You'd have to see as two theatre commanders inside of 2 years is an indication of an American military project in disarray. It would seem now that defeat.. read that a declaration of victory and an ignominious withdrawal is on the horizon.
Look at what was lost in Gen. McChrystal. He was without doubt the best operational flag officer in the U.S. military. His resume is a litany of taking on the most challenging and daunting missions in the U.S. and excelling in all of them.
These officers are rare birds. They have amazing abilities take on complex command situations. They can synthesize and improvise many competing elements and produce results.
They tend to move through the tactical ranks like a knife through butter, by being able to get things done and making superiors look good. But this more often than not with a disdain for formalities, trivialities and especially politics. It comes with the package. They do not suffer fools gladly and are often blunt and outspoken, and in a peacetime Army bureaucracy they usually peak out at Brigadier, before the political aspects of the job start biting with avengence
at Major General.
Others in this mould in the U.S. military history have been Generals like Tecumseh Sherman and George Patton. Egotistical and insufferable
to their superiors and political masters. But, in the latter case, when it came time to choose the best candidate to lead the tip of the spear of the Allied advance through Europe as head the Armoured Infantry, Patton was the only obvious choice. He would achieve objectives and he would do so with a minimum loss of life.
What is really distressing about all this is that McChrystal was relieved because of a tawdry piece of cynical yellow journalism. On hearsay and anonymous attributions presenting a false picture of a renegade General in gross insubordination of his political masters. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Nothing can be garnered from this other than some banter and griping of his staff in an off the record setting
It is Obama who comes out poorly with this. As someone who have lost his objectivity, sense of scale. He is drifting.. scattered by the winds off the Gulf of Mexico. He appears weak and unwise, just the impression he tried to alleviate with this.
As far as Afghanistan goes, he has now put a consummate
Army bureaucrat in charge with Patraeus. An insider, a competent administrator, but recovering from prostate cancer.. who will bring none of vitality and imagination to the job McChrystal did. In fact he is likely to resent his demotion to a role of subordinate to whoever fills his billet at Central Command.
Nothing good will come of this and the Taliban will press their advantage this summer.