Michael's Dispatches

New Boss for Afghan Fight

9 Comments

11 May 2009

The inbox is full this morning.  General McKiernan, our top leader in Afghanistan, is to be replaced.  National Review Online and others have asked me for comment.  Am in between training here in Borneo so there is no time for much, but I did send this to NRO:

"In December 2008, I saw General McKiernan briefing Secretary Gates in Afghanistan.  That's as close as I've come to General McKiernan.  Though I do not personally know General McKiernan, I have heard only positive reports about him.  His replacement, Lieutenant General Stanley McChrystal, has an outstanding reputation in the special operations community.  McChrystal has a solid reputation for knowing the fight.  Unfortunately, though our special operators are the best in the world at the fight, they only stumble and fumble with the press.  With media, our special operations forces are clueless and self-defeating.  This is crucial.  McChrystal can win every fight on the ground and still lose the war.  Time will reveal whether McChrystal can adapt and win."


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  • This commment is unpublished.
    CS Barnett · 9 years ago
    Dear Michael,
    Do you think, that in order to calm down Karsai after the latest Taliban attack that killed so many people, and his trip, here, to squawk to Obama and Clinton, that General McKiernan, is the fall-guy? This business of wars being waged against a vicious enemy not supposing to have civilian casualties, especially, Muslims casualties, regardless of what they do to provoke us, or Israel, or citizens of Western European countries they attack, threaten and terrorize, is ludicrous. Karzai's approval of the barbaric treatment of women and girls -innocents all-encoded in the Islamic Laws the Afghans have adopted as their body of laws presents a double-standard.The Taliban endanger innocent civilians for terror, to change and force laws onto the women and girls,such as the poisoning of the girl's school revealed ,yesterday, and to conquer and intimidate the population into doing what they want it to do. Karsia's brother is, also, a huge drug dealer , I understand.
    Thank you for all you are doing,
    CS.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    casstx2 · 9 years ago
    "Unfortunately, though our special operators are the best in the world at the fight, they only stumble and fumble with the press. "

    If they deign to meet the press. Not all do, nor are all seen. Sorry, but I feel that was a real putdown to the guys at the tip of the spear, so I have to disagree with you on this one.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    casstx2 · 9 years ago
    "Unfortunately, though our special operators are the best in the world at the fight, they only stumble and fumble with the press. "

    If they deign to meet the press. Not all do, nor are all seen. Sorry, but I feel that was a real putdown to the guys at the tip of the spear, so I have to disagree with you on this one.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    thedametruth · 9 years ago
    Let us hope that for once, the craven, corrupt and clueless media are not given the chance to wage the war. It is time for those who are skilled in such matters to take charge.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Diggs · 9 years ago
    I do know McKiernan; worked for him when he was CFLCC commander. Not a day passed by that he wasn't working hard for the troops and for a solid victory in Iraq. With Thurman as his DCG, things went really well.
    However, his firing means that Obama now owns whatever happens in OEF. No blaming Bush for failure in OEF. And don't worry about the media. Though always looking for a way to promote defeat for Bush, they will now work double overtime to see to it that OEF is promoted as THE BEST RUN WAR EVER, with Obama as THE MOST BRILLIANT CINC STRATEGIST EVER.
    Given what he's done with the auto and bank industries, expect Obama to start giving mission orders down at the squad level.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    maddy · 9 years ago
    If special forces have trouble dealing with the media, why desn't the military assign a support group to deal with them, so the soldiers do not have to do so? End of problem. Keep them separated!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    tb · 9 years ago
    I have had the honor of knowing "Ranger" McChrystal since 1982. He is a brilliant warrior and one of the finest troop leaders we have. And he can handle the press. Remember he was the Pentagon Spokesman during the early OEF days, before they let him go back to JSOC and the finest special operators in the world.
    We can do no better than having men of this caliber at the top. LTG McKiernan is a casualty of the times, he is still a great leader, just a holdover from the previous administration. "Diggs" has the media plan already!
    Keep on keeping us informed!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Steven E. Gough · 9 years ago
    It pleases me greatly to see this shift at the top. LTG McKiernan is a solid warrior and has done a fantastic job in the face of enormous pressure politically. The selection of McChrystal was brilliant and he will truly bring a new perspective and strategy to the fight. As a former operator still working in the community training our forces, they also see this as an opportunity to excel and take the battle to the enemy. The media can be an ally if dealt with positively. However in their quest for a story to sell they often forget the basic premises of operational security and information operations. Often I have seen the large media organizations unwittingly become the pawn of our enemy's. This must stop in order for our forces to defeat this enemy. Keep up the solid work Michael. It was a pleasure to serve with you back in tjhe day and IO look forward to us meeting again and hoisting a Reutberg Helles! the unofficial beer of 1/10 SFG(A)
  • This commment is unpublished.
    jim burke · 9 years ago
    I can only relate to activities more than 40 years ago but as a rule of thumb had we fragged every media type that come around and we would have been further ahead.

    Every time "war corespondents", with or without camera crews came around they wheedled their way into the unit and were treated with camaraderie and good faith. We shared our "C's", beer, and trust.
    In every occasion they consumed our C's, beer, and good faith and ultimately betrayed us.

    Mike, I've been reading you for at long time and you seem to have broken the mold. Why else would I have sent you many hundreds of $$$. You are the exception that disproves the rule.

    My advice to the troops no matter where they may be is to shun the media in every way shape and form.
    Take them out behind the latrine and kick the crap out of them and send them on the way.

    Unfortunately our troops are well meaning, naive, trusting young people and will get worked over just like the media has for the past 60 years.

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