Oh boy: “Rolling Stone” to expose McChrystal’s feuding with administration officials; Update: WH, Gates phone McChrystal; Update: McChrystal apologizes

posted at 9:17 pm on June 21, 2010 by Allahpundit

Via Cuffy Meigs at Perfunction, the RS piece isn’t out yet but this story makes it sound … oh boy. Reserve judgment until the article is published later this week, but if it’s half as bad as the AP description makes it sound — the American leadership at war with itself while the drive towards Kandahar has stalled — there’s going to be major fallout.

The way the AP account is written, it sounds like McChrystal badmouthed Karl Eikenberry on the record with the magazine. Gulp.

An article out this week in “Rolling Stone” magazine depicts Gen. Stanley McChrystal as a lone wolf on the outs with many important figures in the Obama administration and unable to convince even some of his own soldiers that his strategy can win the war…

McChrystal himself is described by an aide as “disappointed” in his first Oval Office meeting with an unprepared President Barack Obama. The article says that although McChrystal voted for Obama, the two failed to connect from the start. Obama called McChrystal on the carpet last fall for speaking too bluntly about his desire for more troops…

If Eikenberry had the same doubts [about McChrystal's strategy], McChrystal said he never expressed them until a leaked internal document threw a wild card into the debate over whether to add more troops last November. In the document, Eikenberry said Afghan President Hamid Karzai was not a reliable partner for the counterinsurgency strategy McChrystal was hired to execute.

McChrystal said he felt “betrayed” and accused the ambassador of giving himself cover.

“Here’s one that covers his flank for the history books,” McChrystal told the magazine. “Now, if we fail, they can say ‘I told you so.”‘

Compare and contrast the McChrystal/Eikenberry relationship with that of Petraeus and Ryan Crocker, whom Foreign Policy noted last year never allowed their disagreements to go public. This isn’t the first time McChrystal’s spoken publicly about matters the White House would prefer remained in-house, either. Remember last year when The One freaked out over his speech in London calling for more troops?

There’ll be more on this later in the week, needless to say, but it’s worth putting it on your radar screen now. Be sure to read the whole AP piece too, as there’s more to it than just the bit I quoted — including troops in the field, again on record, questioning McChrystal’s rules of engagement. Exit question: Between this and Karzai reportedly giving up on NATO, isn’t anyone on our side in sync?

Update: Oh boy, again.

Private security contractors protecting the convoys that supply U.S. military bases in Afghanistan are paying millions of dollars a week in “passage bribes” to the Taliban and other insurgent groups to travel along Afghan roads, a congressional investigation released Monday has found.

The payments, which are reimbursed by the U.S. government, help fund the very enemy the U.S. is attempting to defeat and renew questions about the U.S. dependence on private contractors, who outnumber American troops in Afghanistan , 130,000 to 93,000.

The report’s author called the findings of the six-month investigation “sobering and shocking.”

Update: Like I said — major fallout. Marc Ambinder relays the administration’s reaction.

What in the heck was Gen. Stanley McChrystal thinking? I mean, I know what he was thinking: he was tired of being the victim of what he believes is a concerted effort on behalf of Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry and others to undermine everything he was given 18 months to do. He was tired of being perceived in the press as a neoconservative killer, Dick Cheney’s hired assassin, or disloyal to President Obama and his staff. He was angry at being blamed for leaking the draft of his report to the President to Bob Woodward. (He did NOT leak the document). He was miffed that a large number of mid-ranking soldiers and battalion commanders and enlisted guys didn’t support his strategy…

I don’t think McChrystal intended to do this. Nevertheless, he did. And as for whether there was some miscommunication about attribution, or whether McChrystal thought no one would really notice, or whether he thought a tick-tock like this would help his cause … those questions are unanswerable right now…

Within hours after today’s Rolling Stone story broke, McChrystal was called by the White House, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They were not happy.

Read his whole post for essential background on how poisonous the McChrystal/Eikenberry relationship has been. This has been going on since 2005, apparently. Why on earth would Obama put them in charge of Afghanistan together if they don’t get along?

Update: McChrystal retreats. Is it fast enough to save him?

He says in a statement: “I extend my sincerest apology for this profile. It was a mistake reflecting poor judgment and should never have happened. Throughout my career, I have lived by the principles of personal honor and professional integrity. What is reflected in this article falls far short of that standard. I have enormous respect and admiration for President Obama and his national security team, and for the civilian leaders and troops fighting this war and I remain committed to ensuring its successful outcome.”


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McChrystal voted for Obama? Then he obviously does not have the intelligence to be a general.

angryed on June 21, 2010 at 10:05 PM

You overestimate the intelligence of the average general officer. Some are brilliant. Some are not. They’re promoted for being good tactical fighters; some who become generals are not good at thinking strategically, seeing through politicians, etc.

jazz_piano on June 21, 2010 at 10:14 PM

ted c on June 21, 2010 at 10:10 PM

He didn’t resign…he went to the Rolling Stone and cried.

Look, he is gone, but his endorsement of Obama’s Afghanistan gave Obama the cover he needed to perpetuate the fraud of protecting the US…at the expense of a lot of outstanding American lives.

If he knew from day one that Obama was the clueless, self-centered dolt we knew he was all along…why are we here today?

AUINSC on June 21, 2010 at 10:15 PM

We’re going to lose it on the roads. The IEDs that we are no longer even marginally effective at combating (because of the ROE) are kicking our asses. Stykers are being blown completely in half. MRAPS are being blown completely off the roads. In a lot of instances, we’re not finding enough to send home to the families.

It freaking killed us because towards the end, we flew above it, we saw them emplacing, we called it in and requested to engage and we were never allowed. The Apache and Kiowas were never allowed. Towards the end, we didn’t fight.

hawkdriver on June 21, 2010 at 10:15 PM

Towards the end, we didn’t fight.

hawkdriver on June 21, 2010 at 10:15 PM

frickin breaks my heart—sorry you had to endure that.

a flaccid administration produces flaccid policies that lead to flaccid ROE’s….

at least he’s perfectly consistent….

ted c on June 21, 2010 at 10:18 PM

nite folks. till tomorrow OOTD when Ed’s hat size is going to grow a few notches.

ted c on June 21, 2010 at 10:19 PM

ted c on June 21, 2010 at 10:13 PM

We just fly from one firefight to the next. Same difference. And aluminum makes for poor armor. Now, we can run away if it gets bad pretty quick…

But my guys never did. :)

hawkdriver on June 21, 2010 at 10:19 PM

Towards the end, we didn’t fight.

Let’s pray that’s not our national epitaph.

oldleprechaun on June 21, 2010 at 10:21 PM

The payments, which are reimbursed by the U.S. government, help fund the very enemy the U.S. is attempting to defeat…

Seriously, people are just now noticing this? The United States has, in one way or another, been funding insurgencies in Afghanistan and Iraq for years now. All of those infrastructure projects to “rebuild” these countries: who do you think we hired? Locals, right? Do you think, maybe, someone from the other side was extorting money from these workers? And who do you think provided the security for these projects? Do you think, possibly, some of them were insurgents? What do you think happened to the workers or security personnel who were run off by the insurgents, only to be replaced by workers allowed by the insurgent groups? After the workers we hired are chased off, hence delaying the project a while, who do you think gets blamed for the slow progress? The insurgents? Nope. They’re the ones who “hire” the new guard force and workers to take care of things, hence providing them the very legitimacy we were after in the first place. So, in the end, the following is the result: the U.S. government ends up paying for the project; the workers we hired are either extorted by the insurgents or chased away to make room for insurgent-supported workers; then, because the project has been delayed and the local, American-supporting hires have been chased off, the population loses faith in the host-nation governments and the U.S. government; the population’s support for the insurgents, who were viewed as responsible for the successful completion of the U.S.-funded, yet failed project, only grows.
In effect, we’re paying the cost of wars who’s enemies we are financially supporting and providing legitimacy at our expense. Brilliant, right?

