Today in Washington, the military career of General Stanley McChrystal came to an embarrassing end as a consequence of the interview he gave to Rolling Stone magazine. The criticisms that General McChrystal leveled at the administration at times sound like an indifferent teenage girl, and primarily strike to the heart of the concept of civilian control of the United States military. But the general’s most egregious admission in the RS piece is that his favorite beer is Bud Light Lime. Now, I’ve had my share of horrid cheap American beer, and I have also consumed my share of Bud Light Limes. But for a man leading a pivotal effort of the most powerful military the world has ever known should not have as his favorite beer the beer of choice for most sorority socials. When attempting to win a war in a place where great empires go to die, I want my commanding general to have a bottle of Wild Turkey in one hand and an M-16 in the other. Now Gen David Petraeus is called upon again to win the day for the United States of America.
The choice of Petraeus is a politically savvy one as well. Petraeus was not on the list of people thought to be in place to replace General Bud-Light-Lime, but it immediately neutralizes those wing-nuts who instinctively knock whatever choice comes out of Obama’s White House. Those that spend the Iraq surge years canonizing him, now are left to tepidly root for him to win the day for Obama. Those also who would have looked to use the confirmation process to air grievances against Obama’s Afghanistan policy will have a harder time with Saint Petraeus. He also pretty much neutralizes any thought of the GOP running the general against him. President Obama has shown the tendency to name his future rivals to top jobs in his administration. From Jon Huntsman, to Hillary Clinton, major rivals are now invested in his success. But for now let’s all honor the service of the now former General Bud-Light-Lime.