On balance the president made the right decision--and two things about the statement make me more confident of this than I would otherwise have been.
First, David Petraeus is a smart choice as McChrystal's replacement (though I suspect I was not alone in watching the general for signs that he might faint during Obama's statement: imagine if that had happened). "Demoting" McChrystal's old boss into the most important job in the armed forces is one of those things that seemed obvious the second it was announced, but not before. Nobody else would be capable of so seamless a transition. Petraeus, for the moment, helps stifle the suspicion that the whole strategy is coming apart.
Of course, the strategy may in fact be coming apart. But that's another question. For now I'm focusing on the decision about McChrystal.
Second, the statement itself showed Obama at his most impressive. What a contrast with the Oval Office broadcast on the Gulf. He seemed decisive, determined, full of resolve. Above all, he was asserting himself as commander in chief. This is what taking charge looks like. Yesterday, commenting on the McChrystal scandal, I said that Obama would lose however he responded. Perhaps it will look that way in time, if the war keeps going badly and McChrystal's leadership is missed on the ground. Right now, though, the episode has done Obama a favor. For the first time in a while, he looked the part.