Tough New Leader In Afghanistan

Jillian Bandes
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Posted: May 15, 2009 1:39 PM
The Marine Corps Times has some good analysis of the replacement for Army Gen. David McKiernan, who was just relieved of his command as head of operations in Afghanistan

Lt. Gen. Stan McChrystal is a career special operations officer who ran the Army's most secretive special ops units for a record 5 years. McChrystal’s troops were responsible for tracking down Saddam Hussein and his sons, as well as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and has been praised for his "hard-driving style and mission focus," according to the Times.

Some think the ousting of McKiernan was less than diplomatic, but what major army transition isn't?

One Pentagon official noted that when Defense Secretary Robert Gates plucked McKiernan from his position as head of U.S. Army Europe to run the war in Afghanistan 11 months ago, it preceded a major effort by Gates “to solicit serious and lasting European commitments for Afghanistan.”

Those efforts have “come up well short of expectations,” the official said, with the result that McKiernan’s European contacts and expertise had outlived their usefulness, and fueling the view that a new approach was needed — one to which McChrystal’s special operations experience is more suited.