According to that consummate military expert, Rush Limbaugh, Gen. Stanley McChrystal “didn’t get the rules of engagement” or the number of “boots on the ground” he wanted in Afghanistan. However, regardless of Limbaugh’s bovistations, it is well known that McChrystal has stated the rules of engagement are based on his “experience,” and has agreed President Obama provided the “right number” of additional troops.
During his 23 Jun 09 broadcast Rush said, “Well, it made a big difference to McChrystal. It’s a big difference. He didn’t get the boots on the ground that he asked for. He didn’t get the rules of engagement that he — saddled with. But we elected the guy, so we live with it. Yip-yip-yip-yip-yahoo, ta-da-ta-da-ta-da.”
Of course Rush, being documented as being right 99.9% of the time, always gets everything right, as clearly demonstrated in declassified portions of a revised “Tactical Directive” to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan issued in July 2009, wherein McChrystal wrote that American troops should avoid “causing civilian casualties or excessive damage and thus alienating the people” and that “excessive use of force resulting in an alienated population will produce far greater risks.” [NATO, 7/6/09]
But wait, that’s not all, McChrystal also agreed with a U.S. senator’s statement that he was not “directed” to implement rules of engagement. During a 9 Dec 09, Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, GEN McChrystal was asked by Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), “General McChrystal, the rules of engagement within Afghanistan emphasize minimizing civilian casualties. That was a point you made when you took over, and Admiral Mullen made the same point yesterday at Camp Lejeune.
“That is based, I think — and let — I don’t want to be presumptuous, but my understanding is based on your experience, your understanding of counterinsurgency warfare, the experience of the — the Soviets before us that it’s not — that you are not directed to do that by anyone, is that correct?”
And, oh snap, guess what the General answered? “That — that is correct, Senator. I did, before I deployed out, watch the situation going on. So I had formed opinions but got no specific direction.”
The important part of the statement is, “So I had formed opinions but got no specific direction.” He was given no “specific direction” regarding the rules of engagement (ROE) in Afghanistan. HE WAS GIVEN NO “SPECIFIC DIRECTION” REGARDING THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT IN AFGHANISTAN! So Rush, who has
never spent a single day in uniform, needs to remember that when he – or his ditto-heads – try to blame the ROE on President Obama.
Furthermore, Michael Hastings’ 22 June profile of McChrystal in Rolling Stone (the profile that consequently lead to the general’s professional demise), reported that McChrystal advocated “a controversial military strategy known as counterinsurgency” in Afghanistan and that “[i]n the end … McChrystal got almost exactly what he wanted.” Hastings also reported that McChrystal defended the rules of engagement during a question-and-answer session with soldiers, stating in part, “What I’m telling you is, fire costs you. What do you want to do? You want to wipe the population out here and resettle it?” Of course Rush very conveniently avoided any sections of the profile where decisions such as these were made by the general. Instead wanting to blame the President for any and all military decisions made in theater.
Concerning his “counterinsurgency” strategy, in his 30 Aug 09, commander’s assessment of the strategy in Afghanistan, McChrystal wrote that NATO forces require “a new strategy that is credible to, and sustainable by, the Afghans.” He continued: “This new strategy must also be properly resourced and executed through an integrated civilian-military counterinsurgency campaign that earns the support of the Afghan people and provides them with a secure environment.” McChrystal also stated that his strategy “requires more forces” in order to “accomplish the mission with appropriate and acceptable risk.” [NATO, 8/30/09]
President Obama responded to the general’s request, in his 1 Dec 09, address at West Point, the president announced his decision to send 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan. President Obama also emphasized “a more effective civilian strategy, so that the government can take advantage of improved security.” He continued:
“This effort must be based on performance. The days of providing a blank check are over. President Karzai’s inauguration speech sent the right message about moving in a new direction. And going forward, we will be clear about what we expect from those who receive our assistance. We’ll support Afghan ministries, governors, and local leaders that combat corruption and deliver for the people. We expect those who are ineffective or corrupt to be held accountable. And we will also focus our assistance in areas — such as agriculture — that can make an immediate impact in the lives of the Afghan people.