Send_Me on June 21, 2010 at 10:24 PM

Well, Pfc. Jared Pautsch certainly won’t see E-4.

BKeyser on June 21, 2010 at 10:24 PM

Kudos to ted c and hawkdriver for having a civilized, rational, argument that didn’t degenerate into name-calling and ad hominem attacks. They had a real difference of opinion, they discussed it, they made their points, and at the end, they agreed to disagree on this, shake hands, and drive on. So rare to see this in most places.

Lurking Vet on June 21, 2010 at 10:26 PM

One last thing before I sign off:

What hawkdriver said about the IEDs upthread – my son told me that in his previous deployment, the time he felt the most fear was after he’d been at a very remote COP and hadn’t ridden in a vehicle for months, then finding himself in one, and, for a few seconds, not being able to figure out how the door opened.

He was afraid he’d be trapped if they drove over an IED.

Damn near broke my heart. I think of him every time I open my car door now.

Lurking Vet on June 21, 2010 at 10:32 PM

Sounds like retirement is near . Thanks for your service General.

borntoraisehogs on June 21, 2010 at 10:40 PM

TheBigOldDog on June 21, 2010 at 10:12 PM

Retiredeagle TBOBD is really quite correct here. If you want to read some sad tales of fighting a war poorly, try “The Bear Went Over The Mountain” or “Zinky Boys”. Whats sad is that we read their books and still ended up drifting into the same mistakes.

Lurking Vet on June 21, 2010 at 10:26 PM

hawkdriver on June 21, 2010 at 10:41 PM

The Wrong Men, the Wrong Time, the Wrong War!

Does anyone actually have a clue what the mission is much less any definition of victory/completion/endgame?

Tav on June 21, 2010 at 10:44 PM

Lurking Vet on June 21, 2010 at 10:26 PM

hawkdriver on June 21, 2010 at 10:41 PM

Mean to comment that I respect ted c. I respect you. Opinions almost never make me want to flame on a thread. The site really is overrun as of late though with a few who are so insulting and disrespectful that some thread are hard to even read let alone engage in. Same thread stealing themes and the same people doing them. We should take the great advice some of our contemporaries offer and try harder to just ignore the folks we know do this.

hawkdriver on June 21, 2010 at 10:45 PM

It freaking killed us because towards the end, we flew above it, we saw them emplacing, we called it in and requested to engage and we were never allowed. The Apache and Kiowas were never allowed. Towards the end, we didn’t fight.

hawkdriver on June 21, 2010 at 10:15 PM

…..this is just f#$king unbelievable…..

………and we are stuck with a President who is more concerned about his golfing handicap then he is about the lives of our men and women in uniform.

Baxter Greene on June 21, 2010 at 10:45 PM

Coming soon to an Obama speech about Afghanistan …

“… let me clear about this war that I inherited ….”

PackerBronco on June 21, 2010 at 10:45 PM

Welcome to Obama and the hard left’s wet dream boys…Veitnam, part 2. They’ve dreamed of this their entire lives and now they made it come true.

McChrystal just played his role.

AUINSC on June 21, 2010 at 10:46 PM

Damn near broke my heart. I think of him every time I open my car door now.

Lurking Vet on June 21, 2010 at 10:32 PM

The most nervous I was the entire deployment was being off Kandahar in an ordinary SUA. Some of our kids had to do it every damn day of their deployment. I don’t know how they do it, but they suck it up and do it.

hawkdriver on June 21, 2010 at 10:49 PM

DefenseNews: In a blunt statement, [U.S. Special Operations Command chief Adm. Eric] Olson called “COIN doctrine an oxymoron.”

“It is an imperfect template from which we must deviate,” Olson said to a silent room.

His comments came 24 hours after Garry Reid, deputy assistant secretary of defense for special operations and combat terrorism, told the conference that Defense Secretary Robert Gates wants the entire military to adopt counterinsurgency standards “in line” with those applied in Afghanistan by Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of U.S. forces there.

Gates on May 24 signed a directive ordering the services and military components to “take McChrystal’s COIN training and proficiency standards … and adapt those to the whole force,” Reid said.

In other words, U.S. Special Operations Command Chief Adm. Eric Olson, politely called Obama, Gates, McChrystal and Petraeus, morons.

Tav on June 21, 2010 at 10:49 PM

We’re going to lose it on the roads. The IEDs that we are no longer even marginally effective at combating (because of the ROE) are kicking our asses. Stykers are being blown completely in half. MRAPS are being blown completely off the roads. In a lot of instances, we’re not finding enough to send home to the families.

It freaking killed us because towards the end, we flew above it, we saw them emplacing, we called it in and requested to engage and we were never allowed. The Apache and Kiowas were never allowed. Towards the end, we didn’t fight.

hawkdriver on June 21, 2010 at 10:15 PM

SAD

Thank you again for serving, and remember Army Cpl. Scott Dimond, who died on one of those roads in 2008.

Del Dolemonte on June 21, 2010 at 10:52 PM

Why on earth would Obama put them in charge of Afghanistan together if they don’t get along?

I dunno…why would Obama say that the gulf oil spill was a disaster bigger than 9/11..then spend his time watching baseball games and playing golf? Oh, that goes on ad-infinitum…Obamacare, Porkulus, etc, etc, etc.

Why does he say the things he says…almost all of which are demonstrably false.

AUINSC on June 21, 2010 at 10:55 PM

Why on earth would Obama put them in charge of Afghanistan together if they don’t get along?

I haven’t even read the rest of the responses, and I know this has to be the most-quoted and most-snarked-upon sentence from the article, but I’m compelled:

BECAUSE HE’S A F*ING IDIOT???????

Purple Fury on June 21, 2010 at 10:58 PM

Del Dolemonte on June 21, 2010 at 10:52 PM

I’m sorry. There have been so many.

We have one more kid that lives just down the road from us who came over when my unit was about three months into it. He’s a machine gunner with the 4TH Brigade, 82ND at FOB Wilson. I’ll feel better when he gets home. He was my daughters first serious sweetie.

hawkdriver on June 21, 2010 at 10:58 PM

There still seems to be a complete disconnect in Congress from the realities on the ground in Afghanistan.

After scouring the internet, I could not find one example of a question leveled at the General questioning whether or not the overall strategy was indeed successful and by what measure it was determined to be? And this after one of the deadliest weeks for ISAF in the 8 year war. It causes me to question just what kind of catastrophe would have to strike in order to have that question raised?

Let’s remember that within the COIN paradigm, the ‘friendly’ elements are the ‘innocent’ population and their government. The fact that we are expending resources to investigate the corruption of the government in Kabul that are supposed to be used to ID the enemy, their purpose and their capability suggests that ‘paradigm’ ain’t working out so well. Add to that, the stories that are coming out that tell us what we have always known; that the civilians there are more aligned with the Taliban than they are with us and the next great question is; why isn’t Congress questioning the strategy itself?

Could it be that garnering a working and historically correct view of the Islamic world is a ‘process’ within the halls of Congress? If it is; how long will that take and can we afford to wait on them to be finally enlightened about what any High School student in the nineteenth century knew?

What I do know is that there are limits. The entire legal system of this country aside, there is a limit to what the American public – the thinking segment of the American public, is willing to tolerate. Even the most ‘tolerant’ person in this country will eventually have a hard time justifying the continual shedding of American blood for a people who haven’t shown any interest in improving their lot in life, in their entire history. A people who still cling to the demonically spawned ideology that demands the murder of all who do not submit to Allah. An ideology that shows no deference or tolerance for any other religion and actively seeks to kill the proponents of those religions.

Tav on June 21, 2010 at 10:59 PM

Why on earth would Obama put them in charge of Afghanistan together if they don’t get along?

O’s vast and deep executive experience drove this masterful decision.

