He told the truth. And for that, he must pay.
The two-star general flashed irritation when he brought up Karzai’s recent remarks that Afghanistan would side with Pakistan in a war against the U.S., blasting the president’s comments as “erratic,” and adding, “Why don’t you just poke me in the eye with a needle! You’ve got to be kidding me … I’m sorry, we just gave you $11.6 billion and now you’re telling me, ‘I don’t really care’?”
“When they are going to have a presidential election, you hope they get a guy that’s more articulate in public,” Fuller said during a visit to Washington for a conference…
Fuller says he responds [to Afghan leaders] by saying, “’You’re telling us that you’re not appreciative of $11.2 billion from the U.S. this year? We have challenges going on in our own country, and this is our national treasure.’”
In fact, the Afghan government made requests for F-16 fighter jets and tanks, even without the budget to use or maintain them, said Fuller. “I actually had someone senior tell me, ‘All I want to do is put them [tanks] on a flat bed and drive them around in a parade,” he said…
“You can teach a man how to fish, or you can give them a fish,” said Fuller. “We’re giving them fish while they’re learning, and they want more fish! [They say,] ‘I like swordfish, how come you’re giving me cod?’ Guess what? Cod’s on the menu today.”
Surely we can spare a few extra billion so that the Afghan government has tanks to parade around on flat beds. Politico published what he said this morning; by 6 p.m. ET, Gen. Allen had already removed him from duty, replete with lip service about “our current solid relationship with the government of Afghanistan.” According to National Journal, Fuller might be drummed out of the military altogether, which would make this one of the costliest Kinsleyan gaffes in recent political history. Three obvious points, then. One: As irritating as Karzai’s comments were about siding with Pakistan over the U.S., it’s not a crazy thing to say given his strategic predicament. We’re leaving and Pakistan’s staying and they’re ruthless and insane, so unless Karzai signals that he’s willing to play ball with them, there’s little future for him or his allies once ISI and their jihadi clients take over the country (again). Two: Fuller did, in fact, create a diplomatic problem for the White House and his commanders by saying what he said, which is a setback for whatever’s left of this mission. His frustration’s completely — completely — understandable, but it’s a slip in discipline. Soldiers are supposed to make the civilian leadership’s job easier, not harder. Three: Kicking him out of the service will be a mistake in every way for the simple reason that virtually anyone who reads those quotes will agree with him. Firing him will make a martyr of him, will draw more public attention to what he said, and will give the public yet another reason to wish we were out of there. It’d be a huge screw-up. I wonder if they’re foolish enough to do it.
Via Bluegrass Pundit, here’s the latest in “our current solid relationship with the government of Afghanistan.” Exit quotation: “These were not real Taliban ready to make peace. The governor was trying to fool the Americans.”