Wednesday, June 23, 2010

McChrystal fired; Petraeus demoted

Do a news search on McChrystal being replaced by Petraeus (I'm doing this from my iPhone).

Read a few articles then come back.

Here is the problem. Gen. Petraeus is COMCENTCOM - the Strategic Level Commander. The Commander in AFG reports to COMCENTCOM.

This sends all sorts of wrong signals. Are there really no other Generals qualified to be the in-theater Operational Commander?

It smells of political expediency with a whiff of panic, and interrupts work at the Strategic Level as we look for Petraeus' new boss.

Of course Petraeus can do the job - but most COs would make great CHENGs should their present one be fired for cause - that doesn't mean the Commodore should make a CO the CHENG and then find a sister ship's XO to be the new CO.

I don't like this - but if is to be, then everyone get out of the way of Petraeus, pray, and help him push.

76 comments:

C-dore 14 said...

Maybe but let me give another interpretation, Petraeus as a "place holder" in Afghanistan while they take some time to pick the new commander there.  It would make sense, Petraeus has been involved in the development of the strategy there, supports that strategy,has credibility with the civilian and Allied sides of the effort, and (probably most important) will be easily confirmed by the Senate.  It also isn't like CENTCOM hasn't taken on command of day to day operations within the theater in the past either.

Your comparison of this to the CO taking over the CHENG's job is interesting but a more accurate on would be the Commodore taking command of a deployed ship after the CO has been relieved for cause.

Ronbo said...

Sal - agree completely.  It was my first thought considering AFPAK's deputy or even GEN Mattis were available and in tune with COIN.  I think it is a adept political move by the President:  (1) GEN Petraeus is essentially bulletproof and will be the administration's voice to Congress and critics. (2) A year from now, the President can say we gave it our best shot and had our best leader but alas, we couldn't get it done prior to him signing an order to wthdraw.  (3) He puts a potential 2012 VP candidate out of reach.  I do believe he chose the best leader for the job but I am with you in the belief that someone like GEN Mattis could also do a great job without the need to pull a COCOM from his job.  Do we lose focus on Iraq from the COCOM level now?

GEN Ridgway was promoted upon his assignment to relieve GEN MacArthur.  It worked then.  It should work now otherwise what is the point of the promotion process and officer development.

MR T's Haircut said...

I think the decision was political to try to frame Patreaus as the reason we will lose Afghan.  I hope he demands EVERYTHING he needs and when he doesnt get it... he resigns.  and then Runs...  Obama will have 3 commanders in 3 years and nothing to show.. time to stand up like men

DeltaBravo said...

Until they fix the civilian side of the problem, it's still a problem. 

leesea said...

IF Genl Petraeus is just a place holder then I might make some sense to send him down to releve McChrystal, BUT I too smell political expediency on the part of this administration.  Genl Mattis would have had my vote. 

When coupled with the miserable performance of the AFG security forces and ineptness (to put it mildly) of the Karzai regime, this is a another worrisome down check it the abillity to get out of AFG under the right conditions.

Christopher said...

Here is one name that I'll throw out there - GEN James Mattis (I served with him in 29 Plams in the late 90's)...guy has the vision and willingness to get the point accross to the locals.  He's know in the Corps as the "Warrior Poet"...helped get the western provience in Iraq under control while he was there.

Two commanders in a year...what a wonderful track record the CinC has...

The men and women over there can get the job done - Obama needs to listen to the military and let them make it happen.

Jay said...

Concur with C-dore.  (I had to, if I didn't get this in before URR showed up & we both agreed with each other once, in the same day -- or even twice -- I might die of shock...)

I think GEN P is prob a placeholder.  Gen McC's firing had to be quick, hard & an adequate replacement immediately identified.  So, that first part is done.

As to how the COIN strategy goes from here -- time will tell.  Let's hope the previous six years didn't doom it.  I hope not, but am very much on the fence right now.

The long poles in the tent are Pakistan, the border, and Karzai's government.

If we give the COIN 5 more years, or 10 -- and still no joy, what then?

(And a steak dinner bet that GEN Petreus doesn't retire & run for POTUS or VP -- no matter how Iraq or A'stan turn out)

John said...

Youse guys ain't thinking the "Chicago way!"