JustTruth101 on June 21, 2010 at 11:00 PM

Imam McCrystal strikes again:

He said: “The government of Afghanistan has got to get control of that to a degree where the people believe it’s at least an acceptable political environment”.

What is needed is “probably a hybrid of using natural leaders in the community and their natural traditional structure like shuras and jirgas”.
He added: “In some cases it’s using sharia law down at the local level to get timely and fair justice.

Alcohol is now banned at the headquarters and he has just ordered that Burger King and Pizza Hut fast food outlets on Americans bases be closed.

Tav on June 21, 2010 at 11:02 PM

Why on earth would Obama put them in charge of Afghanistan together if they don’t get along?

Because Obama’s the anti-Bush or something?

Patrick Ishmael on June 21, 2010 at 11:03 PM

The rules murdering our troops:

When enemy action kills our troops, it’s unfortunate. When our own moral fecklessness murders those in uniform, it’s unforgivable.

In Afghanistan, our leaders are complicit in the death of each soldier, Marine or Navy corpsman who falls because politically correct rules of engagement shield our enemies.

Mission-focused, but morally oblivious, Gen. Stan McChrystal conformed to the Obama Way of War by imposing rules of engagement that could have been concocted by Code Pink:

* Unless our troops in combat are absolutely certain that no civilians are present, they’re denied artillery or air support.

* If any civilians appear where we meet the Taliban, our troops are to “break contact” — to retreat.

Tav on June 21, 2010 at 11:04 PM

Alcohol is now banned at the headquarters and he has just ordered that Burger King and Pizza Hut fast food outlets on Americans bases be closed.

Tav on June 21, 2010 at 11:02 PM

Like I said…from top to bottom…strategy, tactics, ROE, social life of troops…100% Obama and Democrat program. He bought it hook line and sinker.

And we’ve lost.

AUINSC on June 21, 2010 at 11:05 PM

I’m no fan of the President’s policies on the whole (to put it mildly), but this approach to counterinsurgency is the military’s, not Obama’s. He’s actually expanded drone attacks and special ops activities.

jazz_piano on June 21, 2010 at 10:11 PM

That does not win a war. That gets you headlines but not the massive casualties that makes an enemy surrender. McChrystal has the same yoke that the commanders in Vietnam had only worse. As much as I despised LBJ, Barack Obama is worse and the people he surrounds himself with are rotten to the core.

Vince on June 21, 2010 at 11:06 PM

Within hours after today’s Rolling Stone story broke, McChrystal was called by the White House, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They were not happy.

Because we all know that it’s the military’s primary mission to keep the idiots in the White House and the Puzzle Palace (Pentagon) “happy.”

rmgraha on June 21, 2010 at 11:07 PM

What we have here is the General involved in a great social experiment, with the plains of Afghanistan as his personal laboratory and our Marines and Soldiers as the rats. History is not on your side General and you are losing time and the support of the only segment of the population of this country who would normally support your efforts.

Admiral Mullen said in a letter to Senators Collins and Snowe (meant for me) that the ROE had not in fact changed with the ISAF Commander back in June 2009; The Rules of Engagement had only been ‘clarified’. Ganjgal is but one example of how that ‘clarification’ is being brought into question. The current investigation, if not buried by the Army, ISAF, SecDef or higher, is going to yield what we already know; that the rules are intentionally vague to offer maximum cover for those who have implemented them while exposing the decision makers on the ground and all at the expense of those prosecuting the war, O-5 and below. It is already painfully obvious to all, especially those on the ground, that before June we were blowing crap up and providing Air and Arty when needed and now; American lives are inferior to Afghan by our own rules and the UN has prosecutors in Kabul, gleaning after-action-reports looking for evidence they can use to prosecute Marines
and Soldiers.

What General McChrystal, Sec Def Gates and President Obama need to remember is that they are sworn by oath to defend this country and our people – not protect the civilian population of another country or rebuild their country with our tax dollars and the blood of our children.

Tav on June 21, 2010 at 11:08 PM

There are many reasons to fire Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, and all of them are contained within his 66-page “assessment” of the war in Afghanistan.

The document is fascinating, just as the work of zealots is always fascinating. As a high priest of the politically correct orthodoxy, McChrystal has laid out a strategy to combat Taliban jihad in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan without once mentioning Islam, and forget about jihad (fireable offense No. 1).

The resulting black hole leads the commander to conclude, for example, that the reason the 99 percent-plus Muslim people of Afghanistan are “reluctant to align with us” is due to the “perception” — eight years and untold billions in largesse after we entered the country — “that our resolve is uncertain.” Nothing so simple as what a member of the Afghan parliament recently told the Economist: “The Taliban tell them the Koran says they have to fight the Crusaders and they believe them.”

No, it’s all our fault. Seizing on the Left’s all-time favorite villain, the general blames us — our troops — for the Afghan people not liking us. And that, according to the report, is why we’re losing this war (fireable offense No. 2).

To win what McChrystal describes not as a battle in the war on global jihad (fireable offense No. 3), but rather as “the struggle to gain the support of the (Afghan) people,” (fireable offense No. 4), he writes that we must “connect with the people” — the same “people,” he acknowledges, who “can often change sides and provide tacit or real support to the insurgents” (fireable offense No. 5).

Turning battle-hardened Marines into Miss Congenialities who “must be seen as guests of the Afghan people” doesn’t mean our men have to wear swimsuits, but they do have to take off their armor (fireable offense No. 6). “Pre-occupied with protection of our own forces,” McChrystal writes, “we have operated in a manner that distances us — physically and psychologically — from the people we seek to protect.”

Frankly, McChrystal is “pre-occupied” with what he calls “population protection” in a manner that “distances” him — psychologically and emotionally — from the men and women under his command (fireable offense No. 7).

That a general could write so disparagingly of the means to preserve his soldiers at least to fight another day is despicable. But this is what zealots do. They serve theories, not men; they see visions, not reality. And that theory, that vision is akin to the familiar Marxist notion, likely imbibed during PC school days, that denies that identity, religion and culture matter. In the resulting tunnel vision, the so-called hearts-and-minds strategy looks like a winner.

Tav on June 21, 2010 at 11:12 PM

Ironic. As I start to turn in for the night we’re listening to the Fayetteville ABC 11 news. Two more 82nd troopers killed by IEDs in Afghanistan.

Night all.

hawkdriver on June 21, 2010 at 11:13 PM

“Why on earth would Obama put them in charge of Afghanistan together if they don’t get along?”

duh.

So they would fail.

notagool on June 21, 2010 at 11:14 PM

The left has tied one hand of every troop behind their backs. They have politicized, and thus prolonged the war. Shut the left up, kill the bad guys – the cowards who hide behind their women and children; and most importantly, discredit the ideology.

Connie on June 21, 2010 at 11:15 PM

Self-Sacrificial Lambs:

Today’s column is, at root, an expression of horror at the extent to which pandering dhimmitude characterizes our military strategy in Afghanistan. We inferior-minded infidels will do anything, it seems, to win the approval of the Islamic masses. We will sink endless billions into their country; build endless infrastructure; provide state-of-the-art security; train untrainable armies and police forces, and on and on. Now, according to our new commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, in our effort to “protect [the Afghan people] from everything that can hurt them,” we will even ask our troops to think twice under fire. All of this we will do in the effort to win Afghan “hearts and minds,” which, our geniuses (West Point ’76, many of them) have decided, will win this overnight, as one general recently put it. “Winning hearts and minds” — awful phrase with unfortunate connotations — just means making prehistorically-mired Afghans like us a
little better than their babaric co-religionists the Taliban, whose idea of a hearts and minds offensive is to behead, maim, extort, blow up, and assassinate in the name of Allah.

Well, some people got it, some people don’t, I guess. Too bad we don’t know when to quit. But not just quit — reconfigure our defenses against expansionist Islam. Big difference.

Tav on June 21, 2010 at 11:17 PM

Rolling Stone is doing great work, lately.

