Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Gen. McKiernan

Allow me to play the cynic for a moment. (It comes fairly easily, I admit.)

President Obama (and Gen. Petraeus) asked for and received General David McKiernan's resignation as senior U.S. commander in Afghanistan yesterday. While there are clearly still many issues to be worked out in Afghanistan, and perhaps news will emerge that McKiernan was standing in the way of some new administration policies... as of yet, there doesn't seem to be a huge reason for this.

My thought: Is this like the baseball team that fires the manager after a disappointing first half? The team sucks, and there's not a whole lot the GM (or owner) can do about it, but by firing the manager, it looks like they're doing something about it. With dire warnings about Pakistan, and no real change of strategy in Afghanistan, other than sending more American troops there, maybe the President wanted to look like he was doing something substantial.

I hope I'm wrong. But this thought has been nagging at the back of my mind for a while.

1 comment:


  1. I don't see it. McChrystal has a better background than McKiernan in the kind of war that needs to be fought in Afghanistan. McKiernan was failing. On the face of it, it makes perfect sense.

    And, as you suggest, I think there's probably a back story to this, and I expect it involves the recent large loss of Afghan civilian's lives. Big guns generals like McKiernan might tend to see this as an unfortunate, but necessary, component of war. But it's counter-productive, and can lead to a win-the-battle-but-lose-the-war situation. Let's see if it happens again under McChrystal. I'm guessing never on such a scale again.

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