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Ear to the Ground

McChrystal Draws Support, Scorn on Capitol Hill

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Posted on Oct 6, 2009

A man, a plan, a microphone: Gen. Stanley McChrystal has been accused of recently airing his opinions about Afghanistan too publicly.

What’s the right way for a top general to advise the president about wartime strategy? What if his recommended strategy is potentially at odds with the president’s preferred course of action? Gen. Stanley McChrystal ran up against these questions in recent days, and not everyone in Washington thinks he handled his part in the matter appropriately. However, McChrystal has a few supporters as well, such as (perhaps unsurprisingly) President Obama’s onetime rival, Sen. John McCain.  —KA

Reuters via Google News:

Since then, McChrystal has met privately with President Barack Obama during Obama’s quick trip to Copenhagen last Friday, a session White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said was constructive.

He has been publicly flogged by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who on Monday without mentioning his name said it was best for civilian and military leaders to “provide our best advice to the president candidly but privately.”

And the White House national security adviser, retired General Jim Jones, scolded McChrystal, telling CBS’ “Face the Nation” program that McChrystal’s Afghan assessment was his “opinion” and that, “The president should be presented with options, not just one fait accompli.”

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By limo, October 7, 2009 at 9:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well, general McChrystal know very well what is right for Afghan’s war..

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By Mary Ann McNeely, October 7, 2009 at 10:52 am Link to this comment

By pikawicca, October 6 at 9:40 pm #

Who knew that Eisenhower’s warnings about the “Military Industrial Complex” would prove to be so accurate?  The only change needed to make his quote more accurate would be to rename it the “Military Industrial Insurance Complex.”  We are screwed, people.

That bears repeating!

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By pikawicca, October 6, 2009 at 6:40 pm Link to this comment

Who knew that Eisenhower’s warnings about the “Military Industrial Complex” would prove to be so accurate?  The only change needed to make his quote more accurate would be to rename it the “Military Industrial Insurance Complex.”  We are screwed, people.

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By bluejeanne, October 6, 2009 at 2:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The first casualty of war is the Truth. 

Let us not forget the poignant news of Patrick Tillman’s death in the War in Afghanistan and the extreme cover-up by the upper echelons of the military establishment when considering the reassessment of the “strategy” of this War.

Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal approved the Silver Star citation on April 28, 2004, which gave a detailed account of Pat Tillman’s death including the phrase “in the line of devastating enemy fire”, but the next day he sent a P4 memo warning senior government members that Tillman might actually have been killed by friendly fire. Top commanders within the U.S. Central Command, including former Commander of the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) General John Abizaid, should have been notified by the P4 memo, which described Tillman’s “highly possible” fratricide, four days before Tillman’s nationally televised memorial service during which he was lauded as a war hero for dying while engaging the enemy.

Tillman’s family was not informed of the finding that he was killed by friendly fire until weeks after his memorial service, although at least some senior Army officers knew of that fact prior to the service According to author and journalist Jon Krakauer’s book Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman, the extensive cover-up that followed his death included the military ordering Tillman’s comrades to lie to his family at the funeral. Tillman’s parents have sharply criticized the Army’s handling of the incident; Tillman’s father charges that the Army “purposely interfered in the investigation” because of the effect it could have on their recruiting efforts, while Tillman’s mother charges that “this lie was to cover their image”.

His mother Mary Tillman told The Washington Post, “The fact that he was the ultimate team player and he watched his own men kill him is absolutely heartbreaking and tragic. The fact that they lied about it afterward is disgusting.” Tillman’s father, Patrick Tillman, Sr., was incensed by the coverup of the cause of his son’s death, which he attributed to a conscious decision by the leadership of the U.S. Army to protect the Army’s image.

He also blamed high-ranking Army officers for presenting “outright lies” to the family and to the public.

Later, Tillman’s father suggested in a letter to The Washington Post that the Army hierarchy’s purported mistakes were part of a pattern of conscious misconduct:

“ With respect to the Army’s reference to ‘mistakes in reporting the circumstances of [my son’s] death’: those ‘mistakes’ were deliberate, calculated, ordered (repeatedly), and disgraceful — conduct well beneath the standard to which every soldier in the field is held.”

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