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McChrystal Complains About US Ambassador in Afghan

#1
Interesting insights (if true) into the dysfunction at the highest command levels for US Afghan ops

Jun. 22, 2010
Top General In Afghan War: US Envoy Betrayed Me
In Article, Top US General In Afghan War Accuses US Ambassador Of Self-serving Betrayal


(AP) WASHINGTON (AP) - The top U.S. war commander in Afghanistan told an interviewer he felt betrayed by the man the White House chose to be his diplomatic partner, Ambassador Karl Eikenberry.

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.

A band of McChrystal's profane, irreverent aides are quoted mocking Vice President Joe Biden and Richard Holbrooke, the special U.S. representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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.

"I found that time painful," McChrystal said in the article, on newsstands Friday. "I was selling an unsellable position."

Obama agreed to dispatch an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan only after months of study that many in the military found frustrating. And the White House's troop commitment was coupled with a pledge to begin bringing them home in July 2011, in what counterinsurgency strategists advising McChrystal regarded as an arbitrary deadline.

The profile, titled "The Runaway General" emerged from several weeks of interviews and travel with McChrystal's tight circle of aides this spring.

It includes a list of administration figures said to back McChrystal, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and puts Biden at the top of a list of those who don't.

The article claims McChrystal has seized control of the war "by never taking his eye off the real enemy: The wimps in the White House."

Biden initially opposed McChrystal's proposal for additional forces last year. He favored a narrower focus on hunting terrorists.

If Eikenberry had the same doubts, 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.'"

There was no immediate response from Eikenberry. The Associated Press requested comment through an aide after business hours on Monday in Kabul.

Eikenberry remains in his post in Kabul, and although both men publicly say they are friends, their rift is on full display.

McChrystal and Eikenberry, himself a retired Army general, stood as far apart as the speakers' platform would allow during a White House news conference last month.

"Rolling Stone" interviewed troops frustrated by McChrystal's strict rules for combat that are intended to reduce the number of civilian casualties.

At one outpost, a soldier McChrystal had met earlier was killed in a house that the local U.S. commander had repeatedly asked to destroy. The request was denied, apparently out of concern that razing the house would anger locals whose allegiance the U.S. is trying to win.

"Does that make any (expletive) sense?" Pfc. Jared Pautsch asks. "We should just drop a (expletive) bomb on this place. You sit and ask yourself, 'What are we doing here?'"

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/06/21/ap/cabstatepent/main6604154.shtml
 
#3
Surprise Surprise :D

Top general in Afghan war apologizes for profile

By ANNE GEARAN (AP) – 3 hours ago

WASHINGTON — The top U.S. war commander in Afghanistan apologized Tuesday for an interview in which he said he felt betrayed by the man the White House chose to be his diplomatic partner, Ambassador Karl Eikenberry.

The article in this week's issue of Rolling Stone 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.

In Kabul on Tuesday, McChrystal issued a statement saying: "I extend my sincerest apology for this profile. It was a mistake reflecting poor judgment and should never have happened."

In Rolling Stone, McChrystal 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.

"I found that time painful," McChrystal said in the article, on newsstands Friday. "I was selling an unsellable position."

Obama agreed to dispatch an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan only after months of study that many in the military found frustrating. And the White House's troop commitment was coupled with a pledge to begin bringing them home in July 2011, in what counterinsurgency strategists advising McChrystal regarded as an arbitrary deadline.

McChrystal said Tuesday, "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."

In Brussels on Tuesday, a NATO spokesman called the article "rather unfortunate, but it is just an article."

The spokesman added that NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen "has full confidence in General McChrystal as the NATO commander, and in his strategy."

The profile, titled "The Runaway General," emerged from several weeks of interviews and travel with McChrystal's tight circle of aides this spring.

It includes a list of administration figures said to back McChrystal, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and puts Vice President Joe Biden at the top of a list of those who don't.

The article claims McChrystal has seized control of the war "by never taking his eye off the real enemy: The wimps in the White House."

Biden initially opposed McChrystal's proposal for additional forces last year. He favored a narrower focus on hunting terrorists.

If Eikenberry had the same doubts, 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.'"

There was no immediate response from Eikenberry.

Eikenberry remains in his post in Kabul, and although both men publicly say they are friends, their rift is on full display.

McChrystal and Eikenberry, himself a retired Army general, stood as far apart as the speakers' platform would allow during a White House news conference last month.

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iqhOEM11_2TpZDQin6IhUPZ0DdsQD9GG70280
 
#4
Uh oh.....

Gen. Stanley McChrystal coming to Washington to explain anti-administration comments

By Ernesto Londoño
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, June 22, 2010; 8:18 AM

KABUL -- The top U.S. general in Afghanistan was summoned to Washington for a White House meeting after apologizing Tuesday for flippant and dismissive remarks about top Obama administration officials involved in Afghanistan policy.

