Highs: In December 2009, President Obama announced an ambitious plan to right the floundering military effort in Afghanistan with 30,000 more troops to carry out the counterinsurgency campaign. General Stanley McChrystal was not only chief proponent and architect of the Afghan "surge," but as commander of U.S. and NATO forces in the country, the man tasked with carrying it out. Over the first half of 2010, McChrystal oversaw the influx of American soldiers during the harsh winter and directed new manpower to redoubled offensives in Helmand, Kandahar and beyond.
Lows: McChrystal's widely praised leadership came to an abrupt end in June when a Rolling Stone article recounted the general and his staff brazenly mocking key White House figures, including Vice President Joe "Bite Me" Biden and National Security Adviser James Jones as a "clown stuck in 1985." McChrystal was stripped of his command and retired shortly thereafter, ending his more than threedecade career in the Army. He landed on his feet though, teaching a fall course at Yale, which included lectures on "Navigating Politics" and "Communicating the Story the Media Environment," two things Stanley McChrystal learned a lot about this year.