Remember, <span>Petraeus has been mentioned as a possible presidential candidate.  </span>

What better way to take out an opponent than to give him an impossible job, deny him the resources he needs, surround him with epople working against him [e.g.- Gates, Eikenberry and James] and then making the the scapegoat for failure?

It is my opinin that Obama does not want to win in Afghanistan, and will make his June 2011 pull out date regardless of the consequences to look like a hero to his hard left base full of idiots.

This was clearly a demotion for <span>Petraeus, unless it is quickly clarified as a "placeholder" additional duty assignment pending assignment of another warrior (such as Mattis).  If that is not forthcoming within 48 hours, then we know that </span><span>Petraeus was deliberately screwed, for political reasons.</span>

While the military should and must obey the civilian leadership, their FIrst Amendment rights should not be denied.

And, I greatly look forward to McChrystal speaking out and telling the truth as a retiree.

surfcaster said...

I think the nail has been fairly well hit.

One of O's big dilemas in the fire - no fire was he's damned if he does egg on his face and keep McChrystal with a weakened stature & damned if he fires "his" guy that he used his amazing talents and organizational skills to hire. So now he fires 'his" guy but maintains his street cred (in his sphere) by moving a well regarded name / person into the slot. Not who is the best for the job (or really who is line for the job with the right vision) , but who looks good and saves face on the street and  news shows.

Wolf Olberman: "And with Petreaus, Obama uses a masterful stroke to blah, blah, blah..."

Normal chain of command and procedure be damned.

xformed said...

I'm up for this side show...surely it will proof out one man's claim he didn't need experience, he had judgment...sure he does...BAD judgment...I don't think he amplified what kind he had in his campaign slap back at Hillary, so...he did tell the truth.  sadly, no onle had a follow up question for clarification, did the MSM?

xformed said...

For the sake of those who raised their hands and swore an oath...I sure hope your predictions are wrong, but with each passing day, I am thinking his agenda is more along these lines, than prosecuting (you'd think a lawyer and former Constitutional Law Prof would like that..."say it again:  "PROSECUTING") a war in progress.  And he did say this one was the one we should have been fighting instead of Iraq...

DG said...

Mattis may be too much for Obama. Not political enough.

Anonymous said...

COIN is the military equivalent of global warming -- there is little practical evidence that the theory actually works. True believers take it as an article of religious faith that it will, if only one tries hard enough and long enough. Tapping Petraeus is simply placing the Pope in charge of the church.

Anonymous said...

<span>A year from now, the President can say we gave it our best shot and had our best leader but alas, we couldn't get it done prior to him signing an order to wthdraw.</span>

Purdy much it....

This guy doesn't care much beyond the 2012 election, and the chance to continue his Great Change Experiment.

Redeye80 said...

<span>Interesting to see how the Senate will retire him.</span>
<span></span>
<span>I think that will determine his willingness to speak his mind.</span>

XBradTC said...

From what I understand, Petraeus will command AFG in his role as CENTCOM. And before anyone gets the vapors about it, remember that it wasn't until well into the Iraq war that we decided to appoint subordinate commanders under CENTCOM to fight the two wars. 

Given that Iraq is somewhat under control, and AFG surely isn't, it makes some sense to let the on-scene commander in Iraq run his war while CENTCOM runs AFG directly. And with this arrangement, the Senate doesn't have to confirm anyone (tho I suspect there will be a LTG deputy assigned, if there isn't one already).

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Mattis won't go along with repeal of DADT.  If he would, he'd be the next Commandant. 

C-dore 14 said...

That's the part of the article everyone seems to be ignoring.

C-dore 14 said...

XBrad, Think that's probably the way it will shake out and agree that we managed to fight Desert Storm and invade Iraq with CENTCOM as the on-scene commander.  Even if they nominate a new CENTCOM I'd assume that someone as politically savvy as Petraeus had a direct reporting relationship with CJCS, SecDef, and (possibly) POTUS assured before he agreed to the Afghan job.  That's the thing that truly matters at that level.

C-dore 14 said...

If I was a betting man, I'd say that we'll see Petraeus back in DC in the next year or so to relieve Mullen.

If he does run for office I think the slogan "Petraeus Will Save Us" has a nice ring to it. (Apologies to the writers of "Treme").

Erowmer said...

I kinda like Mattis. Is he not the one supposed to have said to the tribal leaders 'I did not bring my artillery. I come in peace. But I swear to you if you feck with me, I will kill all of you.' ?  That's what Seabees call dialogue.

