RT:The Times of London is reporting from exclusive sources that General David Petraeus, the commander of the US-led international coalition in Afghanistan, is to be replaced.
“General David Petraeus, the most celebrated American soldier of his generation, is to leave his post as commander of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan. The Times can reveal that the Pentagon aims to replace General Petraeus, who was appointed less than eight months ago, by the end of the year. Sources have confirmed that the search for a new commander in Kabul is under way,” reported The Times.
The report said the US is seeking sweeping changes of top US leadership in Afghanistan with the aim of establishing a view the efforts were not dependent on Petraeus’ reputation. The goal is to replace him by the end of the year.
Reuters: Petraeus has been a towering figure in Washington and difficult to challenge politically. He had what was seen in the United States as a good track record in Iraq. And he was backed by Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — making it very hard for those within the U.S. administration who disagreed with his assessment to win President Barack Obama over to their point of view.
Moreover, Obama had already sacked two generals — Generals David McKiernan and Stanley McChrystal — and could hardly dismiss a third. (If I remember rightly — and no doubt someone will correct me if I am wrong — no president since Abraham Lincoln has changed his generals so frequently in wartime.) Promoting Petraeus would be far easier.
His departure, especially with Gates on his way out, could create the space for Obama to recalibrate Afghan strategy, backing away from the military surge and focusing more on a political settlement - if he wants to do so.
Two quick thoughts here. First, Obama seeking a political solution in Afghanistan is no surprise. Getting Afghanistan off the table before election will help his chances and certainly appease his base. Second, if this report is true, the "Patraeus 2012" talk will start hitting high volume.
I am not sure where I stand on a President Patraeus. We know he is a Republican, but is he the hard nose fiscal conservative the country desperately needs? I simply don't know. I would image as a general in the US military, his executive skills are beyond reproach. I do worry about how he handles himself politically. The 2012 battle will not be for amateurs.