US sacks top military commander in Afghanistan

#1
The top US military commander in Afghanistan was sacked today after both the Pentagon and the White House decided that “fresh thinking” was needed to win the war.

General David McKiernan, who has spent just 11 months in charge of Nato forces in Afghanistan, will be replaced by Lieutenant-General Stanley McChrystal who previously led the special operations command and is credited with killing the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Lieutenant-General David Rodriguez will be handed a new position of deputy commander of US forces in Afghanistan.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article6269236.ece
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#2
Obama sounds pretty wet and woolly to me but this sounds as if the US are getting serious and ready to go for the throat.
 
#5
CutLunchCommando said:
From Yorkshire allegedly. LINK
Off topic I know but, if you lot will indulge me:

I thought it was some sort of pretend made up American name to begin with, or even a warped pseudo Celtic Jewish name (they're into naming themselves after shiny things).

Still, not entirely convinced about it being Yorkshire Anglo-Saxon. What self respecting Anglo-Saxon is going to stick a Celtic Mac in front of his name*, which bizarrely resembles a Greek word for hard shiny thing more than anything else (unless you bring Jesus into it...)


*Unless he was a joint celtic - angosaxon effort - still doesn't explain the Chrystal business though...

Ok ok I'll shut up and let you get on with Septic Afghan command now...
 
#7
seaweed said:
Obama sounds pretty wet and woolly to me but this sounds as if the US are getting serious and ready to go for the throat.
I say appearances (sounds?) count for little... but I agree, the 'changing of the guard' may prove more noteworthy.
 
#8
Nomenclature aside, this McChrystal character has a history of going for the gut. He's credited with getting al-Zarqawi and commanded SOCOM so he's dynamic at least. It just seems ironic that, just 3 months after the announced troop surge, an officer with a history of operating smaller scale units could take command from an officer who championed the surge.
 

rampant

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#9
It will be interesting to see what style of approach he will take. Will he move away from the stand off use of airstrikes etc, to a more surgical approach utilising the men on the ground? How will he build upon the lessons learned from Iraq and the Petreaus Doctrine?

Indeed what will this mean for our own methods?
 
#10
My top tip is that the US are getting ready to redefine victory, pop smoke and GTFO of AFG in fairly short order. This isn't an Obama / Bush thing, its the realisation that fighting an unwinnable war while a nuclear exchange takes place on your MSRs is a pretty dumb thing to do. The US will not commit to AFG for the decades necessary to establish lasting change - I'd go for the best part of a century myself - and so it's time to go.
 
#11
One_of_the_strange said:
My top tip is that the US are getting ready to redefine victory, pop smoke and GTFO of AFG in fairly short order. This isn't an Obama / Bush thing, its the realisation that fighting an unwinnable war while a nuclear exchange takes place on your MSRs is a pretty dumb thing to do. The US will not commit to AFG for the decades necessary to establish lasting change - I'd go for the best part of a century myself - and so it's time to go.
Sounds about right to me
 
#12
I note that the new general wears what appear to be,Brit para wings.I suspect therefor,that he's known over here?
 
#13
That link is from a USA "heraldry bucket shop" no credence whatsoever, pure ignorant drivel

Try your own name and have a good giggle


Deefer
 
#14
I really couldn't care less if the new CG in AFG was called Fungus the B4starding Bogeyman if he is going to have a good crack at the situation.

Nor would I use the opportunity for a cheap anti-semitic jibe based on the oddities of trade-guild naming in 14th century Mitteleuropa and the vagaries of Ellis Island desk-officers...for shame cupoftea.
 
#15
Some of this may be that Gen Patreus doesn't see eye to eye on with Gen Mckiernan. They had clashes over issues in Iraq. However, Gen Mckiernan was more aggressive and robust in his apporach to dealing with the Afghan problem than than Gen McNeil so it will be interesting to see what the new guy will do. At least there will still be one US general in charge of the country rather than the 2 which is what it was up until July last year. This lead to confusion over the ISAF and OEF missions.

