Last week, the White House announced that National Security Advisor James Jones would be replaced later this month by the current deputy advisor, Tom Donilon.
Jones, a retired Marine General, had been wounded in a number of bureaucratic encounters over 20 months. Notable amongst these was his attempt to limit the military's demands for more and more US troops in Afghanistan. It was Jones, for example, who carried the message to Kabul in summer 2009 that the President would ask, "WTF?", if his commanders asked for another escalation, only months after getting additional forces. Yet by December, that same President was agreeing to another injection of 30,000 soldiers.
Well before that incident, the military had set out its tactics of briefing the press against White House attempts to check a bolstered intervention. So it was intriguing to see what happened 72 hours after Donilon, who is also seen by many as a sceptic of the ramped-up military effort, was named as Jones' successor.