General McChrystal's insubordination and inappropriate comments about his superiors and especially the Commander-in-Chief earned him a well deserved sack. Anything less would have been perceived as a weakness on President Obama's part.
Letting McChrystal off the hook would have opened doors to insubordination from other military officers. What is surprising however, is the rumor that Defense Secretary Robert Gates pleaded for a lesser punishment. If this is true, then it is a matter of great concern. How can the Defense Secretary not ask for full and proper punishment. In fact, it is President Obama's open mindedness to invite the General to the Oval office to explain his conduct, otherwise he could have just asked the Defense Secretary to relieve him of his command.
Robert Gates has served many a President, but he may have too much baggage from the past. In these changed times, President Obama needs to appoint a new Defense Secretary to implement his policies, someone whose thinking is completely aligned with the President.
The war in Iraq may be winding down, though the after effects of a total withdrawal are yet to emerge. However, things are not going well in Afghanistan. McChrystal may have befriended the Afghans, but his surge is not working. Taliban are a different breed altogether, each time NATO forces launch a major attack, they simply melt away and regroup to start the fight elsewhere another day. Instead of reducing, their numbers are increasing.
It is time to rethink the Afghan strategy entirely. No foreign force has ever defeated the Afghan people, and this war IS against the Afghan people, be they under the garb of Taliban. It is time to wind down the war and implement an exit strategy based on a political settlement. For that, the President needs to put on his thinking cap and he also needs new leadership at Pentagon.