MR T's Haircut said...

Which is why he will demand the moon to win it and when denied will step infront of the cameras and say "Obama lost it"... and then we all vote for Patreaus.

GIMP said...

McChrystal had to go and Petraeus is the obvious choice to take over right now.  Hopefully the civilian leadership will see that the military hasn't delivered in the war against terrorists, and it's not the military's fault.  The military isn't structured to do what must be done to win this war.  We could occupy Afghanistan with 500,000 troops and it wouldn't win the war against terrorists.  A stable Afghanistan have little to do with the war against terrorists.  Our enemies are terrorists.  They're smart, mobile, deceptive, and multinational.  We need to find them and kill them wherever they are.  No arrests, no national borders, no rules of engagement, no nation building, no winning hearts and minds.  Just killing and killing and killing our enemies.  Afghanistan inhales resources that could be used to man, train, equip, and deploy assassins by the thousands.

Kristen said...

C-dore, this is ever-so-slightly off topic but I think you are the one who recommended U. S. Grant's Memoirs to me last year.  My parents gave me a Kindle for Christmas, and I just found out that I could download the Memoirs for free.  I've read the first two chapters about his childhood and time at West Point, and I'm amazed.  I never would have expected such good nature and kindness from the somber-looking man in the Civil War pictures.  He's a really charming writer.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

He did indeed say it. 

But see my comments re: Mattis, below.

Salty Gator said...

Disgusting.  McChrystal didn't need to go.  If you need to save face, send SECDEF and that panty waist mullen over to give him a dressing down.  That would have sufficed.  Personally, I think this was McChrystal's payback for the Paris tongue lashing he got while Barry was waiting to collect his nobel peace prize for walking while chewing gum.  By the way, great job, Barry...the middle east is about to break out in all out nuclear warfare, North Korea sank a South Korean submarine and Somali pirates continue to rum rampant (need Plan Salamander).
So what does Barry do?  Turn to a General he HATED during the election, a man his croneys called "General BETRAYUS."  What a joke.  Worst.  President.  Ever.

Salty Gator said...

what weakened stature?!  Even the Egyptians say he is weak.  HE HAD NO STATURE!

LT B said...

GEN Patreus has said time and again that he's not running, and doesn't want it, pointing out that to start w/ a huge flip flop (actually running) is no way to start the political career.  I actually believe him.

XBradTC said...

<span>From what I understand, Petraeus will command AFG in his role as CENTCOM. And before anyone gets the vapors about it, remember that it wasn't until well into the Iraq war that we decided to appoint subordinate commanders under CENTCOM to fight the two wars.  </span>

It would appear I was mistaken. Word I'm hearing from commenters is that he will indeed step down from CentCom. Still, how much of a demotion is it? How willing will any follow on CentCom commander be to override any decision of his?

GBS said...

Petreaus' demotion has the potential for an unusual and potentially awkward situation.  Petreaus will report to his replacement.  That replacement will take over CENTCOM with little or no ability to affect policy / strategy in Afghanistan, because his predecessor is now running that show with a gameplan already blessed by the Administration.  I doubt Petreaus would be open to much in the way of rudder order from the new boss.  What do you want to bet that the new CENTCOM is an Admiral or USAF General?

C-dore 14 said...

GBS, As I noted below, anyone as experienced as Petraeus would have ensured that he had the reporting relationship he wanted (most likely with direct access to CJCS and SecDef at the minimum) before he agreed to go along with the plan.  In this situation lines on an organization chart will be irrelevant. Gates, Mullen, and Obama are going to want to know what he thinks.  An Admiral for CENTCOM might not be a bad idea so that he can focus on Iran.

I shudder each time I hear media types, who really don't understand what's going on, talk about Petraeus taking a "demotion" for the good of the country.  Did he lose a star or even a single lineal number?  Power and authority stem from knowledge and credibility as well as from position, ask any O-4 Action Officer whose O-6 Branch Head got sent back to the office to get the "guy who knows" to brief the Flag.  Where Petraeus stands out is in his willingness to accept a perceived "demotion" where most of his O-10 colleagues would not.

Rasta said...

Are you here? IN country?
 He needed to go period, bottom line. He was ineffective, not well liked, and a roadblock to success. Counterinsurgency absolutely requires a good relationship with civilian counterparts...not public beatings and contempt for everyone who is not you.

