Tag Archives: General Stanley A. McChrystal
Pat Tillman’s mother is calling for the dismissal of GEN Stanley McChrystal from his recent appointment by the White House as co-chair of a commission on military families. Mary Tillman, whose son left his NFL career to become an Army Ranger following the terrorist attacks on 9-11 and who was later killed in Afghanistan by friendly fire in April 2004, said McChrystal — the commander of special operations in Afghanistan at the time — was involved in the cover-up of the circumstances surrounding her son’s death and said President Obama’s appointment of the now-retired general “makes him look foolish.”
“I was actually pretty shocked to hear it; I don’t think it’s the appropriate choice,” Tillman told ABC News. “Considering that we have plenty of evidence indicating that McChrystal was involved in the cover-up of Pat’s death. . .he’s not the right person for that kind of a job.”
Amen to that Mrs. Tillman. Anyone, least of all a senior officer, who is involved in a cover-up surrounding one of his soldier’s deaths, has forfeited the trust of his subordinates, and their families. How does any family believe this guy will ever have their best interest at heart? How can they believe anything he tells them about their family members?
Not long after Tillman was killed in 2004, he was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for bravery. The Army’s initial report did not include any mention Tillman was killed by friendly fire and misrepresented key facts of the incident; McChrystal was the approving authority and the individual who submitted the award up the chain of command.
In 2009, McChrystal admitted to being part of the cover-up and apologized for it. Last year, McChrystal was dismissed as commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan after an article in Rolling Stone quoted the general and members of his staff disparaging senior Obama administration officials. So, one has to ask, why is this smuck still around? Why hasn’t he been asked to, as Douglas MacArthur once said, “fade away”?
It’s time to fade away General, it’s time to fade away.
During an appearance on Tuesday’s (29 Jun 10) Fox and Friends, God’s Self-proclaimed spokesman, Glenn Beck, suggested that the rules of engagement (ROE) in Afghanistan prevent American soldiers and marines from defending themselves, saying that American leaders (aka President Obama) should “take the shackles off our troops; they have a right to defend themselves.” Only problem with Bruder Beck’s suggestion is, well, current ROE states “that no one is ever denied the right to self-defense.”
Fox and Friends talking head Steve Doocy asked the Beckster what he wants GEN Petraeus to say, “You know, I’m going to start pulling things out in a year?”
Beck replied, “First of all — first of all, if our troops feel they’re in danger, shoot to kill. Take the shackles off our troops; they have a right to defend themselves. Enough with this little medal where — you know, it’s very interesting to me that the radicals who are now in charge from the 1960s who used to call our troops baby killers and really under George Bush did everything but call them baby killers, he was ‘General Betray-us.’ They give an award now for having restraint. That’s just a nice way of saying here’s a medal for not killing a baby. It’s the same thing. Take the handcuffs off and respect these people.”
Of course, the truth of the matter is that according to current rules, “no one is ever denied the right to self-defense”, in fact, the incoming commander, GEN David Petraeus, in a 17 Mar 10 congressional hearing (accessed via Nexis), testified that the directive emphasizing the protection of civilian lives “says that no one is ever denied the right to self-defense, nor will we ever hesitate, if someone is pinned down by fire, in responding to ensure that those troopers never feel as if they’re fighting with their hands tied behind their back.”
And in declassified portions of a revised “Tactical Directive” to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan issued in July 2009, outgoing commander, GEN Stanley McChrystal wrote: “This directive does not prevent commanders from protecting the lives of their men and women as a matter of self-defense where it is determined no other options (specific options deleted due to operational safety) are available to effectively counter the threat.” McChrystal also wrote: “I recognize that the carefully controlled and disciplined employment of force entails risks to our troops — and we must work to mitigate that risk wherever possible. But excessive use of force resulting in an alienated population will produce far greater risks.”
At the stroke of midnight, Wednesday was just another day of making stuff up for Beck; and just another day of spreading falsehoods and half truths for Fox News.
(thanks again to our friends at Media Matters)
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)
General Stanley A. McChrystal, USA, the current Commander, International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A) previously served as Commander, Joint Special Operations Command from 2003 to 2008, where he played an active role in the cover-up of the Pat Tillman friendly fire incident.
