Here's a clip of Barack Obama, flanked by new Afghanistan commander David Petraeus and Vice President Joe "Bite Me" Biden, announcing the change from General Stanley McChrystal, a meanie. As always, be sure to gauge whether Obama "looks angry" enough.
If you were able to catch any of the punditry following this quick ceremony, we're sorry. We saw it too! And it's not going to get better any time soon: the media will call Barack Obama the Greatest President of All Time for the next six or eight hours, for making what appears to be the best imaginable choice: showing his "strength" by firing some dickish general and replacing him with the most famous general in decades.
Which is great for Barack Obama! But just in case this anyone forgot, the outcome of the crumbling war in Afghanistan doesn't hinge on the cable-news politics of a Wednesday afternoon.
Picking General Petraeus is a very significant doubling-down of the president's current, near-impossible counterinsurgency strategy there. Spencer Ackerman explains what we're in for over the course of the next year:
Petraeus's conception of the July 2011 date for transition to Afghan security control is most certainly not what many progressive supporters of Obama and opponents of the war hope. He told the Senate last week that he supports the date as a way of pressing President Karzai to perform, but understands it as a very gradual "conditions based" withdrawal of U.S. troops. And while he said that it wasn't "envisioned" to send more troops to Afghanistan, he refused to rule it out as an option. Petraeus's accidental arrival in Afghanistan signifies Obama has firmly sided with Petraeus against Vice President Biden, who wants a very substantial drawdown of U.S. forces beginning in 2011.
It wouldn't have been easy turning McChrystal down next July, and it won't be any easier with Petraeus.