Also, the President did not hate Petraeus...if you remember the confirmation hearings to CENTCOM...Senator Obama, at the time,  was gushing all over him. 

Justthisguy said...

I recommend that everybody does as I intend to do; that is, drink moar, and resolve to vote the bastards out in November, and in 2012, vote the spherical bastard out. (That's from the astronomer Fritz Zwicky; He said of someone he disliked that he was a spherical bastard, because he was a bastard any way you looked at him.)

Our current Oval One is a Spherical Bastard, IMHO.

WESTPAC Warrior said...

Kind of wreckless isn't it?  hoping GO's will resign to prove POTUS is a dolt.  What about the troops suffering under the revolving door of GO's?

Tom Poole said...

I agree pretty much with all the comments. Obama is trying for a 'hat trick'. Get the people (us) off its back because we see a losing plan. Get rid of the "warfighters", leave the Eikenbergs, Jonses' and other retired incompetents to nitpick Petreaus's decisions, call it a failure, blame the military and de-fan a possi ble run by Petreaus in 2012.
God help our guys on the pointy end.

SubGuy said...

I worked with McChrystal years ago when he was a 1 star.  He just never seemed well focused, but usually was supportive of his workers/troops.  Only thought I have on this issue is that, if you are going to get nasty about the civie side of the house, why in the heck did you do it with Rolling Stone magazine?  Therein is the worst part of the judgement call IMO.

surfcaster said...

At home in the US with the people he cares about - the only ones that may vote for him.

GBS said...

C-dore 14,

Agree with all.  It's not Petreaus that will be in the awkward position, it will be his replacement at CENTCOM.  The new CENTCOM would still have theoretical responsibility for what is going on in Afghanistan, but little or no ability to influence events.  I've seen this before, albeit on a MUCH smaller scale, as the O-4 Action Officer whose reporting relationship to the O-6 Branch Head became almost meaningless.

Jay said...

lol...except that he prob won't run, and if he did, he prob wouldn't win.  What makes you all think he'd run as a Rep (which I think you are assuming a little too quickly...) anyway?

Jay said...

There's the one trick pony!  How you wove that into this topic -- b-r-a-v-o. :)

MR T's Haircut said...

Um Jay, he is a Registered Republican... that is why.. and he would WANT to be elected if he / when he does run..

Sacto! said...

<span>

So much stupid here...

Too much to tackle all at once. But tin foil ideas like Obama is setting up Petreaus so he cant run against him is pure silly. Thanks FoxNews fans for the laugh.

But the take away stupid is this...

"While the military should and must obey the civilian leadership, their FIrst Amendment rights should not be denied. "
  
Were you ever any where near the military? You will be surprised to find out that many of ones "rights" go away. Maybe some of these so called milblog experts can give you a list.

Or maybe its just another secret Chicago plot to force lesbian socialism on you all!!!!

Just kidding. Don't wet your pants.
</span>

UltimaRatioRegis said...

I wove it in because the WH has political (read: social experimentation) concerns well ahead of strategic, operational, or tactical concerns.

We hear a hell of a lot about "diversity", but little about "victory". Looking for someone's "ass to kick" as if he knows what that means.  Why not try kicking the enemy's ass? 

For that he needs warriors, and if there is anything BHO and his far left radical cabal hate, it is a warrior.  This McCrystal thing goes far deeper than his disagreement.  And his comments, and those of his staff.  What we saw there is the other side of pure contempt for the Armed Forces on the part of the Administration.

And Jay, if you would like to have a discussion on the tactical, operational, or strategic realm other than your Bush-bashing Obama-apologist stuff, let me know.

Salty Gator said...

<span>YOU go back and revisit the tapes.  SENATOR Obama was NOT gushing all over him.  In fact, he never asked ONE question to the good General, he just berated him for his entire "time allotted." 
Further, are YOU in country?   
Final fact:  Petraeus became CENTCOM AFTER Obama took over as President.  He was still running Iraq.  </span>

C-dore 14 said...

Kristen, It's supposed to be one of the best military memoirs ever written.  During my '95-'96 deployment I borrowed a copy and got about as far as you have before Bosnia intervened and I never finished it.  Need to pick it up again someday.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Sack-o,

How is life under the bridge?   Don't know about the lesbian part, but socialism?  Yep. At every turn.

