This morning, a red-hot headline ripped through the opinion world: "McChrystal to resign if not given resources for Afghanistan." Well, not exactly--the article that the controversial post was based on said nothing of the sort. Nevertheless, the blogosphere rushed to comment: "McChrystal should be removed," yelped Talk Left. McChrystal's politicizing the war effort, charged Andrew Sullivan. McChrystal's laying his career "on the line," QandO contended. Whew! So props to Robert Dreyfuss who went beyond the hype to explain that McChrystal need not issue any ultimatum and actually presented Obama with several options:
McChrystal...is presenting Obama with three choices: a maximum option, that would involve up to 40,000 more troops, a middle option, and a low option. Under all three...McChrystal believes that he can do the job. On the other hand, if he doesn't get the low option, probably something like an additional 15,000 troops, the general might consider quitting.
Dreyfuss wins the day with his clear-headed analysis and extra spade work (he spoke with the pertinent military official). Dramatic ultimatums are catnip for the press and irresistible to bloggers. That's why there's no replacement for good ol' fashion shoe-leather reporting. Way to go, Bob!