On Obama's Removal of McChrystal

Three quick points about his speech this afternoon (previously this item yesterday):

1) I thought Obama's presentation of the decision was exactly right in both tone and substance. Firm but not peeved-sounding. Making clear that the nation's strategy and its interests are bigger than any one person. Generous and laudatory to McChrystal the man and the soldier, harsh on his offense. Love the sinner, hate the sin. (Clive Crook to the same effect here.)

2) What a coup to have persuaded David Petraeus to step back into this role.

3) What an honorable decision on Petraeus's part to take on this duty. It is hard to see any conceivable benefit to him in agreeing to take responsibility for what is by all accounts an increasing mess -- except in, well, duty and "service." I am skeptical of the Obama-Petraeus-McChrystal policy in Afghanistan. But all three men, in different ways, have acquitted themselves well in these past 24 hours, and that needs to be noted.

Now, back to the policy itself...

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

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