The remarks in an article in this week's in Rolling Stone magazine are certain to increase tension between the White House and Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal.

The profile of McChrystal, , titled the "Runaway General," also raises fresh questions about the judgment and leadership style of the commander Obama appointed last year in an effort to turn around a worsening conflict.

McChrystal and some of his senior advisors are quoted criticizing top administration officials, at times in starkly derisive terms. An anonymous McChrystal aide is quoted calling national security adviser James Jones a "clown," who remains "stuck in 1985."

Referring to Richard Holbrooke, Obama's senior envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, one McChrystal aide is quoted saying: "The Boss says he's like a wounded animal. Holbrooke keeps hearing rumors that he's going to get fired, so that makes him dangerous."

On one occasion, McChrystal appears to react with exasperation when he receives an e-mail from Holbrooke, saying, "Oh, not another e-mail from Holbrooke. I don't even want to read it."

U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry, a retired three-star general, isn't spared. Referring to a leaked cable from Eikenberry that expressed concerns about the trustworthiness of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, McChrystal is quoted as having said: "Here's one that covers his flank for the history books. Now if we fail, they can say, 'I told you so.'"

A U.S. embassy spokeswoman said she had no immediate comment on the piece.

The story also features an exchange in which McChrystal and some of his aides appear to mock Vice President Biden, who opposed McChrystal's troop surge recommendation last year and instead urged instead for a more focused emphasis on counter-terrorism operations.

"Are you asking me about Vice President Biden?" McChrystal asks the profile's reporter a at one point, laughing. "Who's that?"

"Biden?" an unnamed aide is quoted as saying. "Did you say Bite me?"

Lt. Col. Joseph Breasseale, a U.S. military spokesman, said McChrystal called Biden and other senior administration officials Tuesday morning in reference to the article. "After these discussions, he decided to travel to the U.S. for a meeting," the spokesman said in an e-mail.

A senior administration official in Washington said McChrystal had been summoned to the White House to explain his remarks. The general will attend a regular meeting on Afghan-Pakistan strategy scheduled for Wednesday. Normally, he would have participated in the session via videoconference.

The magazine hits newsstands Friday and could be posted online earlier in the week. The Washington Post received an advance copy of the article from its author, Michael Hastings, a freelance journalist who has written for the Post.

"I extend my sincerest apology for this profile," McChrystal said in a statement issued Tuesday morning. "It was a mistake reflecting poor judgment and it should have never happened."

The timing of the piece could hardly be worse. Amid a flurry of bad news in Afghanistan and a sharp rise in NATO casualties, U.S. lawmakers and senior officials from NATO allied countries are asking increasingly sharp questions about the U.S.-led war strategy.

Dutch and Canadian troops are scheduled to pull out within the next year. And the White House has said it will start drawing down U.S. forces next July.

The magazine story shows that McChrystal is also facing criticism from some of his own troops who have grown frustrated with new rules that force commanders be extraordinarily judicious in using lethal force.

A few weeks ago, according to the magazine, the general traveled to a small outpost in Kandahar Province, in southern Afghanistan, to meet with a unit of soldiers reeling from the loss of a comrade, 23-year-old Cpl. Michael Ingram.

The corporal was killed in a booby-trapped house that some of the unit's commanders had unsuccessfully sought permission to blow up.

One soldier at the outpost showed Hastings, who was traveling with the general, a written directive instructing troops to "patrol only in areas that you are reasonably certain that you will not have to defend yourself with lethal force."

During a tense meeting with Ingram's platoon, one sergeant tells McChrystal: "Sir, some of the guys here, sir, think we're losing, sir."

McChrystal has championed a counterinsurgency strategy that prioritizes protecting the population as a means to marginalize and ultimately defeat the insurgency. Because new rules sharply restrict the circumstances under which air strikes and other lethal operations that have resulted in civilian casualties can be conducted, some soldiers say the strategy has left them more exposed.

June is on track to be the deadliest month for NATO troops in Afghanistan since the war began nearly nine years ago. At least 63 NATO troops have been killed so far this month, including 10 who died Monday in a helicopter crash and a series of attacks.

In his statement, McChrystal says he has "enormous respect and admiration for President Obama and his national security team."

"Throughout my career, I have lived by the principles of personal honor and professional integrity," the general said. "What is reflected in this article falls far short of that standard."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/22/AR2010062200813.html
 
#8
Someone is not interested in the political infighting in Washington:
NATO SecGen said:
NATO Press Release(2010)087
22 June 2010

Statement by NATO Spokesman on Rolling Stone article

The Rollng Stone article is rather unfortunate, but it is just an article. We are in the middle of a very real conflict, and the Secretary General has full confidence in General McChrystal as the NATO Commander, and in his strategy.