Schadenfreude on June 21, 2010 at 11:17 PM

Bridge over the River Kwai to Afghanistan

Is it just me, or does Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s increasingly pathological obsession with “the people we seek to protect” — Afghans — to the exclusion of everything else, including the body parts of his own troops, begin to resemble the pathological obsession of another famous, albeit fictional, commander (whistling begins … )? Key is the shared blindness to national interest and enemy strategy.

From the Washington Post today:

McChrystal is equally critical of the command he has led since June 15. The key weakness of ISAF, he says, is that it is not aggressively defending the Afghan population. “Pre-occupied with protection of our own forces, we have operated in a manner that distances us — physically and psychologically — from the people we seek to protect. . . . The insurgents cannot defeat us militarily; but we can defeat ourselves.”

McChrystal continues: “Afghan social, political, economic, and cultural affairs are complex and poorly understood. ISAF does not sufficiently appreciate the dynamics in local communities, nor how the insurgency, corruption, incompetent officials, power-brokers, and criminality all combine to affect the Afghan population.”

Notice what’s missing (Islam).

Coalition intelligence-gathering has focused on how to attack insurgents, hindering “ISAF’s comprehension of the critical aspects of Afghan society.”

I’ll tell you what hinders ISAF comprehension — clueless Gen. McChrystal and all our see-no-Islam leaders, military and civilian, who are making a hash of US foreign policy on global jihad — not to mention our troops’s lives.

Tav on June 21, 2010 at 11:19 PM

McChrystal himself is described by an aide as “disappointed” in his first Oval Office meeting with an unprepared President Barack Obama.

LOVE this part. Greta reported on it tonight.

The article says that although McChrystal voted for Obama, the two failed to connect from the start. Obama called McChrystal on the carpet last fall for speaking too bluntly about his desire for more troops…

The General is more stupid than I’d given him credit. How can he vote for that suit without an emperor?

There are no real men left, hardly.

Schadenfreude on June 21, 2010 at 11:21 PM


“…Why on earth would Obama put them in charge of Afghanistan together if they don’t get along?”

You really don’t know…?

ujorge on June 21, 2010 at 11:22 PM

LOVE the timing of all this.

On a very serious note, U.S. American and other Soldiers and other personnel die, due to all this. May they all suffer a slow and painful demise, damned creatures that they all are.

Schadenfreude on June 21, 2010 at 11:23 PM

The American people voted in the party which has no issue with aborting our military for their convenience.

Hening on June 21, 2010 at 11:23 PM

Well, some people got it, some people don’t, I guess. Too bad we don’t know when to quit. But not just quit — reconfigure our defenses against expansionist Islam. Big difference.

Tav on June 21, 2010 at 11:17 PM

I don’t think a lot of people get it…Obama is here to diminish our power, in every way…economic, militarily, socially, diplomatically.

That is why he is here…that is his job.

We are to fail and falter and be humiliated and laid low and prostrate before the world for every sin he imagines we have committed since we came into existence.

Winning is the opposite of what he wants. So, talking about strategy and tactics for victory…means nothing.

We have a cow bird in the White House. And we are now back to survival for the remaining 2 years and 6 months…we’ll lose every single fight until the day comes that he leaves office.

AUINSC on June 21, 2010 at 11:24 PM

Biggest weasel in the nest, Gates!

Heh, just read the update, up top. So what? Emanuel continued bashing the Republicans on the Sunday shows, as if the apology over the BP shakedown never came.

We’ll continue reasing the resport as REAL.

Apologies don’t mean anything any more. Anyone can make them and not be plausible. Treat what McCrystal said as real. He is likely way more credible, in spite of his bad judgment on voting for Obama, than all the other weaseld put together, incl. the Weasel in Chief.

Schadenfreude on June 21, 2010 at 11:26 PM

I have enormous respect and admiration for President Obama

None for you, though. Sorry for all the accolades, so far. YOU, Sir, have lied, either in the article, which I doubt, or in this statement. One of them is true, but not both.

Teh, heh. I LOVE this story, no matter who loses their political ars, PIGS!

Terrible that our and other Soldiers and other die over this. May you all be punished, terribly.

Schadenfreude on June 21, 2010 at 11:29 PM

May they all suffer a slow and painful demise, damned creatures that they all are.

Schadenfreude on June 21, 2010 at 11:23 PM

We have a cow bird in the White House. And we are now back to survival for the remaining 2 years and 6 months…we’ll lose every single fight until the day comes that he leaves office.

AUINSC on June 21, 2010 at 11:24 PM

Remember, remember, come this November
The festering heat they have brought
‘Tis no reason why their assault on Americans
Should ever be forgiven, or forgot

All you tyrants who lord over us
You who give us the smack of your rod
Soon now we will rend you to bits
We will give you the Judgment of God!

If each man and woman does what they must
The tyrants most foul will be turned into dust
Soon now our Lady of Justice will possess them in her breathtaking, hair-raising bed
She will tingle each spine as she captures each head!

PercyB on June 21, 2010 at 11:29 PM

Well, now see how brave McChrystal is:

McChrystal Apologies for Incendiary Article

Like I said..he’s the perfect Obama man.

AUINSC on June 21, 2010 at 11:32 PM

I am sick and tired of people who say things in public that they mean and are true and then, because it offends someone, they friggin apologize. WTF. Are all these people pussies? If you can’t stand by your own words, wtf are you good for?

The only person in public office that I know of that has not apologized in her public life for anything she has said or done is Sarah Palin.

All these other jack asses are useless.

PhilipJames on June 21, 2010 at 11:32 PM

I’m no fan of the President’s policies on the whole (to put it mildly), but this approach to counterinsurgency is the military’s, not Obama’s. He’s actually expanded drone attacks and special ops activities.

jazz_piano on June 21, 2010 at 10:11 PM

..I understand what you are saying….but the insurgency plan is dependent on what Obama will allow to be implemented.

…..remember that McCrystal put forth several plans that were based on different levels and objectives.

…..Obama chose the “middle of the road” plan and informed McCrystal that he would not receive anymore troops….then proceeded to announce a withdrawl date.

……Then Obama proceeded to do everything he could to undermine Karzi…..making him angry and distrustful of the administration to the point that he is cutting his own deals with the Taliban while they wait for 2011 withdrawal.

……This was proceeded by incompetence not seen by top level leadership since Vietnam:


Obama WH bought COIN without understanding the cost: WaPo

posted at 9:30 am on October 8, 2009 by Ed Morrissey
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/10/08/obama-wh-bought-coin-without-understanding-the-cost-wapo/#comment-2810309

“It was easy to say, ‘Hey, I support COIN,’ because nobody had done the assessment of what it would really take, and nobody had thought through whether we want to do what it takes,” said one senior civilian administration official who participated in the review, using the shorthand for counterinsurgency.

The failure to reach a shared understanding of the resources required to execute the strategy has complicated the White House’s response to the grim assessment of the war by the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, forcing the president to decide, in effect, what his administration really meant when it endorsed a counterinsurgency plan. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal’s follow-up request for more forces, which presents a range of options but makes clear that the best chance of achieving the administration’s goals requires an additional 40,000 U.S. troops on top of the 68,000 who are already there, has given senior members of Obama’s national security team “a case of sticker shock,” the administration official said.

……The incompetence illustrated here is staggering.
After all the bragging about how much smarter they were than Bush…..”we have a better plan “…”finally the adults are in charge…..the reality is they had no idea what needed to be done.
You can have a great counter-insurgency plan….but if the people making the final decisions don’t have a clue,then neuter your plan based on political objectives instead military objectives for success…..you can’t blame that on the military.

