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Are we not worried about this?

October 5, 2009

This linked article is one I am very curious to know what people think about. I know how I feel.

If you don’t care how I feel, leave now.

Let me get this straight. The man in charge of the 68,000 American men and women putting their lives on the line, as well as the 100,000-strong NATO force in Afghanistan, is in trouble.

He’s in trouble for speaking his mind and telling us, the American people, exactly the truth as he believes it to be.

Basically, he tells us that the half-assed efforts being considered, the ideas of military stalwart Joe Biden to use Special Forces strike teams and unpiloted drones, will lead to an unfavorable result.

We’re being fed two different stories on every front now. The media rants, the government rants when “leaks” lead to even an ounce of unfavorable press. Yet, the second a leak sheds a positive spin on anything governmental, it’s splattered from coast to coast.

An adviser to the administration said: “People aren’t sure whether McChrystal is being naïve or an upstart. To my mind he doesn’t seem ready for this Washington hard-ball and is just speaking his mind too plainly.”

Is that possible? I mean he’s not speaking Joe Biden plain and giving away national defense secret locations, but he’s speaking as the man in charge of all allied ground forces in theater right? Don’t WE want him to speak plainly? Speak the truth where no harm can come to our soldiers? In fact, isn’t he spelling out in pretty plain words what he believes our politicians back home need to do to allow our men and women the best chance to A) survive and B) win?

Then we have this nugget:

He went on to say: “Waiting does not prolong a favorable outcome. This effort will not remain winnable indefinitely, and nor will public support.”

Which, if you read the article, is followed with this:

He will hold at least one more this week, but a decision on how far to follow Gen McChrystal’s recommendation to send 40,000 more US troops will not be made for several weeks.

I completely understand the need to NOT knee-jerk and not overreact, but at the same time lives are being lost with every full rotation of the clock we see. This IS life and death, this IS real. It doesn’t get more real than this. That’s not to even speak to the fact that the war in Afghanistan has been pushed to back page news except when Americans and NATO soldiers are killed. Yes, we have domestic issues that must be resolved, but that should in no way impact the process, speed or timing in which the president of this nation allows the men charged with military action and planning to do their jobs, right?

He added that it was highly unusual for a senior military officer to “pressure the president in public to adopt his strategy.”

This offends me in so many ways. This highly decorated “senior military officer” is the EXACT man I want pressuring ANYONE involved in decision-making, ever. That’s what he does, that’s who he is. If you are stupid or ignorant enough to think you know better — or have the “right plan” — than the man with boots on the ground over there, well, you’re lost.

Finally there is this:

“They want to make sure people know what they asked for if things go wrong,” said Lawrence Korb, a former assistant secretary of defense.

Critics also pointed out that before their Copenhagen encounter Mr. Obama had only met Gen. McChrystal once since his appointment in June.

Here is where I, as a citizen, have some huge issues. Brilliant military men, men tasked with leading this nation’s military, already are recognizing this administration’s desires, and smart people are recognizing this for what it is. They know they don’t or aren’t going to get this government’s backing WITHOUT the public completely aware of the score. Why would they do this? Is political capital so valuable that you’d put lives at risk? Is a political campaign, four years away, that valuable to people in our government? Is it? Is that out of the realm of possibility?

And lastly, how is it possible that the president of the United States has only had time to meet face to face with the commander of allied forces in Afghanistan only once since June? That’s four months. I am not naive enough to think they both don’t have ridiculous schedules, but if the president hadn’t thought the Olympic bid so important he wouldn’t even have been in the same hemisphere to have this meeting, right? If the War on Terror is such a huge priority, why has this not happened sooner? I know that they can “talk” from anyplace on the planet at a moment’s notice — I assume they have before this, but I don’t know. But if they know, and they did, that a face-to-face meeting was as much for perception and support as it was for substance, maybe more so, why didn’t that rate higher on the priority scale?

Here’s the reason this bothers me so much. Spending 10 days in theater was the most eye-opening and rewarding thing I’ve ever done. No, it didn’t make me an expert, not even close, on the war over there. What it did do is explain to me that the soldiers, the privates, the men patrolling hostile territory 24/7, living and dying, are truly bothered by the fact that the media on this side of the ocean was NOT reporting on the war they were fighting. Far from it. The lies and BS we were, are and will be told are often times quite the opposite of the facts in play.

18 Comments leave one →
  1. October 5, 2009 7:10 pm

    You tell ’em, Curt!

    The N0bamessiah is waist-deep in POLITICS while our men and women are DYING!


