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06.23.10

Will Petraeus Deliver?

As McChrystal exits, all eyes are on the new general in command of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Retired Gen. Ken Allard, Iraq Vet Anthony Woods, Reihan Salam, Lloyd Grove, Tunku Varadarajan, and more Daily Beast contributors weigh in on the president’s pick.

Speaking alongside Russian President Medvedev, Obama said Gen. Petraeus " won't miss a beat" in Afghanistan. Retired Gen. Ken Allard, Iraq Vet Anthony Woods, Reihan Salam, Lloyd Grove, Tunku Varadarajan, and more Daily Beast contributors weigh in on the president’s Afghan shuffle.

Can the 'Team of Rivals' Survive?
By Reihan Salam

Among Gen. McChrystal’s biggest backers, before all hell broke loose, was Hillary Clinton. Reihan Salam on the tensions on Obama’s national security team—and the Secretary of State’s next move.

As Gen. Stanley McChrystal returns to civilian life, the White House seems to have turned a potential political disaster into a triumph. By naming Gen. David Petraeus as McChrystal’s successor, the president has silenced critics on the right and left, if only briefly. This is the kind of deft political maneuver the president’s allies have been dying to see for months. What we don’t know, however, is how the decision played within President Obama’s “team of rivals.”

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Inside Obama's Tense Meeting
By Lloyd Grove

McChrystal's gone—and now Obama wants his team’s infighting and petty drama to stop. Sources close to Wednesday’s meeting tell Lloyd Grove about Obama's "stern" warning.

Cut the crap. That was President Obama’s message Wednesday to his bickering national security and foreign policy team after accepting the resignation of four-star Gen. Stanley McChrystal—who, until that moment, was the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

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It's Not an Army of One
By Anthony Woods

Gen. McChrystal forgot the military’s cardinal rule: no general is too big to fail. Iraq vet Anthony Woods on how the troops will cope with the shakeup in the chain of command.

“Who’s going to take my place if I’m killed?”

As a platoon leader during two tours of duty in Iraq, I ended every mission briefing with that very simple question. I’d always follow it up with “…and if the next man is killed, who will take his place?” We’d continue this drill until we went from me, the lieutenant in charge of the platoon, all the way down to the newest private.

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What the Military Can Learn from McChrystal
By Ken Allard

Keep your mouth shut, honor civilian control, don’t trust the press—Retired Army Col. Ken Allard offers five lessons for service members in the wake of the McChrystal affair.

What new lessons will the professional military take away from President Obama’s relief of Gen. Stanley McChrystal? Make no mistake: Those parameters will provoke lively discussions and debates from Kabul to Washington, from combat outposts to Pentagon offices, and from the military academies to the war colleges. In such places, physically and intellectually remote from mainstream America, the long and sometimes difficult history of American civil-military relations is a living thing.

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Petraeus, a Master of Spin
By Ellen Knickmeyer

When President Obama dumped Gen. Stanley McChrystal, replacing him with Gen. David Petraeus, he picked a media savvy commander. Ellen Knickmeyer recalls meeting Petraeus in Iraq, and offers her assessment.

Switching out Gen. Stanley McChrystal for Gen. David Petraeus as his commander in Afghanistan, President Barack Obama dumped a disciple of the U.S. military’s modern-day bible on counter-insurgency for the begetter of it—the man who literally wrote the book on the military principle that is now gospel in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Obama’s 2012 Power Play
By Tunku Varadarajan

Obama’s decision to replace Gen. McChrystal with Iraq war hero David Petraeus was more than just a way to keep the Afghan battle on course. Tunku Varadarajan on the president’s masterstroke.

Barack Obama, who has in recent days turned haplessness into an art form, played a masterstroke today, making perhaps the canniest, wiliest, even wisest decision of his generally rudderless presidency. I refer, of course, to his appointment of David Petraeus to the Afghan war command, in place of the Rolling-Stoned Stanley McChrystal.

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Can This Man Win the War?
By The Daily Beast

Obama dumped McChrystal, and tapped America’s favorite four-star to return to battlefield duty. Six things you need to know about the new commander of the Afghan war.

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