Obama was so clueless concerning Afghanistan that they did not even know who they needed to defeat:


WaPo: White House forgot that they told McChrystal to defeat the Taliban

posted at 6:45 pm on December 5, 2009 by Allahpundit
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/12/05/wapo-white-house-forgot-that-they-told-mcchrystal-to-defeat-the-taliban/comment-page-2/#comment-3020292

In June, McChrystal noted, he had arrived in Afghanistan and set about fulfilling his assignment. His lean face, hovering on the screen at the end of the table, was replaced by a mission statement on a PowerPoint slide: “Defeat the Taliban. Secure the Population.”


“Is that really what you think your mission is?” one of the participants asked.

But that was precisely his mission, McChrystal responded, enshrined in the Strategic Implementation Plan — the execution orders for the March strategy, written by the NSC staff.

(remember….March was when Obama stood before the Nation bragging about “his” new direction in the Afghanistan war and “his” General that was going to implement it)

“I wouldn’t say there was quite a ‘whoa’ moment,” a senior defense official said of the reaction around the table. “It was just sort of a recognition that, ‘Duh, that’s what in effect the commander understands he’s been told to do.’ Everybody said, ‘He’s right.’”

Already briefed on the previous day’s discussion, the president “looked at it and said, ‘To be fair, this is what we told the commander to do. Now, the question is, have we directed him to do more than what is realistic? Should there be a sharpening . . . a refinement?’ ” one participant recalled.

….. I don’t care how great your counter-insurgency plan is…..it means little to nothing if the people in charge cut it up and render it useless through sheer incompetence and their political agenda.

Baxter Greene on June 21, 2010 at 11:33 PM

The only way McChrystal can even hope to salvage a shred of honor is to resign immediately…first, he supports his boss’s losing strategy…happy to take command…then he trashes his boss’s idiotic strategy in an article to save himself from humilation at the impeding defeat his boss (with his help) brought about. The, he abjectly apologizes to his boss.

If he doesn’t resign immediately…if he tries to stay on or is fired…the he is as much a grubby, dishonorable politician as his boss is.

AUINSC on June 21, 2010 at 11:36 PM

The only person in public office that I know of that has not apologized in her public life for anything she has said or done is Sarah Palin.

PhilipJames on June 21, 2010 at 11:32 PM

I’m told she’s gracefully when she walks
But sometimes stumbles when she talks
Is she a dolt? No, she’s very deep!
Oh, Obama will soon be losing sleep!

Is she slow or sleek?
Enlightened or a geek?
I hear she’s steely as you please
I hear she’s really Japanese

She may be shrewd
She may be crude
Ah well, one thing is easy to foretell
She’s one who can be counted on to give Obama bloody Hell!

PercyB on June 21, 2010 at 11:36 PM

If McChrystal really had any honor, he would resign rather than read a White House-written apology and spend the remainder of his soon-to-expire military career as the Gates’ whipping boy.

Patton would’ve told Barry to stuff it.

BKeyser on June 21, 2010 at 11:36 PM

Update: McChrystal retreats. Is it fast enough to save him?

He says in a statement: “I extend my sincerest apology for this profile. It was a mistake reflecting poor judgment and should never have happened. Throughout my career, I have lived by the principles of personal honor and professional integrity. What is reflected in this article falls far short of that standard. I have enormous respect and admiration for President Obama and his national security team, and for the civilian leaders and troops fighting this war and I remain committed to ensuring its successful outcome.”

That was fast. Did they threaten his family or something?

Nothing like having a General in the field with a set of steel ones sticking to his guns…uhg!

TheBigOldDog on June 21, 2010 at 11:36 PM

McChrystal is a politician and not a soldier. He will only get more of our boys killed. ‘Bury’ Obama is a punk.

thomasaur on June 21, 2010 at 11:42 PM

Well, I hadn’t been paying much attention to the Afghan war lately so I went and started poking around the blogs I used to read. Apparently McCrystal has successfully gotten on Michael Yon’s bad side, and evicted Yon from his embed.

Yon could have skipped a groove, but he’s been rather accurate in the past, and if the interviews that are said to have taken place, in fact did, well, it’s sort of looking like it may be McCrystal who is not holding up.

Not good.

Voyager on June 21, 2010 at 11:42 PM

Well, now see how brave McChrystal is:

McChrystal Apologies for Incendiary Article

Like I said..he’s the perfect Obama man.

AUINSC on June 21, 2010 at 11:32 PM

……Apology means little to nothing.

……….unless McCrystal admits or is proven to have lied…the damage has been done.


“Unprepared President Obama”

(this adds to the growing theme coming from his base and the MSM that Obama is in over his head)

“Here’s one that covers his flank for the history books,” McChrystal told the magazine. “Now, if we fail, they can say ‘I told you so.”‘

….the distension and politicization concerning the mission is being exposed and just like in the Gulf….people are going to wonder…”just who is in charge.

Baxter Greene on June 21, 2010 at 11:45 PM

……This was proceeded by incompetence not seen by top level leadership since Vietnam:

McCrystal (and Petraeus ) make them look like Grant, Sherman, MacArthur and Patton all rolled into one.

It was easy to say, ‘Hey, I support COIN,’ because nobody had done the assessment of what it would really take, and nobody had thought through whether we want to do what it takes,” said one senior civilian administration official who participated in the review, using the shorthand for counterinsurgency.

Baxter Greene on June 21, 2010 at 11:33 PM

COIN and Afghanistan are like a round peg and a square hole.

Tav on June 21, 2010 at 11:46 PM

He was miffed that a large number of mid-ranking soldiers and battalion commanders and enlisted guys didn’t support his strategy…

Uh, yeah, because Stanley’s getting them killed with his ROE and his strategy.

funky chicken on June 21, 2010 at 11:46 PM

Voyager on June 21, 2010 at 11:42 PM

Yep, McChrystal ditched Yon…that was one of many signs indicating just what kind of commander he is. Now the cat is fully out of the bag.

AUINSC on June 21, 2010 at 11:46 PM

There can be only one commander, and Eikenberry is pissed that it’s not him. He’s put his personal desires ahead of what’s good for our country and I think he should be fired and horse-whipped.

motionview on June 21, 2010 at 11:48 PM

McCrystal (and Petraeus ) make them look like Grant, Sherman, MacArthur and Patton all rolled into one.

Kind of like Barack Obama, by comparison, makes Jimmy Carter look like Ronald Reagan.

Tav on June 21, 2010 at 11:48 PM

McChrystal retreats. Is it fast enough to save him?

I’m afraid that’s the entire point about McChrystal. He’s just trying to save is a$$ now.

I’m sure he thinks he’s doing because he believes that without him, Afghanistan is lost and his troops will suffer defeat…sadly, that’s already happened with him there.

AUINSC on June 21, 2010 at 11:49 PM

Is it just me, or does Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s increasingly pathological obsession with “the people we seek to protect” — Afghans — to the exclusion of everything else, including the body parts of his own troops, begin to resemble the pathological obsession of another famous, albeit fictional, commander (whistling begins … )? Key is the shared blindness to national interest and enemy strategy.

From the Washington Post today:

McChrystal is equally critical of the command he has led since June 15. The key weakness of ISAF, he says, is that it is not aggressively defending the Afghan population. “Pre-occupied with protection of our own forces, we have operated in a manner that distances us — physically and psychologically — from the people we seek to protect. . . . The insurgents cannot defeat us militarily; but we can defeat ourselves.”

It’s not just you.

funky chicken on June 21, 2010 at 11:51 PM

There can be only one commander, and Eikenberry is pissed that it’s not him. He’s put his personal desires ahead of what’s good for our country and I think he should be fired and horse-whipped.

motionview on June 21, 2010 at 11:48 PM

Eikenberry sees with much more clarity than does Stanley “Bridge on the River Kwai” McCrystal. Of course, that doesn’t take a whole lot.

Tav on June 21, 2010 at 11:52 PM

AUINSC on June 21, 2010 at 11:49 PM

Rodriguez!

hawkdriver on June 21, 2010 at 11:53 PM

Is this a Friday night document dump? Or is this the one that was scheduled for last Friday?

