A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, May 11, 2009

Changing Horses in Midstream

The announcement by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates that Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal will replace Gen. David McKiernan as Commander in Afghanistan cited the need for "fresh leadership" in that conflict.

I'll probably have more to say later or tomorrow, but this seems like the sort of professional slap in the face that is rather rare in modern US wars: relieving the commander of a major war zone in the midst of the war. McChrystal's background may be more appropriate to the conflict — he former headed Joint Special Operations Command — but McKiernan has only commanded ISAF (NATO's International Security Assistance Force) in Afghanistan since last year. It clearly seems to be a rebuke.

No comments: