One minute to midnight

The sacking of General Stanley McChrystal, NATO chief in Afghanistan, for MacArthur style comments about current US political leadership was inevitable.

It was also the beginning of the end because McChrystal commanded immense respect and was the West’s last, best shot at stabilising the country and the region.

Obama’s dithering and his appointment of that hopelessly incompetent pair, Ambassador Eikenberry and Special Envoy Holbrooke, finally caused the general to explode.

In a last desperate throw of the dice, Obama has replaced him with the hero of Iraq – General Petraeus – but he is ill with stress as we saw in his recent collapse in Washington.

Military victory is now wholly unattainable and it is vital David Cameron helps Obama plan a political exit before Pakistan implodes and the whole region goes up in flames.

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