During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln went through Generals the way that Liz Taylor goes through husbands. His most controversial firing was of that of George McClellan. McClellan then went on to represent the Democrats in 1864 as their Democratic candidate for president.
I'd love to find some old newspapers from that time but I suspect that the media criticized Lincoln for his often short fuse with Generals. Whether or not Lincoln gave some of his Generals enough time to allow their strategy to work is a matter of debate. Given that Lincoln won the war eventually we will have to cede judgment on that issue to him. What Lincoln did get right was this. If he didn't like what a General was telling him or how he performed, he got rid of him for a new one.
President Obama is at a crossroads in his presidency. Afghanistan is deteriorating and he has a choice to make. His top General has presented him with a strategy and he wants more troops. President Obama wants to review the strategy before giving him the go ahead. If he isn't 100% behind his General, then President Obama must remove him. It's that simple. That's what Lincoln did and he did it a lot.
Instead, President Obama continues to show confidence in his General but not the specific strategy his General is asking to employ. That's not how these things work. Presidents either cede to the advice of the General or they get rid of them. It's that simple. Instead, President Obama continues to be hesitant to give his General what he wants. That's the worst of all worlds. General McChrystal is weakened because confidence in him isn't immediately shown. Yet, he's expected to continue to lead troops in the field.
President Obama fired the General in Afghanistan, General Mckiernan, in March and replaced him with General McChrystal. At the time, he also announced that we were implmenting a new strategy. The specific strategy was then not clear. It appears that General McChrystal has now formulated that strategy and he's asking for more troops as a part of it. If the President has lost confidence in McChrystal, he must remove him, period. If he hasn't, he must approve the troops immediately. If he has to review the General's recommendations himself, it doesn't sound as though he has confidence in him. He can't, however, not approve the General's request and still keep him in place. The president has a very simple choice. Either he goes with the recommendations of the General on the ground, or he finds a General with recommedations he likes. It's that simple. There is no third option and it's long past time he made that choice.
Please check out my new books, "Prosecutors Gone Wild: The Inside Story of the Trial of Chuck Panici, John Gliottoni, and Louise Marshall" and also, "The Definitive Dossier of PTSD in Whistleblowers"