Corporal Tillman – Defensive Back for the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals – enlisted in the U.S. Army following the terrorist attack on 9-11-01. He was killed by friendly fire while serving as an Army Ranger in Afghanistan in 2004. Within a day of Tillman’s death, McChrystal was notified that Tillman was a victim of fratricide. Shortly thereafter, McChrystal was put in charge of paperwork to award Tillman a posthumous Silver Star for valor.
On April 28, 2004, six days after Tillman’s death, McChrystal approved a final draft of the Silver Star recommendation and submitted it to the acting Secretary of the Army, even though the medal recommendation deliberately omitted any mention of friendly fire, included the phrase “in the line of devastating enemy fire,” and was accompanied by fabricated witness statements.
On April 29, 2004, McChrystal sent an urgent memo warning White House speechwriters not to quote the medal recommendation in any statements they wrote for President Bush because it “might cause public embarrassment if the circumstances of Corporal Tillman’s death become public.” McChrystal was one of eight officers recommended for discipline by a subsequent Pentagon investigation but the Army declined to take action against him.
McChrystal also served as commander of what Newsweek termed “the most secretive force in the U.S. military,” where he maintained a very low profile until June 2006, when his forces were responsible for the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq. After McChrystal’s team successfully located Zarqawi and called in the air strike that killed him, McChrystal accompanied his men to the bombed-out hut to personally identify the body.
McChrystal’s Zarqawi unit, Task Force 6-26, became more well-known for its interrogation methods, particularly at Camp Nama, where it was accused of abusing detainees. After the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse scandal became public in April 2004, 34 members of McChrystal’s the task force were disciplined, but he was not.
Having deliberately taken part in falsifying an award, and in knowingly covering up the death of a U.S. soldier, plus having commanded a task force that abused detainees, how can anyone truly trust the man who is in charge of the United State’s war effort in Afghanistan?
Clearly we now live in a time when the words, duty, honor and country are merely that, words. Clearly the much publicized seven Army Values, values such as respect and integrity, in reality, have very little “value” to men such as Gen. McChrystal, even though one point of the Soldier’s Creed of the United State’s Army clearly states, “I serve the people of the United States and live the Army Values.”
According to the Army Values, “Integrity” means to “Do what’s right—legally and morally”.
“The American people rightly look to their military leaders not only to be skilled in the technical aspects of the profession of arms, but also to be men of integrity. People of integrity consistently act according to principles—not just what might work at the moment. People of integrity do the right thing not because it’s convenient or because they have no choice. They choose the right thing because their character permits no less.
“Conducting yourself with integrity has three parts: Separating what’s right from what’s wrong; always acting according to what you know to be right, even at personal cost; and saying openly that you’re acting on your understanding of right versus wrong.”
I’m finding it difficult to understand how anyone serving in today’s United State’s Army, much less as a General Officer can reconcile his part in lying and covering up the death of a soldier and the Army’s definition of integrity.
The Army Values define “Respect” that you “Treat people as they should be treated”.
“Army leaders honor everyone’s individual worth by treating all people with dignity and respect.”
“The leader who feels and gives the respect which is due to others cannot fail to inspire in them regard for himself. While he who feels, and hence manifests, disrespect toward others, especially his subordinates, cannot fail to inspire hatred against himself.
“Respect for the individual forms the basis for the rule of law, the very essence of what makes America. In the Army, respect means recognizing and appreciating the inherent dignity and worth of all people. This value reminds you that your people are your greatest resource.”
Clearly the Army’s definition of “respect” is different for the man who commanded a task force known for abusing detainees.
I’m also finding it difficult to understand what value this General still has to his country. How is his appointment to lead the new surge in Afghanistan of any worth to our country’s efforts there? Clearly he is a man without integrity, without honor and who does not respect others. If he did so, he would have resigned rather than lie to Pat Tillman’s family and to his country.
President Obama was wrong in placing him in command. He should have asked for his resignation, as well as the resignation of any other leaders who have in any way likewise soiled the reputation of the Army or of the United States. There are other men and women in the Army who can command and who still believe in what our country and in what our military stand for.