It does seems though that you need to have some form of Celtic ancestry to get to 4* in the US Army.
Last 2 ISAF Commanders - Gen Dan McNeil, Gen David Mckiernan
New guy - McChrystal.
 
#16
Cuddles said:
I really couldn't care less if the new CG in AFG was called Fungus the B4starding Bogeyman if he is going to have a good crack at the situation.
Agreed. Still curious about the name though.


Cuddles said:
Nor would I use the opportunity for a cheap anti-semitic jibe based on the oddities of trade-guild naming in 14th century Mitteleuropa and the vagaries of Ellis Island desk-officers...for shame cupoftea.
Shame? No shame!

Did I suggest that there is anything wrong with putting the words for shiny things into your name? Gold this Gold that, Diamond, Safire, Crystal, et al. Thais and Khmers do it too (and I'm sure there are more).

Why you would read anti-semitism into a simple observation on the sorts of names jewish people have, in a discourse about the origins of someone's name I don't know. I've been called an anti-semite for questioning the carry-on of Israel but for noticing something about their names? For gods sake.


Edit: sorry for the diversion chaps.
 
#17
Could it be that the departing general was a sacrifice to Karzi who was mighty pished off at collateral losses of civilians from air strikes. Exactly what these were intended to achieve is dubious anyway as they did not seem to be surgical precise attacks anyway and sometime or other there is no substitute for boots on ground, All in favour at my house for GTFO 'gan anyway so long as we come away with them. Nothing will ever be achieved in the long run. Never has been, never will be.
The cost - $,£ and men - to keep terrorism away from homeland at such a far reach would be more effectively spent on a small radius around us and USA. We and them are developing means to do this with new immigration laws and tightening up of internal intelligence gathering.
 
#18
I suspect McKiernon got the sack as he was seen as too coventional in his approach to counter-insurgency and he had referred to the campaign as reaching a stalemate.

The Afghan Government has been increasing pressure on the US over excessive use of air strikes and collateral damage. With the elections approaching and the troop surge coming on line now seems a good time to change.

Maybe the UK should be a bit more prepared to shuffle the pack if we're not winning. We went through quite a few Generals in WW2 before we started winning. Are we winning now?
 
#19
One_of_the_strange said:
My top tip is that the US are getting ready to redefine victory, pop smoke and GTFO of AFG in fairly short order. This isn't an Obama / Bush thing, its the realisation that fighting an unwinnable war while a nuclear exchange takes place on your MSRs is a pretty dumb thing to do. The US will not commit to AFG for the decades necessary to establish lasting change - I'd go for the best part of a century myself - and so it's time to go.
How did this become an unwinnable war when the Taliban had their backs to the wall by until we focused resources away to the Iraq theater? Did something change in the interim that neutralizes a robust operational approach backed by resources and leadership that understands COIN?

I don't personally think so, but then again shifting approaches isn't going to happen in a month or two. Everyone criticizes us for not being patient of hanging in there to work a solution and, now, when we do we get criticized for trying to put the time and energy into it.

You Euro's, we're damned if we have a short attention span and damned if we put the resources in for the long run.

Still your accents are quaint and who could stay made at a people who gave us Monty Python and Benny Hill?

A few Taliban in a mountain valley 80 miles from Islamabad isn't exactly the death knell for Pakistan the press has been spouting. And I don't think we're at the point where the Taliban will have control of Pakistani nukes. Let's keep our heads screwed on for God's sakes.

For the record I don't buy into that fiction that circulates that Afghanistan has always been unwinnable. History shows otherwise. The Persians and Mongols ruled the place for centuries.
 
#20
Winchester said:
Some of this may be that Gen Patreus doesn't see eye to eye on with Gen Mckiernan. They had clashes over issues in Iraq.
It's worse than that, Mckiernan was Petreus' commander until P got promoted past him and became his boss at CENTCOM. They were not close before and never warmed to each other afterwards.

It does seems though that you need to have some form of Celtic ancestry to get to 4* in the US Army.
Last 2 ISAF Commanders - Gen Dan McNeil, Gen David Mckiernan
New guy - McChrystal.
We all have our burdens.
 

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