The Corner

Here’s to McChange

Both Michael Goldfarb and Max Boot have posts making the point that Obama is already showing a happy contrast to President Bush. Here’s how Goldfarb’s correspondent puts it:

As important as McKiernan’s forced departure may prove for the fortunes of the Afghan war, it would also seem to mark a sharp break with the practice of the previous administration — and a change for the better. Under President Bush, generals were rotated in and out of key commands in Iraq and Afghanistan for the most part on a set of inflexible timelines, dictated by Pentagon personnel policy, not their performance on the job. Lousy commanders weren’t fired — even long after their incompetence became plainly obvious to the President and everyone else in creation. Successes likewise weren’t kept on beyond their appointed terms. As numerous military analysts pointed out, this was no way to run a war — and they were absolutely right.

McKiernan’s dismissal represents a striking departure from this pattern — a four-star commander who was shown the door nearly a year ahead of schedule, because, frankly, he just wasn’t that good. The Obama administration deserves praise for this.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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