General David Petraeus arrived in Afghanistan early this morning, formally taking command of the war that every in the administration seems to expect him to somehow, miraculously, turn from an unqualified disaster into a success. A ceremony will be held for him on Sunday.
Gen. Petraeus has sought to downplay expectations, and with good reason. He is inheriting a war that is continuing to escalate and is expected to keep the failing McChrystal Plan in place. It is only his mythical aura of success that is giving anyone reason to believe he might be able to turn the war around.
Indeed, coming into the war just a day after the end of the worst month on record, Gen. Petraeus was greeted almost immediately with a bold attack in Kunduz which killed at least five people working for a USAID contractor.
With over 100 NATO troops killed last month and summer only just beginning, Petraeus has acknowledged that the situation is likely to get even worse in the months ahead. Considering how bad the war already is, this could add up to an extremely messy summer for the administration, and a lot of explaining for Gen. Petraeus the next time he returns to DC to sell the war to Congress.
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