Obama Wanted a Petraeus. Buyer Beware. - Greg Jaffe, Washington Post opinion.
It is hard not to look at Stanley McChrystal without seeing David Petraeus. Both generals are fitness freaks, capable of running soldiers half their age into the ground. Within hours of taking command of faltering wars, both were vowing to remake their forces. "We must change the way we think, act and operate," McChrystal wrote in September instructions to his troops in Afghanistan. He was practically channeling Petraeus, circa 2007, who challenged his troops in Iraq to adopt a new "warrior-builder-diplomat" mind-set.
These similarities were a big selling point for the Obama administration, which this summer decided it wanted its own Petraeus - a creative wartime commander and gifted manager who could push the military in Afghanistan into unfamiliar realms, such as economic development and tribal politics. But the past week showed that a Petraeus redux comes with some heavy baggage - for McChrystal as well as the White House. As the administration debated its strategy in Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and national security adviser James Jones publicly upbraided McChrystal, who is seeking a major increase in forces, for stating in a speech in London that a shift to a smaller US presence and a narrower focus on killing al-Qaeda terrorists would be "shortsighted." ...
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