This should make conservatives pause even more on Obama picking McChrystal.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced on Monday that he was replacing the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan with Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who’ll now be in charge of expanding the U.S. military mission there.
The new Afghan strategy employs the same model that McChrystal used effectively in Iraq, where small teams of special forces deployed repeatedly on shorter tours and built up expertise that military commanders said proved helpful against the insurgency.
The decision to replace McKiernan comes as the United States and its allies are investigating whether a recent U.S. airstrike caused dozens of Afghan civilian casualties. The incident has angered some Afghans and has been used by the Taliban to incite opposition to the expanding U.S. presence.
Privately, some Pentagon officials have said that McKiernan was too combat-focused in recent months in a conflict that required careful attention to keeping the support of ordinary Afghans.
McKiernan was the one who pointed to the problems with the ISI being complicit with the Taliban.