With Petraeus now running the Afghan "surge", we are back to square one: an impossible and contradictory war that requires permanent occupation to work and twelve months to succeed. Ambers, reporting the view from the White House, says it was a question of three strikes and he was out. It wasn't the insubordination; it was the indiscipline:
If there is any pattern here, it is not one of insubordination but of an acute deafness to institutional politics, a condition exacerbated by McChrystal's insular inner circle, which was used to seeing their boss being treated with complete deference. HE was the guy who went from Colonel to a four star general in six years. He was the guy who revolutionized terrorist hunting. HE was the guy who was not tainted by two taintable offenses: ignoring abuse at Camp Nama and for knowingly participating in the cover-up of Pat Tillman's death. The Pope was invincible. The Pope felt invincible. As the Secret Service agent who's sitting next to me on the Acela would tell you, a lack of discipline is the vice that pays tribute to invincibility.
In some ways, though, Petraeus is the natural choice if you are a counter-insurgency true-believer. I'm not.