BHO is trying to run the Pentagon with a student union rally mentality.  He knows little but thinks he knows it all.  And he is failing miserably.  He makes Jimmy Carter look like Frederick the Great.  And I presume you in your leftist delusional world, think he is doing just grand.

DeltaBravo said...

Surreal moment of the day:  Teh Obama and Pres. Medvedev of Russia discussing how to fix Afghanistan.  Ummm... weren't those the same people who systematically decimated a once-functioning country where trade flourished and women went to college and worked as doctors and teachers?  They helped blast it back to the Stone Age one toy bomb at a time and now they're full of advice on how to "fix Afghan society." 

(My head hurts now.)

DeltaBravo said...

Stories coming out now are that maybe he might have been more ideologically aligned with Rolling Stone than, say, the WSJ.  Maybe he thought they'd be cool and sympathetic to him.  If he really was as liberal politically as they are saying, it would go with a trend I tend to see that the liberals operate as if the rules that apply to others don't apply to themselves.  Which would account for the blabbermouthing statements by himself and his staff that got him into trouble in the first place.

Kristen said...

DB, after my initial astonishment that he would choose a publication for aging dopers to bare his soul, I remembered that he grew up in the 60s and has always been proud of being a rebel.  He may well have been reading Rolling Stone since he was young and have been comfortable with the magazine. 

When I first heard that he had voted for Obama I wondered how it could be possible that he would put abortion advocacy or whatever over having a good CINC, but if Marc Ambinder is right in calling him a social liberal...well, it all starts to make sense.  It makes me think less of his intelligence that after the profound and obvious failures of liberalism he still clings to it, but I certainly honor his lifetime of service. 

DeltaBravo said...

Agreed, Kristen.  I just don't get how anyone couldn't have observed in the last 35 years that the social liberals represent everything that is anathema to the proper functioning of the military.  Was he that isolated in the SpecOps community and so busy surrounding himself with hand-picked teams that told him what he wanted to hear that he became deaf and blind to the larger picture? 

XBradTC said...

The Soviets didn't invade a functional society. Indeed, they invaded because Astan was a failed state, and they were concerned that the instability there would bleed over to the other 'stans on their borders, causing political turmoil in their own land. 

DeltaBravo said...

It was more functional when they arrived than when they left.  They went in to prop up a Marxist government which the Afghans didn't want.  They destroyed the infrastructure and drove millions of Afghanistan's best and brightest out of the country.  Some would say the way they treated the Afghans lessened their credibility in their own 'stans.

Casey Tompkins said...

What's the old quote? "If selected, I will not run, and if elected, I will not serve."

Don't know why so many people get excited about a General running for office. Being a "war hero" makes it easier to get elected, but there's litle historical evidence they perform better than civilian candidates. And I use quotes in the above as many who ran as war heroes weren't very heroic.

MR T's Haircut said...

Full of win

MR T's Haircut said...

I think they invaded to corner us in the middle east and increase their access to a mid east port for oil import/export.  POCKEESTAN might have been next.

MR T's Haircut said...

Meant for DB

MR T's Haircut said...

Casey, I'll take a General over a Community Organizer (er Socialist) anyday.. except for one like Sestak....

MR T's Haircut said...

WW,

I would hope All GO/FO's would resign when the integrity check requires it.... regardless of WHO is the CINC.

C-dore 14 said...

Sacto, You don't have to be a conspiracy theorist or a Fox News devote (I'm neither) to see some possibility, however slight, that domestic political motives could have been involved in Petraeus' selection.  What better way to preoccupy a potential rival than to give him/her a job with a demanding portfolio.  How do you think the previous administration got Colin Powell out of the way?

You can relax, however, I think most of us here believe that Petraeus was selected because he was credible, could be confirmed quickly, and (if things don't work out) they can say they sent their best guy to try and save things.

C-dore 14 said...

DB, You may be on to something.  BTW, I used to love "Rolling Stone" when I was a Mid and a JO.

C-dore 14 said...

Gator, According to CENTCOM's website Petraeus assumed command in October 2008.

DeltaBravo said...

Well, here on 11 Sept 2007 is Sen. "Was that a question, Barry?" Obama's ranting about how we didn't have unlimited resources (oh, really????!) and how the previous administration was setting its military up for a mission that was extraordinarily hard to achieve.  (Now, get the job done in Afg, and get out by July 2011!)  I remember watching that at the time and thinking Petraeus has more self control in his little finger than I have in my whole body, because I would have either lunged at him and shaken him like a rag doll or laughed in his presumptuous little face. 