Skandia Recluse on June 21, 2010 at 11:54 PM

Rodriguez!

hawkdriver on June 21, 2010 at 11:53 PM

Eh? Isn’t he the number 2 guy there?

AUINSC on June 21, 2010 at 11:58 PM

It’s not just you.

funky chicken on June 21, 2010 at 11:51 PM

“The Bridge on the River Kwai”:

Shears and Joyce wire explosives to it under cover of darkness. The next day, a Japanese train full of soldiers and important officials is scheduled to be the first to use the bridge; Warden wants to blow it up just as the train passes over. Nicholson beside a plaque commemorating the completion of the bridge.

As dawn approaches, the trio are horrified to see that the wire to the explosives has been exposed by the receding river. Making a final inspection, Nicholson spots the wire and brings it to Saito’s attention. As the train is heard approaching, the two men frantically hurry down to the riverbank, pulling up and following the wire towards Joyce, who is waiting by the detonator. When they get too close, Joyce breaks cover and stabs Saito to death. Nicholson yells for help and tries to stop Joyce (who cannot bring himself to kill Nicholson) from getting to the detonator. A firefight erupts. When Joyce is hit, Shears swims across the river, but he too is shot, just before he reaches Nicholson.

Recognizing Shears, Nicholson suddenly comes to his senses and exclaims, “What have I done?” Warden desperately fires his mortar, mortally wounding Nicholson. The colonel stumbles over to the detonator plunger and falls on it as he dies, just in time to blow up the bridge and send the train hurtling into the river. Major Clipton has witnessed the carnage unfold. He shakes his head incredulously and utters, “Madness! … Madness!”

Is General McChrystal reprising the role of Colonel Nicholson in “The Bridge on the River Kwai” or that of T. E. Lawrence in “Lawrence of Arabia”?

Pretty much all evidence points to the former.

Tav on June 22, 2010 at 12:02 AM

Interesting. I sympthize McCrystal, although I suspect his days are numbered.

I am a bit tired of people being surprised that their words get quoted.

AnninCA on June 22, 2010 at 12:03 AM

Let’s face it, guys. It’s time to come home.

Inkblots on June 22, 2010 at 12:03 AM

This entire episode is horrendous. Obama, McChrystal, Gates…in a perfect world, they would all be out on the street selling snow cones…not that I would buy any from them.

AUINSC on June 22, 2010 at 12:05 AM

Career dissipation light blinking rapidly…

paragon27x on June 22, 2010 at 12:07 AM

He [McCrystal] was miffed that a large number of mid-ranking soldiers and battalion commanders and enlisted guys didn’t support his strategy…

This is, to me, the most telling part of this report. McCrystal is “miffed” (I’ll bet he is a lot more than “miffed”) that his troops are not insane.

Tav on June 22, 2010 at 12:09 AM

From Newsweek McChystal interview/article 09.

Lately, as commander of the war in Afghanistan, he has become a kind of Zen warrior, preaching that often “the shot you don’t fire is more important than the one you do.” He is a student of what he calls “counterinsurgency math.” If you encounter 10 Taliban members and kill two, he says, you don’t have eight remaining enemies. You have more like 20: the friends and relatives of the two you killed.

You’ll really like this one.

McChrystal was clearly troubled—”a bit bothered,” as he put it—by the rumors appearing in the media that he might resign over his differences with those unnamed other experts in Washington. “It is my responsibility, my duty—my sacred duty,” he said, to tell the unvarnished truth to his leaders, but then to carry out their orders. He would not resign, he said, even if they rejected his advice.

McChrystal’s War
Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal believes he can win in Afghanistan. It’s the rest of the world that needs convincing.
In Kabul, the entrance to the headquarters of the International Security Assistance Force—the coalition of NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan—is easy to miss. Ever since the Taliban blew up the main gate a month ago, visitors have been required to pass through a small metal door and down winding, dingy passageways topped with barbed wire. Inside the ISAF compound, grimy trailers, used to provide office space, are stacked up around a seedy, once grand building that was long ago a social club for officers of the British Empire. There was a bar, but a couple of weeks ago, Gen. Stanley McChrystal outlawed alcohol on the base, and he has indicated that he wants to turn a small, pretty garden, a tiny oasis of green, into a rifle range.

McChrystal, 55, is a purebred warrior, the son of a two-star general, West Point class of ’76, a former commander of the elite Rangers Regiment, and, from 2003 to 2008, the head of hunter-killer black ops in Special Operations. He eats one meal a day, works out obsessively every morning at 5, and is so free of body fat that he looks gaunt. Lately, as commander of the war in Afghanistan, he has become a kind of Zen warrior, preaching that often “the shot you don’t fire is more important than the one you do.” He is a student of what he calls “counterinsurgency math.” If you encounter 10 Taliban members and kill two, he says, you don’t have eight remaining enemies. You have more like 20: the friends and relatives of the two you killed.

McChrystal reinforces his sermon early every morning in a dreary, windowless bunker at a meeting called the CUA (pronounced koo-ah), for commander’s update assessment. He sits in the back row of five tiers of computer modules, facing giant video screens streaming with data and statistics. One day last week, when a briefer informed him that two Taliban had been killed the day before by soldiers using a multiple-rocket launcher, McChrystal dryly noted, “That’s an awful lot of firepower to kill two people.” He used gentle humor to chide an officer who presented a convoluted diagram full of boxes and arrows to illustrate counterinsurgency in Kandahar. “The day we can explain that, we’ve won,” the general observed.

McChrystal has a disarming, low-key style, free of the bombast and sense of entitlement that can come with four stars. He is polite and gracious, if direct, and he can be funny. At the end of the CUA, an officer brought up the spate of articles appearing in the American press suggesting that McChrystal’s request for more troops in Afghanistan was being seriously questioned by policymakers in Washington, including President Obama. McChrystal had sent his chiefs in the Pentagon a secret assessment of the situation in Afghanistan, which he described as “deteriorating” and headed for “failure” unless the Americans sent more troops. The 66-page document had been leaked to Bob Woodward of The Washington Post, setting off a buzz of critical stories in the media. Hawks seized on the report to argue that Obama was going all wobbly, while critics of the war suggested the military was dragging him toward another Vietnam. The controversy caused evident anxiety among McChrystal’s commanders at the morning briefing. The officer asked if General McChrystal was feeling the pressure. “I am,” McChrystal allowed, and deadpanned, “Money would make me feel better.” There were a few laughs as his legal adviser, Col. Rich Gross, gave the general a dollar, but the joke fell a little flat. McChrystal’s people want to believe in him, and they want to believe in their mission; they do not want to see McChrystal’s judgment questioned—and certainly not his integrity.

At the morning briefing, McChrystal tried to make light of stories in the press quoting Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as saying McChrystal’s call for more troops was just one opinion among military experts. “She’s absolutely right,” said McChrystal to his lieutenants. “There are other experts and they’re smarter than me,” though, he quipped, “not in this room.” The jokes were uncharacteristically lame, as if he was struggling to put a bright face on bad news. Later that evening, eating his one meal of the day (salmon salad, chick-en, strawberry shortcake), McChrystal was clearly troubled—”a bit bothered,” as he put it—by the rumors appearing in the media that he might resign over his differences with those unnamed other experts in Washington. “It is my responsibility, my duty—my sacred duty,” he said, to tell the unvarnished truth to his leaders, but then to carry out their orders. He would not resign, he said, even if they rejected his advice.

