Obama votes ‘present’ – and that’s a good thing
McChrystal is out, and Petraeus is in as commander of our forces in Afghanistan.
However, the bizarre part is that in making this choice Obama is also (reportedly, waiting for a source to link to) keeping Petraeus in charge of CENTCOM — thereby making him his own boss, and oh, yeah, assigning two 24/7/365 jobs to a single man.
On the one hand: this was a cowardly choice by Obama. Picking the closet thing we have to a saint in uniform per the American public’s perception is a safe choice for him — if it all goes to hell, how could anyone say he didn’t put the A team in? Nevermind that demanding a single man do CENTCOM and AFG is insane. Heck, why not just have him be Chair of the Joint Chiefs and hell, SecDef too? Way too much redundancy up there, Petraeus can do it all! It’s not like he’s been showing any signs of fatigue or need for rest.
But on the other hand: I’m starting to think this is a good thing. Because the real net effect will be that, with his CENTCOM responsibilities still intact, Petraeus is going to have to pick someone he trusts to actually be on point for Afghanistan. He’s got to have a second-in-command with undiluted focus on that single war if he himself is still going to be keeping one eye on the entire command.
So Obama has done what he does best: vote “present”, and punt. But in this case, he’s punted to someone who actually knows what they are doing. We may not agree with Petraeus’s exact personnel choices (of which I assume there will be many, not just the second-in-command I note), but I feel certain he’ll make them for better reasons and with better rationale than Obama.
The irony, of course, is that Obama just gave a speech noting how important civilian authority over the military is. But what he’s actually DOING is abdicating that very civilian authority and delegating it to a military man, Petraeus.
Bad policy/governance, generally. But in THIS case… thank God !!!