Kristen said...

DB, I think this is where the CDR's piece from USNI comes in - senior commanders tend to have staffs who are continually telling them how terrific they are.  It distorts reality.

C-dore, you've given me a whole new image of you.  :)

C-dore 14 said...

Kristen, I think it's more subtle than that.  The good USN Flag Officers I worked for tended to have a couple of guys as "Special Assistants" who were well-educated and who were there to challenge the Boss' assumptions.  The problem is that guys on the Personal Staff of a 4 star tend to have been around the FO/GO for repeated tours and they tend to start thinking alike.  Here this tendency may have been exacerbated by the number of folks who came from the Spec Ops community.  The section from the Irish Pub in Paris is revealing.

Yep...I was a hippie at heart when I was a Mid  :) ...then I went to war.

C-dore 14 said...

Kristen, BTW, I still like the Grateful Dead.

Kristen said...

I'm loving these true confessions.  Rolling Stone, the Grateful Dead...now that I know all about you and General McChrystal, I'm getting this image of our military academies all populated with counter-culture types.  :)

You'd know a lot more than I would about what it's like to be a staff officer.  I'm sure that your observations are correct, and I think you and the CDR probably wind up in about the same place. 

MR T's Haircut said...

DR Hook air time just increased me thinks

Salty Gator said...

Thanks, Commodore.  Rasta, I stand corrected.

C-dore 14 said...

MTH, Yeah but like the guys in the song General McChrystal didn't get his "...picture on the cover of the 'Rolling Stone'".  It was Lady Gaga this week.

Casey Tompkins said...

MTH, I'm not just comparing Petraeus to Barry. I'm looking at the historial record, which shows at least as many scoundrels (if not more) as good leaders. General Grant was a great general, but a lousy politician, as was General Scott. Lincoln had no real military experience, nor did FDR, but they turned out pretty well.

General McClellan was a war hero, but a terrible politician, as were George McGovern, John Murtha, and Randy Cunningham. Dick Nixon was "just" a supply officer, but arguably pursued the Vietnam War far more capbably than Navy Lieutenant Command Lyndon B. Johnson. Barry Goldwater was "just" a USAF cargo pilot, but do you claim he wasn't one of the brightest lights of the 20th-century conservative movement?

Ronald Reagan "just" served as member of an Army movie unit, but I doubt many here would consider him a lesser leader than Jimmeh "I'm a certified member of Rickover's Superior Nucular Navy" Carter.

John "Do You Know Who I Am?" Kerry is an award-winning Navy hero with three Purple Hearts, but is he a better political leader than Dick "Six Draft Deferments" Cheney?

I'm addressing the general case here; historically speaking, the mere fact that someone was a "war hero" has little or no bearing on whether they would be a capable political leader.

Perhaps instead of Petraeus, we should be following Jindal, Christie, or Barbour.

Casey Tompkins said...

You know, Sacto, you could have made your main point (a legitimate one) without all the sophomoric trash-talking.

Instead you drove by, dropped a major troll-bomb, and departed. All crap-throwing, no class.

Anyone who has spent more than five minutes on this blog has a good idea who's served, and how much. (clue: most of 'em, and LOTS)

It's sad when people get more jacked up over a cheap-shot drive-by than actual debate. Not to mention one of my good friends really is a lesbian socialst (she's a lovely person, except for her economic views), and she doesn't like Obama much, either. She's a non-official PUMA. :)

Old NFO said...

This is a good one

http://spectator.org/archives/2010/06/24/macarthur-defeats-truman-the-r

Tom Goering said...

If he was just a place holder and current strategic commander, why would they need senate confirmation of Gen. Petraeus for the position?

Outlaw Mike said...

I fear that Petraeus has been handed a poisoned apple by the crook that is running your country, what with eliminating a potential presidential adversary and providing himself with a scapegoat if AF goes to the dogs. Plus,  as you say, it is not the normal chain of command.

Even so, it is heartening to read that from the start, Petraeus tries to make the best of a potential trainwreck. He's shelving the lunacy of "courageous restraint": http://patdollard.com/2010/06/petraeus-makes-first-moves-to-change-afghanistan-rules-of-engagement/

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