“The people of Afghanistan have endured violence for decades. They’ve been confronted with occupation — by the Soviet Union, and then by foreign al Qaeda fighters who used Afghan land for their own purposes. So tonight, I want the Afghan people to understand — America seeks an end to this era of war and suffering. We have no interest in occupying your country. We will support efforts by the Afghan government to open the door to those Taliban who abandon violence and respect the human rights of their fellow citizens. And we will seek a partnership with Afghanistan grounded in mutual respect — to isolate those who destroy; to strengthen those who build; to hasten the day when our troops will leave; and to forge a lasting friendship in which America is your partner, and never your patron.” [WhiteHouse.gov, 12/1/09]
McChrystal was pleased with President Obama’s comments and subsequently stated the “coalition is encouraged by President Obama’s commitment” to the war. A 2 Dec 09, press release issued by Gen. McChrystal praised the President’s address on the war in Afghanistan. McChrystal said in the release that “[t]he clarity, commitment and resolve outlined in the President’s address are critical steps toward bringing security to Afghanistan and eliminating terrorist safe havens that threaten regional and global security.” He further stated that “[t]he 42 other nations of the Coalition will benefit from a strengthened U.S. commitment.”
McChrystal further praised the president’s change in strategy during congressional hearings just days after Obama’s announcement he told the Senate Armed Services Committee, “I participated fully in the President’s Assessment and decision-making process and was afforded multiple opportunities to provide my recommendations and best military advice — which I did. Combined with insights and policy considerations from across our Government, I believe the decisions that came from that process reflect a realistic and effective approach.” McChrystal went on to say: “The President’s decision rapidly resources our strategy, recognizes that the next 18 months will likely be decisive, and ultimately, enables success. I fully support the President’s decision. The President has also reiterated how this decision supports our national interests. Rolling back the Taliban is a pre-requisite to the ultimate defeat of al-Qaeda.” [Senate Armed Services Committee, 12/8/09]
But Rush – the great arm chair general that he is – has also tried to sell the opinion that the president did not provide McChrystal with adequate boots on the ground, in-spite-of the general agreeing 30,000 troops was the “right number” of additional U.S. troops to send to Afghanistan. From McChrystal’s 8 Dec 09, appearance before the House Armed Services Committee (accessed from Nexis), Rep Randy Forbes (R-VA) apparently hoping to demonstrate President Obama’s lack of support for his newly appointed general said, “Here’s the core of what every member of this committee needs to know and the American people need to know. In your experience, in your best military advice, should we send 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan or a number greater than 30,000 — not what you requested, not what were in documents, not what the president ordered — in your best military advice?”
McChrystal was quick to reply, “In my best military advice, this is the right decision. The additional coalition forces that I expect will be helpful as well. But I believe that this is the right … “
Forbes cut in, “So you believe 30,000 would be the right number?”
McChrystal replied, “Of U.S. forces, yes, sir.”
But GEN McChrystal has again offered support for President Obama’s strategy in his resignation statement wherein he stated, “I strongly support the President’s strategy in Afghanistan.” Followed by an issued statement after his resignation he was again stated his support for Obama’s Afghanistan strategy, “This morning the President accepted my resignation as Commander of U.S. and NATO Coalition Forces in Afghanistan. I strongly support the President’s strategy in Afghanistan and am deeply committed to our coalition forces, our partner nations, and the Afghan people. It was out of respect for this commitment — and a desire to see the mission succeed — that I tendered my resignation.
“It has been my privilege and honor to lead our nations’ finest.”
So, once again, America’s self proclaimed “truth detector” doesn’t come anywhere close to the truth, but instead shows a lack of understanding for the subject, and a clear lack of caring whether what he say has any truth in it.
(Thanks to our friends at Media Matters for providing the quotes and background info)