Advancing a Free Society

The McChrystal problem may be solved, but others remain

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

From the commentary, I see that I was prepared to cut General McChrystal and his team much more slack than most other people, including Eliot Cohen and our own Peter Feaver.  While they made valid points, I still think the President could have managed to call McChrystal on the carpet and sent him back to work. 

Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of Team of Rivals, had a terrific piece in the New York Times postulating that President Lincoln would have put up with more disrespect than this if he thought McChrystal was advancing the war effort.  And McChrystal was certainly advancing the war effort.

But the President managed the firing shrewdly, selecting General Petraeus to replace McChrystal. This will minimize the turbulence of transition and be good for the war effort.  Petraeus is good at counterinsurgency warfare, being both an architect of the surge strategy in Iraq and an author of the Marine Corps Army Counterinsurgency Manual. As McChrystal's immediate superior, he is intimately familiar with the plans and their resourcing requirements. As CENTCOM commander, he has a regional perspective and regional relationships that will give continuity to the policy, perhaps even improve on its execution.  And there is little question that General Petraeus is more graceful than General McChrystal in dealing with his civilian counterparts.

Continue reading Kori Schake at Foreign Policy…