Afghanistan is President Obama's war now, said Fred Kaplan in Slate. Obama's defense secretary, Robert Gates, is replacing Afghanistan commander Gen. David McKiernan, a specialist in old-school warfare, with Gen. Stanley McChrystal, a leader of an Army "new guard" that focuses on "asymmetric conflicts" and counterinsurgency. This change is "a very big deal."
The McChrystal decision is good if it means Obama is ready to take back control that the Bush administration handed to NATO, said Tom Donnelly in The Weekly Standard. It's bad if it's the start of a "dumbing-down of U.S. strategy in Afghanistan to a narrower counterterrorism approach." The administration should feel a new sense of "urgency in improving the situation in Afghanistan," but we'll make wrong moves if the urgency becomes impatience.
It's certainly possible that Obama picked McChrystal in haste, said Andrew Sullivan in The Atlantic. Gen. Stanley McChrystal has a history—the man who's now "running Obama's war" was once "responsible for overseeing one of the worst torture and abuse centers in Iraq." The Pentagon certainly knew that—"I wonder if the president did."