I won't comment overlong on the recent announcement of changes at the top of the Army food chain: Chiarelli to VCS, Petraeus to CENTCOM and Odierno to MNF-I. Enough has been said over at Intel Dump and Abu Muquama. Suffice to say that conventional wisdom seems to believe that this means that the Bushies mean to "stay the course" in Iraq while using GEN Petraeus's famous counterinsurgency ("COIN") mojo to include the 'Stan.
My sole observation would be that, while creating a set of COIN grand tactics, neither GEN Petraeus nor anyone else in theatre has come up with a "strategy" beyond whack-a-muj/strategic hamlets in Iraq. With the creation of the Sunni "Concerned Local Citizens" we (in the person of the theatre commander, GEN Petraeus) effectively conceded national sovereignty over the Sunni parts of Iraq (as we already had, de facto, in the Kurdish north). Now we've gone beyond this to actively joining the Shia Malikist faction in suppressing the Shia Sadr faction for the only reason (as far as I can tell) that the Sadrists are against our eternal squatting on their turf. This isn't any kind of "strategy", let alone a COIN strategy; it's the Eight-Trey Crips against the Hollister Bloods only with tac air.
Afghanistan's perennial problem has been that it isn't a state - it's a collection of warlords with tribal fighting tails nominally "ruled" by the warlord in power in Kabul. I fail to see how tapping the guy whose geopolitical cluelessness (or domestic political sycophancy) made him deaf, dumb and blind to the strengthening of sectarian warlordism in Iraq will help in the place where an already-entrenched warlord problem is part of the crux of the biscuit.
Update 4/25 pm: Actually, I do want to generalize a little with this. Back in Imperial Russia there was a saying for this:
"The Cossacks work for the Czar."
The sort of thing we're seen GEN Petraeus represent, both in his daily bulletins and on both occasions of his testimony before Congress, or we've run up against with the "military pundits" story, is the heart of the reason that so many of the Founders were dead set against a professional military. When fighting becomes your profession it becomes difficult to seperate the tactical imperatives of combat from the geopolitical objectives of the nation. And, inevitably, professional officers become tightly bonded to those politicians espousing the policies that support their particular military visions or needs. So you forget that you're supposed to support and defend the Constitution and get mesmerized by the idea that you're defending your Army, or your policy or your own personal insight. You find yourself saluting Authority and moving out smartly, just like you did when you were in uniform. And Authority, in the 21st Century U.S., comes dressed up as the "Commander in Chief".
The Cossacks work for the Czar, remember?
We like to dress up our profession in the robes of honor and discipline, but the fact is that when fighting is your profession the daily mechanics of your business aren't that much different from any other tradesman. The bloody work of making living flesh into meat can obscure the reasons for doing so, or whether the reasons make sense, or are in the best interests of the nation we serve. Therefore the willingness of these uniformed tradesmen to sell themselves to whoever - in this case the GOP - lets them grind the hamburger becomes an active danger to the political health and vitality of the Republic.
So whenever you hear or see Petraeus or Odierno or any one of the "retired military" talking heads pontificating, remember:
The Cossacks work for the Czar.