Duty, that most noble of military virtues, is a deceptively simple notion. “Duty, Honor, Country” is the motto of the U.S. Military Academy. But what if duty to your troops conflicts with duty to your political leaders? What then is the honorable thing to do for your country? McChrystal would not acknowledge that there might be a conflict. But virtually everything he said to me over the course of an hour last week suggested that he believes he cannot carry out his mission in Afghanistan without more troops. He would not say how many he is asking for in a still-secret document, but knowledgeable military officials who would not be quoted discussing classified information say the number is about 40,000. Maybe McChrystal will salute smartly if he is ordered to make do with fewer. He has great political skills; he couldn’t have risen to his current position without them. But he definitely does not see himself as the sort of military man who would compromise his principles to do the politically convenient thing. At the very least, when he is called back to Washington to support his assessment and recommendation, he will make a strong public case that only an all-out campaign of counterinsurgency against the Taliban will accomplish his assigned mission—to make sure that terrorists do not use Afghanistan as a base for terrorist operations against the United States.

McChrystal has led a charmed life until now, in part because his leadership skills have been obvious and recognized. His inspiration was his father, a Korean and Vietnam War combat vet who was, according to his son, the “non-Great Santini”—soft-spoken, never a bully. “I never, ever saw him do the wrong thing in my whole life,” says McChrystal. “I never saw him say, ‘With a wink and a nod we can get around this.’ ”

At West Point, the younger McChrystal was “a troublemaker,” he recalls. He often violated the drinking ban and got caught at it, walking hundreds of hours of punishment drills, pacing up and down a stone courtyard in full-dress uniform, carrying a rifle. As a senior, McChrystal organized a mock infantry attack on a school building, using real guns and rolled-up socks as grenades, and was nearly shot by the military police guarding the building. But his classmates compared him to the Cooler King, the charismatic renegade played by Steve McQueen in The Great Escape. His tactical officer at West Point made him a battalion commander, one of only a dozen on campus.

He became a Green Beret, a Ranger, and an assistant division commander in the 82nd Airborne. Twice he was taken aside by senior officers and told that he needed to get a certain staff or desk job to advance his career, but he declined in order to stay in the field. Curiously for such a warrior, he did not see combat in his early Army years. “I missed Panama and Grenada, and it bothered me. You always wonder how you’ll do,” he says. Rising to become a Special Operations commander after 9/11, he finally did go on combat operations, though, he says, “I’ve never shot anyone.” Still, he has been a very effective killer. When he was head of the Joint Special Operations Command in Afghanistan and Iraq, from 2003 to 2008, McChrystal’s black-ops teams hunted high-value targets (HVTs), eliminating some notorious ones like Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, the ruthless head of Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Along the way, “I became kind of an ascetic,” says McChrystal. “I got fat as a lieutenant, so I started jogging and eating one meal a day, and it just worked for me.” His wife, Annie, whom he married out of West Point and with whom he has a son (who chose not to become a soldier), scoffs at the suggestion that her husband is some sort of spiritual samurai, and says he just doesn’t like the drowsy feeling he gets after eating a big meal. She also laughs about the fact that he has seen the raunchy NASCAR spoof Talladega Nights so many times, he can recite the lines (he can do the same for Monty Python and the Holy Grail).

Nonetheless, others say that Mc-Chrystal is like an ancient warrior-scholar, constantly reading history, pondering the mysteries of human nature. He studied for a year at Harvard in the 1990s and took a fellowship at the Council on Foreign Relations, running to work every day from his home in Brooklyn, N.Y., a dozen miles away. He was known at both elite institutions for his humility. “He’s not a Petraeus,” says Parag Khanna, who shared an office at the CFR. “He’s not a publicity seeker.” Reading about the struggles for national liberation in Indochina from the 1950s through the Vietnam War, McChrystal became fascinated by the challenges of counterinsurgency. He learned that putting down a guerrilla movement was impossible without winning the support of the local population. His convictions were reinforced by his experience running black ops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Counterter-ror operations—hunting down HVTs—went hand in hand with effective counterinsurgency, with winning over the local population. Indeed, he came to believe, “you can’t have one without the other.” To successfully find and kill terrorists requires the intelligence and cooperation that only the locals can provide. McChrystal already had this mindset before Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, pushed him forward to replace Gen. David McKiernan as head of Coalition forces in Afghanistan. It was one of the rare occasions when a theater-of-war commander has been removed. (Truman’s dismissal of General MacArthur during the Korean War is another.) The Pentagon was trying to send a message. In the view of Mullen and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, McKiernan had spent too much time trying to coax along the squabbling and sometimes inert NATO force commanders, and he didn’t have the necessary background to implement a new counterinsurgency strategy.

Mullen and Gates found the right man to shake things up. Arriving in Kabul last June, McChrystal announced that there were two types of people at his headquarters: “Martyrs and people that are going home.” The general’s audiences sometimes don’t know if he is being serious or kidding. “People who don’t know me sometimes don’t laugh,” he says. “Others laugh nervously. People who do know me laugh, but they also know it’s true.” (McChrystal’s deeply loyal staffers like to joke that they’ve “climbed aboard the pain train.”)

McChrystal immediately decreed that the ISAF troops were going to learn how to get along with the local population. It took less than a week for him to start to make his point. He was part of a convoy blasting through city streets at 60mph when the speed limit was 20mph. The soldiers were driving heavily armored vehicles right down the middle of the road, pointing their weapons at civilian vehicles, forcing them to the side. When the convoy stopped, McChrystal took aside the commander and dressed him down. “This is exactly the way you create the ugly ISAF,” he said in a low but cold tone. He issued a directive: from then on, all ISAF forces would obey local driving laws. (More difficult, he tried to set an example by not wearing body armor. “The Afghans don’t wear body armor,” he would say, but he ran into grumbling and resistance.)

General, if the Afghanis could afford body armor, they’d wear it.

To cut down what McChrystal calls “the recreational attitude,” he has been methodically closing down the concessions that sprout up on American bases—Pizza Hut, Burger King, Baskin-Robbins. “We don’t need 31 flavors to fight a war,” said a McChrystal aide who did not wish to be identified, but observed that when he was based at Camp Victory in Iraq early in the war there, it was possible to shop for 39 varieties of flat-screen TVs.

Priorities!

And the warning signs that the ROE would suck.

“Why do we even have 2,000-pound bombs? Afghanistan doesn’t have big-enough targets for them.” He issued another directive instructing troops not to call in airstrikes or supporting fire unless necessary for self-defense. This order has cut down on civilian casualties, probably the biggest obstacle to winning the trust of the Afghans.

Meh, folks should just go read the whole article.

hawkdriver on June 22, 2010 at 12:11 AM

I don’t believe for a second McChrystal voted for Obama. I just don’t believe that any green beret could be so stupid as to actually cast a vote for that feckless clown now occupying the White House and calling himself the “president.” Couldn’t happen.

WarEagle01 on June 22, 2010 at 12:11 AM

Geez, I guess I pasted the whole thing. Sorry. You should read it though.

hawkdriver on June 22, 2010 at 12:12 AM

Eh? Isn’t he the number 2 guy there?

AUINSC on June 21, 2010 at 11:58 PM

As 82nd Commander in RC East, we loved him.

hawkdriver on June 22, 2010 at 12:14 AM

WarEagle01 on June 22, 2010 at 12:11 AM

Ok…are you calling him a liar?

AUINSC on June 22, 2010 at 12:14 AM

I’m late to this party, and Hawkdriver has retired for the evening, BUT isn’t the role of Special Ops to disrupt – by any means necessary – the enemies ability to fight? Isn’t Gen. McChrystal an officer that rose through the ranks of SpecOps? What did the General learn as a ‘special operator”?
It appears, not how to conduct a war…

It also appears that the man is NOT a good judge of character with his admission of voting for the obamanation…

OT…All these “GULPS” lately have me thinking AP lives above a 7-11…

Gohawgs on June 22, 2010 at 12:14 AM

I can’t WAIT till the post-Obama administration books start pouring out! I bet many are already in the works, seeing as how this POTUS may not be able to complete a full first term without having to step down due to disastrous and unconstitutional legal decisions.

