Afghan National Army soldier Mohammed Shadwar gets a bird's-eye view from the rooftop of a mud-walled compound during a joint clearing operation in Helmand province, Afghanistan. As the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan changes, there's a question of whether U.S. policy will shift from one that supports building up Afghan national security forces to one focused on targeting insurgents.
Credit David Gilkey / NPR
Gen. David Petraeus stepped down as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan on Monday and handed control of the war over to Marine Corps Gen. John Allen. Petraeus is leaving to become head of the CIA at the end of the summer.
A year ago, President Obama asked Petraeus to take charge in Afghanistan and jump start the counterinsurgency operation there. Now, there's a question of whether Monday's change in command also signals a change in strategy.
Not so long ago, when the question was war, the response on Capitol Hill was an automatic blank check.
A largely compliant Congress, and presidents and politicians who were fearful of looking "weak on defense" or "unpatriotic," rubber-stamped massive military spending.
Funny how 10 years, two $1 trillion-and-counting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a budding military engagement in Libya, and a nation mired in unsustainable spending and debt can change what was once a military imperative.