End of mail
 
#9
para_medic said:
Someone is not interested in the political infighting in Washington:
NATO SecGen said:
NATO Press Release(2010)087
22 June 2010

Statement by NATO Spokesman on Rolling Stone article

The Rollng Stone article is rather unfortunate, but it is just an article. We are in the middle of a very real conflict, and the Secretary General has full confidence in General McChrystal as the NATO Commander, and in his strategy.

End of mail
Methinks this view may well be changing as we speak.
 
#10
Some of the comments by his aides that have made it into print were as damaging to him as his own comments. The aides should learn to STFU. Aides were trying to show support but hurt the boss with the comments.

IMHO McChrystal is toast. We will have to watch and see.
 
#11
DavidBOC said:
Some of the comments by his aides that have made it into print were as damaging to him as his own comments. The aides should learn to STFU. Aides were trying to show support but hurt the boss with the comments.

IMHO McChrystal is toast. We will have to watch and see.
I agree--for better or worse, I think he (assisted ably by his staff) has hoisted himself on his own petard and now it is just a matter of how to spin his departure. this of course plays perfectly into the hands of His administration that is inexorably ridding itself of anyone seen as the least bit "double minded" (independent thinkers) in favor of either fellow travelers or otherwise malleable lackeys.

From what I have heard through the grapevine about the recent nomination of USMC Commandant (apparently the litmus test was his perceived if not actual softer view on homosexuals and DADT), I think this is the pattern we can expect from now own.
 
#12
Speaking from the other side of the pond, I am glad that you have a general who is not afraid to speak out. We had some of that here during the Victorian era. The public was aware of the rivalries between senior officers, IIRC leading one prime minister to ask "Why do our generals hate each other?"

However, if I was viewing this from the desk at the Oval Office, I think I would send him some paracetamol and a fru-fru; which is one reason why I shall never be a President.
 
#14
bakerlite said:
Mr Obama cuts and runs.
We will have to deal with the threat of international terrorism on our own ground in our own way.

B
Sadly, I think this was always in the cards--just a matter of finding the right way to spin it. He has too much to lose in terms of his anti-war, Kumbayah-singing political base to be in any war, no matter how much it may otherwise be "justified."

As we continue to see and as He and His minions have unabashedly announced, He will avail himself (quite shamelessly usually) of any "crisis," "emergency" or other situation to advance His actual agenda that has nothing to do with waging "wars" regardless of whether our (or our allies) security may be at risk.

I have said on other threads that regardless of whether there is or isn't any "special relationship" with the UK, if I were any ally of the US I would first and foremost look out for my own interests. Outmoded (in the eyes of the post-modern progressives at least) concepts of honor, loyalty, honesty etc. are mere constructs of a by-gone era and now only have value in their manipulation.

Remember these people look to their inspiration from such high-minded folks as Saul Alinsky Linkywho said this about ethics:

Rules to test whether power tactics are ethical:

1. One's concern with the ethics of means and ends varies inversely with one's personal interest in the issue.
2. The judgment of the ethics of means is dependent upon the political position of those sitting in judgment.
3. In war the end justifies almost any means.
4. Judgment must be made in the context of the times in which the action occurred and not from any other chronological vantage point.
5. Concern with ethics increases with the number of means available and vice versa.
6. The less important the end to be desired, the more one can afford to engage in ethical evaluations of means.
7. Generally, success or failure is a mighty determinant of ethics.
8. The morality of means depends upon whether the means is being employed at a time of imminent defeat or imminent victory.
9. Any effective means is automatically judged by the opposition to be unethical.
10. You do what you can with what you have and clothe it in moral garments.
11. Goals must be phrased in general terms like "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity," "Of the Common Welfare," "Pursuit of Happiness," or "Bread and Peace."
 
#18
This whole situation is interesting. If I recall correctly Petraeus was supportive of McCrystal replacing McKiernan in Afghanistan. Recenty there has been talk of Petraeus being on the short list for the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. I wonder if McChrystal's issues could come back to bite Petraeus in the butt. The White House clearly wants control.

The comments by aides certainly don't help the man either.
 
R

Reversionary_Modes

Guest
#19
What is it about Mc or Mac-ish US Generals and their Presidents when conducting wars in far-off lands? Mind you, I bet MacArthur would never have voted for Obama in a thousand years. Come to think of it, would McChrystal have voted for Truman?
 
#20
bakerlite said:
If General McCrystal goes, I believe that we will lose in Afghanistan. In that event The UK should pull out its forces ASAP, before Mr Obama cuts and runs.
I hope the inverse of that isn't "If he stays I am certain that we will win".

There is no certainty of any good outcomes on offer there.
 

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