MsUnderestimated on June 22, 2010 at 12:16 AM

Gohawgs on June 22, 2010 at 12:14 AM

hawkdriver can’t sleep. Still trolling and causing tragic cut and paste accidents.

hawkdriver on June 22, 2010 at 12:17 AM

He [McCrystal] was miffed that a large number of mid-ranking soldiers and battalion commanders and enlisted guys didn’t support his strategy…

This is, to me, the most telling part of this report. McCrystal is “miffed” (I’ll bet he is a lot more than “miffed”) that his troops are not insane.

Tav on June 22, 2010 at 12:09 AM

Is it McCrystal’s strategy or the Rules of Engagement, set by Obama, that soldiers are “miffed” about?

F15Mech on June 22, 2010 at 12:21 AM

Gohawgs on June 22, 2010 at 12:14 AM

If you read the Newsweek article, you’ll see he really believed in COIN. What it means to the average troop in a truck out on an Afghan road is flip a coin to see who has to ride in the turret.

hawkdriver on June 22, 2010 at 12:21 AM

McChrystal became fascinated by the challenges of counterinsurgency. He learned that putting down a guerrilla movement was impossible without winning the support of the local population.

hawkdriver on June 22, 2010 at 12:11 AM

He should have cracked open some books on Islam as well as Afghan history.

Tav on June 22, 2010 at 12:22 AM

Is it McCrystal’s strategy or the Rules of Engagement, set by Obama, that soldiers are “miffed” about?

F15Mech on June 22, 2010 at 12:21 AM

Zen McCrystal has set the ROE.

Tav on June 22, 2010 at 12:24 AM

Any general who voted for Obama has more than strategic problems.

The critical issue with Aghanistan, and Pakistan, is the ROE’s, ~which should be: destroy those who threaten us with their terroristic Jihad.

Anything less than that healthy response merely postpones the inevitable carnage to a time when the enemy is stronger.

Which, militarily, is lunacy.

profitsbeard on June 22, 2010 at 12:25 AM

Here’s what Fox New’s Major Garret is tweeting about it. And yes, it is ‘cringe-inducing’:

For this Gen McChrystal issues full-blown, cringe-inducing war-time apology (forthcoming)http://bit.ly/bnuYHH

McChrystal: “I extend my sincerest apology for this profile. It was a mistake reflecting poor judgment and should never have happened….
27 minutes ago via TweetDeck

(more)Throughout my career, I have lived by the principles of personal honor and professional integrity. What is ….
22 minutes ago via TweetDeck

(more)reflected in this article falls far short of that standard. I have enormous respect for President Obama and his civilian leaders….
21 minutes ago via TweetDeck

(more) and troops fighting this war and I remain committed to ensuring its succesful outcome.”
20 minutes ago via TweetDeck

AUINSC on June 22, 2010 at 12:28 AM

Is it McCrystal’s strategy or the Rules of Engagement, set by Obama, that soldiers are “miffed” about?

F15Mech on June 22, 2010 at 12:21 AM

They’re probably more miffed at President Obama for the ROE, but wonder why Gen McChystal won’t ease it to allow them to go after the IED implacers. They without a doubt are “miffed” that Gen McChystal shut down concessions on installations.

He thought if the front line troops didn’t get any, no one should. Those front line troops looked forward to getting to a FOB and getting a BK Burger every once in a while too. I can’t believe with all the talks about suicide prevention, the command would make it their task to invent moisery where ever they could produce it. Never understood the emphasis on the concessions. After two/three weeks in RC West, coming home to Kandahar and a Pizza was nice.

hawkdriver on June 22, 2010 at 12:31 AM

Hawdriver,

Glad you’re back safe and sound…My buddy, that was never called to fly in post 9-11 Iraq/Afghanistan and retired last yr, is in Afghanistan flying Russian helicopters…go figure…

As for COIN, no body armor, don’t shoot until you’ve been shot ROE’s, isn’t Gen. McChrystal’s job to win and win without needlessly making casualties of his own troops?

Gohawgs on June 22, 2010 at 12:33 AM

is in Afghanistan flying Russian helicopters…go figure…

Big bucks but no ASE. No thanks. :(

hawkdriver on June 22, 2010 at 12:36 AM

Really, at this point it doesn’t matter…we just need to get as many of our brave troops out of there as soon a possible. We’ll be in another major war over there soon enough, but this one is lost with these guys in control.

I don’t know if McChrystal should stay or go…well, at any other time in US history, he should be immediately retired…but he may be the best we can get. I doubt anybody Obama would appoint would be any better…and would probably be much worse, given his history of appointments, civilian and military.

Just need to get out asap. Obama took this war from winnable to sure defeat in 18 months…no hope now. At least we won’t have to worry about depending on the middle east for energy anymore under his watch…the Gulf of Mexico is quickly becoming the Gulf of Light Sweet Crude…take that.

AUINSC on June 22, 2010 at 12:37 AM

Zen warrior?

Woah, the Bamiyan Buddhas were like buddhist, war-dude!

Zatoichi McChrystal?

profitsbeard on June 22, 2010 at 12:40 AM

Obama vs. McChrystal?

Reading Gen. McChrystal’s Afghanistan assessment is easier than reading tea leaves, but judging by the murkiness of the debate about Afghanistan, few in the media or politics have read it. I say this having watched public discussion turn disagreement over troops levels into The Question of Consequence regarding overall strategy. Conservatives, listening to “the commander in the field,” play McChrystal as The Hawk who wants to crush America’s enemies into rubble (or, at least, more rubble than they are already in) as opposed to Obama The Wimp, whose hesitation and apparently dwindling support for a “surge” in Afghanistan threaten to turn McChrystal’s winning strategy into a politically correct and ineffective recipe for defeat.

But what really separates Obama and McChrystal? Judging by publicly available statements and writings, nothing much. Which is why — prediction time — McChrystal probably won’t quit when Obama gives him fewer forces than McChrystal is asking for.

Why? If you read McChrystal’s report, the general makes it very clear that his change in strategy, not his change in troop levels, is his top priority. But this change in strategy is almost always left out of debate — and certainly out of the conservative end of the debate, which focuses on giving the general the forces he wants to win. What McChrystal actually wants to win — the support of the Afghan people, which is the basis of his new strategy — is never mentioned.

This strategy change to “population protection” at the expense of “force protection” (or, better, this strategy change intensification because certainly key aspects of such a policy have long been in place) is in fact a politically correct and ineffective recipe for defeat, and, therefore, something right up the boss’s alley.

Tav on June 22, 2010 at 12:44 AM

Big bucks but no ASE. No thanks. :(

hawkdriver on June 22, 2010 at 12:36 AM

Agreed…

Gohawgs on June 22, 2010 at 12:47 AM

Looks like Yon scores another scalp.

McChrystal looks to be struggling out of his area of expertise. He’s been trying to please his political masters and has ended up pleasing no one. Whether or not there’s real fault there, he has to go, his apology does nothing to scrape off the mud.

Maybe I’m wrong, and I’ll admit to being thinly informed, but it’s looked for a long time like Sec Gates has seen his role as – and no more than – trying to cushion the crash-landing that this administration is intent on inflicting on US power-projection capability. As time goes on, it’s looking more and more like a deal with the devil in which Gates has gotten – and accepted – the short end of the stick, and I’m having a hard time maintaining much respect for the guy.

JEM on June 22, 2010 at 12:53 AM

From Michael Yon Q/A on his web page:

Is it likely you can get embedded with British forces again? What about other different countries – does the attitude differ country to country towards embedded reporters?

The British invited me several times when news broke of my disembed with U.S. I had planned to go with them this summer, but after what happened with U.S. (and disembed with U.K. last year), it makes more sense to go alone. U.S./U.K. will not hesitate to waste your time and money. No longer makes sense to embed. Not with so much censorship creeping in under McChrystal and the unpredictable, moody nature of senior public affairs officers such as Admiral Gregory Smith.

Just saying.

AUINSC on June 22, 2010 at 12:54 AM

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