James Forsyth

In other news: Top US General in Afghanistan relieved of his command

In other news: Top US General in Afghanistan relieved of his command
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One of the things that makes me angriest about the whole expenses scandal is that our politicians have conspired to reduce their standing at a time when the country is in economic crisis and the global situation is becoming increasingly precarious. Yesterday, Robert Gates, Obama’s Secretary of Defense who is a holdover from the Bush administration, took the dramatic step of dismissing the US commander in Afghanistan General David McKiernan (pictured).

The move is an admission that the war in Afghanistan is, at best, not being won. It is the first time a general in theatre has been relieved of his command since Douglas McArthur was during the Korean War. McKiernan will be replaced by Lieutenant General Stanley McChrystal.

McKiernan has been right about the need for more troops in Afghanistan. But he is, according to the judgement of those I respect on these matters, too conventional a general for this kind of war. McChrystal, who commanded US special ops in Iraq, is said to be keener on the Petraeus-pioneered counter-insurgency tactics that helped make the surge such a success in Iraq.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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