  2. October 5, 2009 7:15 pm


    Do something about it!! Run for the U.S. Senate!!

  3. October 5, 2009 7:20 pm

    Yes, Curt…our Commander-in-Chief ISN’T! Our Soldiers, Sailors and Marines are FIGHTING FOR THEIR LIVES over there, and 0bama’s waist-deep upside-down and over-his-head in POLITICS?

    That “man” they call ‘0bama’ makes me sick!

  4. Jordan Husband permalink
    October 5, 2009 8:10 pm

    Hell yes.

    Nothing more need be said… but I’m really thankful for officers like General McChrystal. Ultimately the decisions rest upon President Obama’s shoulders – he IS the CinC. But intolerably slow reaction to a situation is not something that can be endured… not when lives are at stake.

    If President Obama gives bad orders, the blame will rest upon his shoulders. That is the responsibility he carries in his elected office. But weighing the gravity of a situation cannot take precedence over timely decision-making. I would expect a lieutenant whose captain fit this description to go up the command chain rather than allow the situation to continue. The American people are the next step up in the command chain from the President… in short, we are the appropriate ones to hold him accountable. General McChrystal may well be acting entirely as he should.

  5. October 5, 2009 8:50 pm

    In reading the article, I got the sense that if General McChrystal hadn’t spoken publicly, he would not have gotten the 25-minute meeting with President Obama. If that’s what it took to get Obama’s attention, so be it.

  6. warden2u permalink
    October 5, 2009 9:05 pm

    seems to me many of us get second opinions on medical advice….why? because we are not positive ourselves…..same with military. get many “expert” opinions then choose…being grateful for every bit of input.

    heck if we just wanted to win physically we could Nuke the region and be done…but suffer social and environmental consequences…..or do we be Mr. Nice guy and prolong the fighting and have acceptable, explainable damages but easier to get public support? Who knows? I might choose different than another person in charge

  7. blue dog permalink
    October 5, 2009 9:23 pm

    WWJB? Who would Jesus bomb?

  8. NHBill permalink
    October 5, 2009 10:18 pm

    It’s called the chain of command. MacArthur used to pop off to the press about what he was doing in Korea and eventually Truman had to fire him. I’m sure McChrystal is a fine man but I doubt he’s in MacArthur’s class. Taking time to review all the options seems prudent to me before sending tens of thousands more in harm’s way. Clearly the 7 years of Republican control of this war has been disastrous! Do we need to talk about Iran now?

  9. tdmtown permalink
    October 5, 2009 11:19 pm

    What we should be worrying about is getting the hell out of there.
    But, no, lets take Curts advice and just give all our military leaders full power to do whatever they want….sure, thats cool.
    It’s called CHECKS AND BALANCES dummy, i know when you were getting your degree in “basket weaving” from your junior, junior, JUNIOR college, they didn’t talk about stuff like that with all the big words and all………

    I know, as usual, you aren’t bright enough to remember that the Russians fought a war in Afghanistan for almost a DECADE without success.
    So do we just keep pumping in troops to die for another decade????

    How bout this for a REAL answer…..sell your Hummer(s) and buy a hybrid.
    If you make the entire mideast region irrelevant because we don’t need oil, THEY WILL GO AWAY. They won’t have money to launch attacks, run training camps, buy RPGs/etc.

    But Nah, lets follow Curt in his Hummer and send all these people to die for years to come. Gas for Curt’s Hummer(where the oil profits go to the mideast to fund terrorism), or the lives of your children… decide.

    I don’t own a Hummer you tool. You part of ACORN’S fact finding committee?

  10. Joe Wagner permalink
    October 5, 2009 11:47 pm

    However, the thing that bothers the administration and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Jones is that General McCrystal didn’t use his chain of command to make these recommendations. This effectively ties their hands before they make a decision and really limits their options. This is a complex and costly battle and the most effective use of our troops’ lives needs to be made. By going public with the 40,000 number, it really limits the options on the table for the administration. If they decide on a lower number or a different course of action, they will be labeled as weak and soft on terror, etc. This is the real problem Secretary Gates and General Jones have with McCrystal’s comments. Any general in the heat of battle wants to finish the job, but these discussions need to be internal. Afghanistan is a complex territory with many different tribal factions and ideologies, its not just ‘Us against them’. Such important tactical decisions need to be made internally, not in a public political battle with each side trying to win a PR campaign. I think McChrystal is a brilliant general, but going public with his recommendations has tied the administration’s hands and left them with fewer options. That is the real problem they have with his comments.

