OBAMA RELIEVES MCCHRYSTAL OF COMMAND…. This morning’s schedule offered a pretty big hint. President Obama met with Gen. Stanley McChrystal for only 20 minutes in the Oval Office, and the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan then departed — before a scheduled meeting of officials to discuss the ongoing war effort. If McChrystal was going to stay at his post, it seemed the four-star general likely would have stuck around.

He didn’t for a reason. The Commander in Chief relieved McChrystal of his command today.

President Obama today fired embattled Gen. Stanley McChrystal from his position as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan after the general made disparaging comments in a magazine story about top administration officials.

In a striking development, McChrystal will be replaced by Gen. David Petraeus, the current CENTCOM commander. It’s unclear, at this point, if Petraeus will try to take on both tasks at the same time, but the shift from McChrystal to Petraeus is stunning and unexpected. At a minimum, it signals something of a doubling down — by tapping Petraeus, it’s clear Obama isn’t changing course in Afghanistan.

More soon.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.