama's hand-picked General to run the war in Afghanistan. And when Obama's hand-picked General turned on him, he fired him…and hired President Bush’s hand-picked General Petraeus. The same General Petraeus who was the architect of the surge in Iraq…the wildly successful surge in Iraq that was at first dismissed by Obama, and then grudgingly, barely, reluctantly acknowledged by Obama to be a “moderate” success.
And so, like much of the controversy that surrounds this administration, we’re once again confronted with elements of pure tragedy…blessedly wrapped in total comedy. Seriously.
Obama's tactical mistake was an elementary one; he stepped in his own trap. McChrystal complained to the media because Obama had failed to properly equip his Army, and so, on the eve of the most important tactical operation in years – the Kandahar Surge – Obama takes the guy out of theater.
This is military leadership?
Did Obama relieve McChrystal in order to strengthen our position in Afghanistan? To buoy troop morale? To assuage the often fungible commitment of the Karzai regime? None of these. He did it solely in an attempt to “save his own face.”
Well, the enduring salient point remains, Obama tapped a Bush veteran – a veteran he once assailed publicly – to lead the way in Afghanistan.
The only certain outcome here is that Obama now, definitely, “owns” this command. God help us all.