I have avoided commenting on this imbroglio because I have strong views, but I also felt I wanted to see how President Obama handled this situation rather than stir the waters even more.
Frankly, from seeing the headlines and without reading any of the stories it seemed to me that General Stanely McCrystal had to go. He is not the first and he won't be the last, assuming this Republic lasts another 200 years.
The late H Normal Campbell, who I first met in 1960, got into hot water over his remarks about the then President on May 24 1993 as part of an awards program at a US Air Force unit on a Dutch base in the Netherlands. As a Washington Post article at the time noted, "Military law prohibits contemptuous comments by officers about their civil leaders." It was the end of the General's career in the Air Force.
That is not to say his firing wasn't unfortunate. The war in Afghanistan is important business, but General McCrystal is not the ultimate authority, President Obama is. While I think Secretary of Defense Donal Rumsfeld was a little childish in telling the military chain of command, back around 2002, that they should stop using the term Commander-in-Chief♠, in a way he is correct, in that in the US System, the Constitution calls out that the President is the Commander-in-Chief.
And what about General Petraeus? He did the job in Iraq and got promoted to the Command of US Central Command out of it. Now he is taking a positional demotion (but not a rank demotion) and will be working for the new Commander of US Central Command, the person who replaces him. I assume he gives up the nice house on MacDill AFB, (on Staff Drive) and he and his wife will have to move into new quarters, while his successor moves into his house.
That said, I expect he will do as good a job as can be done. Here is the view of Analyst Tom Ricks, published in The Washington Post. It seems like a good assessment.
For those who say this was a move to get him out of the way in 2012, I think that General Petraeus has been plain about not wishing to run.
Here is a comment on Freelance Correspondent Michael Yon's view on the situation. I tend to trust Mr Yon. Also please note that he is supported by us, his readers, and not by some newspaper or magazine or other manifestation of the MSM.
Regards — Cliff
♠ The use of the term, I believe, we picked up from the British during WWII. They used it liberally. We adopted it, along with Supreme Allied Commander.