Wow - David Sanger of the Times is peddling the notion that Obama's sacking of Gen. McChrystal was a big win for the White House:
In Week of Tests, Obama Reasserts His Authority
By DAVID E. SANGER
After two months in which an oil gusher seemed to underscore the limits of his powers, President Obama spent the last week trying to reassert control over a triumvirate of forces that almost always test a new president’s authority: the military, the markets and the lobbyists.
Mr. Obama’s remarkable victories in little more than a week, nearly a year and a half into a presidency that was saddled from the start by two wars and a terrifying financial plunge, may not prove to be lasting.
Remarkable victories!?! People were worried about Afghanistan, but I don't think there was general concern that Obama's team was utterly divided (but obviously there should have been). On with the celebration:
“This is a clear respite from the theme that Obama had lost control,” said David Rothkopf, a former Clinton administration official who wrote the definitive history of the National Security Council, the organization American presidents have used for 60 years to assert authority around the country and the world. “He sent a loud and clear message to the generals about who is in charge. And he has engineered a pivot-point in U.S. economic history, an end, or at least a big change, to the ‘leave it to the markets’ era.”
...One top national security aide noted to a reporter on Wednesday that the decision to oust General McChrystal and replace him with Gen. David A. Petraeus was “considered, decided and executed in less than 36 hours” and sent a message that the president would not tolerate what he called “division” in the ranks of his team after he had set strategy.
The president would not tolerate "division"? What has he been tolerating for months? And what is he going to do about civilians Eikenberry and Holbrooke, who seem to have trouble getting on board with the plan for Afghanistan? (VP Biden is also part of the "division", but he can't be fired.)
Eventually the botox wears off and Mr. Sanger loses his straight face:
The messy encounter with General McChrystal forced Mr. Obama to reassert his faith in a strategy in Afghanistan (a troop surge, a counterinsurgency strategy that exposes American forces to significant danger, and the eventual transfer of recaptured territory to Afghan government hands) that so far has shown little signs of working. The left remains deeply apprehensive about his growing commitment to the war; the right argues that his 18-month deadline to begin withdrawing troops is a sign of absence of commitment.
When Mr. Obama declared, “I welcome debate, but I won’t tolerate division,” it amounted to an unspoken acknowledgment that his national security team remained split, and never really ended the argument over whether the current approach to the war was the right one. Even without General McChrystal, the argument seems bound to flare again in December, when it is up for a major review.
The messy encounter also forced Obama to repudiate his silly July 2011 withdrawal deadline.
A few more successes like this and Obama will be booed off the stage by 2012.