  11. Chain of command permalink
    October 6, 2009 12:39 am

    It is frustrating that these decisions take time, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need to be considered carefully. It also doesn’t mean that the command structure that’s in place should be circumvented.

    Any person who has spent time in the forces can tell you that chain of command is military 101. We DO want him to speak plainly…to his boss. Not necessarily to the UK.

    There’s a reason this structure is in place. Generaling is a political job, and as annoying as that may be, it is necessary. Little things like morale and a coherent message add up to a lot, especially in a long war.

    I’ll buy that and admit that certainly is a part in all this. That “Generaling” has become more and more political is incredibly worrisome to me. It’s been that way to some degree forever, but it appears to be becoming the majority ‘need’ for someone in this position, and that I don’t like.

  12. M Mechak permalink
    October 6, 2009 12:07 pm

    Curt, ytou’re an idiot. How would you like Tec talking to the Globe about the pitching strategy to be used against the halos? What ever happened to your philosophy of keeping things in the clubhouse? This General had no business going public

  13. blue dog permalink
    October 6, 2009 10:58 pm

    For someone so forthright and outspoken, McChrystal sure did swallow his tongue, toe the Bush White House’s whitewash of and political gain spin-meistering, and lie through his teeth about the circumstances of a REAL American heroe’s death…that of Pat Tillman.

  14. anonymoose permalink
    October 7, 2009 8:59 am

    As a supporter of both General McChrystal and President Obama, I’m a bit perplexed at how some fairly innocuous blew up into a dumb tempest in a teapot. I’d also like to point out that Obama specifically picked McChrystal to replace General McKeirnan earlier this year due to McChrystal’s expertise in counterinsurgency warfare, and already increased US forces in Afghanistan by 21,000 earlier this year.

    I’d urge you to read the following, especially in the wake of Monday’s panel with Secretaries Gates and Clinton where both were firm in their support of McChrystal.

    McChrystal’s Comments on War Misunderstood:

    “Commentators who say Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, is pressuring the White House to accept his ideas or else didn’t pay close attention to his remarks last week in London.

    “I’m certainly not going to circumvent any political leadership, because at the end of the day the political leadership are the people who I work for, and I’m proud to do that,” McChrystal told the International Institute for Strategic Studies last Thursday. Once a decision on troop levels is made, he said, he will carry it out.

    Acknowledging that the White House and others are reexamining “our goals and objectives” in the Afghanistan war, McChrystal called the process “a very detailed policy-level debate” that is “incredibly important and incredibly healthy.” He said resources, including troop levels, should be based on goals: “I don’t think that if we align our goals and our resources that we’ll have a significant problem.””

  15. Dress Left permalink
    October 7, 2009 10:52 am

    MacArthur used to pop off to the press about what he was doing in Korea and eventually Truman had to fire him.

    the Russians fought a war in Afghanistan for almost a DECADE without success.

    Please don’t confuse Curt with facts.
    It confuses him and it just isn’t fair.

  16. steve permalink
    October 10, 2009 9:07 am

    They Romans used to do this, and it’s just as cool now as it is then. Taking over the Military (figurativley of course), and having the respect of the men can make you an Emperor in any time. Look at Colin Powell, how close was he to being a presidential nominee after having victory on the battlefield?
    If you can make a powerplay why not do it? If you do it and your successfull, no one remembers how you go there. If you fail your Nixon, but people will still remember you fondly when your gone.

  17. mike in salem permalink
    October 17, 2009 12:56 am

    A former Joint Cheifs General,refferring to McChrystal’s comments on a Sunday Talk show, said if the president denied his recommendations he would resign.

    Obama did add the troops recently

    However, what McChrystal did was wrong, Gates was the first one to be pissed and rightfully so, I think McChrystal was grandstanding and was lucky he wasn’t fired.

    Its so cliche to blame politicians and the press when wars go bad.

    The window of opportunity for a military solution is closing fast as America becomes an occupation force and the taliban become folk heros in the minds of the locals.

    Fine give McChrystal his troops and a timetable if he fails its time to drastically reduce our footprint and take the hit and run aproach proposed by Biden and George Will of all people.

    BTW, Curt, you sound like a blowhard with all your bluster about the troops need this etc etc.

    Afghanistan will become Vietnam if alls we do is allow the military to keep adding more and more foot soldiers without careful though as to the outcome.

  18. November 13, 2009 1:20 pm

    I had the privilege to visit West Point Military Academy. It was unbelievable! Every American ought to take the time to visit, just to see these young people. It restored my outlook of our young people and our country!

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