With liberals and anti-war activists growing increasingly restive over recent Obama decisions, Andrew Sullivan takes a hard look at the choice of Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal—a man with links to prisoner abuse, Camp Nama, and the Tillman debacle—to lead the war in Afghanistan. It looks like the latest betrayal of Obama’s principles in the face of Cheneyism, but Obama might be playing the long-game, Sullivan argues. The ruthless McChrystal might have the best shot at beating al-Qaeda, and that, ultimately, is the best way to beat Cheney.
“So long as Cheney and his ship of macho, torturing fools get to posture as the only ruthless prosecutors of the terror war, they will have a card to play to get back into power,” argues Sullivan. If Obama can show that “humane ruthlessness” is possible, that we can be strong and victorious without torturing anyone, “he will not only destroy the Republican rump, he will help heal this country.”