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Old 06-24-2010, 06:15 PM   #41
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I guess my perspective two different Presidents, two different decisions, both probably made/would have made the best decision for their situation. For Bush, IMO the decision would have been based more on his relationship/trust/confidence with the General. For President Obama, IMO it was based more on public/politcal perception and my opinion that the current President does not handle criticism well, nor should he have to when it is someone who works for him..
It could be. I also think that Bush, whatever else one may say about him good or bad (and not relevant here, thank you), one unmistakable trait he possessed was a fierce dedication to loyalty. He demanded it from others under him and returned it equally to those who gave theirs. Sometimes I thought he was loyal to a fault, actually, not willing to throw people under the bus who needed to be thrown there (IMO) and retaining the services of people who really shouldn't have remained in their positions.
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Old 06-24-2010, 06:40 PM   #42
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Having read the article I agree with SamClem, what the article quoted McChrystal as saying and what the media is saying the article said are pretty different. A heck of a lot of things were actually said by his staff.

Which leads to my main question how many different staffers said these things? If it is one staffer, this guy may just be uncommonly stupid,or have a grudge against McChrystal and decide to frag the General using non lethal means. If on the other hand it is a half-dozen staffer than this reflect badly on his leadership and he really does deserve to go.

Ari Fleisher, Bush's Press Secretary, had an interesting the Pentagon Press office screwed up also, by allowing a Rolling Stone reporter this level of access to the General. Rolling Stone has a long history of writing, lengthy and very controversial articles like this one.
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It is fine to let Rolling Stones embed reporters with individual units, you get some great articles like Generation Kill, which leads to equally good HBO series, but why let them hang around a top General who doesn't have a reputation for being tight-lipped?

Still after reading the article, the President had no choice, and replacing him with Patreaus actually may be the best thing.
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Old 06-24-2010, 07:03 PM   #43
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The reason I said morale would improve is an article that said after McChrystal made a speech to the troops, they didn't even applaud. That's telling!
Well the context of the troops not applauding (and I don't know if is customary or not to do so in the field) is because COIN creates a huge conflict between a General goals and that of the junior officers and NCO.

For the most part the goal of Lieutenant or Sargent on deployment is to bring his troops home alive and with all of their body parts. In normal conflict this is pretty consistent with the priorities of the Generals

1. Keep your own guys safe
2. Kill the bad guys
3. Avoid civilian causalities.

The articles discusses COIN but doesn't do a great job of explaining the inherent conflicts. In COIN the priorities are completely switched.

1. Avoid civilian causalities
2. Kill the bad guys
3. Keep your own guys safe.


The rules of engagements are designed to emphasis these priorities and are almost certain to piss of the average soldier. They are also pretty much incomprehensible to the American public, when talked about in isolation.

The impressive thing about David Patreausis in Iraq is that he got American soldiers at all levels to buy in to accepting short-term risks, in order to accomplish the long term goals. It doesn't sound like McChrystal was being as successful in Afghanistan.
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Old 06-24-2010, 08:13 PM   #44
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It doesn't sound like McChrystal was being as successful in Afghanistan.
I read the opposite - he was a guy the troop would fight for. He responded followed up with concerns/emails from the ground troops and went into the field with. Even the British troops were surprised to see him in the field next to them. The rules of engagement that he put in place have been controversial (and what your read) - maybe too stringent.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/op...-96873364.html
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Old 06-24-2010, 10:48 PM   #45
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Having read the article I agree with SamClem, what the article quoted McChrystal as saying and what the media is saying the article said are pretty different.

+1

After reading the article last night, I was amazed at the difference between what was actually in Rolling Stone and what other media personalities were paraphrasing the article as saying.........

It also made me wonder how Obama could have placed McChrystal in that position in the first place. McChrystal's penchant for speaking his mind and criticizing authority was well documented according to Rolling Stone.
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Old 06-25-2010, 09:37 AM   #46
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Having read the article I agree with SamClem, what the article quoted McChrystal as saying and what the media is saying the article said are pretty different. A heck of a lot of things were actually said by his staff.
Count me with the others on this. I guess I'm just too ADD to slog through all 6 pages of that writing style, so I did some skimming and maybe missed it - but what did he actually say that was so bad?

I focused on the Biden comments, because I read earlier that McChrystal first called Biden to apologize/warn him about the article. But what I got out of it was that McChrystal had earlier said some conflicting things regarding Biden, and McChrystal kept getting flack from reporters on this (maybe hoping he'd trip up again and they'd have their headline?). So the "Biden Who?" statement was reported by staff, and I got the impression it was really self-deprecating humor on McChrystal's part - that he knew he had to be careful about what he said about Biden, so he was kidding around that he didn't want to even take a Biden question - "Biden Who?". And this seemed to be in an internal 'prep for the press' meeting, not a public event at all.

What did I miss?

Obama's move may or may not have been the right thing to do, I don't know enough to even have an opinion on it.

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Old 06-25-2010, 10:11 AM   #47
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What did I miss?
Nothing. It is a reflection on the 24 hr. news cycle that needs to be fed and the mindlessness of the reporters.
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Old 06-25-2010, 11:52 AM   #48
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It could be. I also think that Bush, whatever else one may say about him good or bad (and not relevant here, thank you), one unmistakable trait he possessed was a fierce dedication to loyalty. He demanded it from others under him and returned it equally to those who gave theirs. Sometimes I thought he was loyal to a fault, actually, not willing to throw people under the bus who needed to be thrown there (IMO) and retaining the services of people who really shouldn't have remained in their positions.
I agree. In this situation, it really didn't matter much to this President who said what, bottom line the General was responsible. This move made him look tough and to some extent Presidential, just what he needed.
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Old 06-25-2010, 12:13 PM   #49
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I agree. In this situation, it really didn't matter much to this President who said what, bottom line the General was responsible. This move made him look tough and to some extent Presidential, just what he needed.
Too bad he didn't fill the whole bus...or maybe he's saving that for after the midterm elections?
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Old 06-25-2010, 06:30 PM   #50
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Carter Relieved Gen Singlaub in 1977. Who else remembers that? Seems like history repeats itself often.

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In 1977, while Singlaub was chief of staff of U.S. forces in South Korea, he publicly criticized President Jimmy Carter's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from the Korean peninsula. On March 21, 1977, Carter relieved him of duty for overstepping his bounds and failing to respect the President's authority as Commander-in-Chief.[7][8]
John K. Singlaub - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 06-25-2010, 09:41 PM   #51
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For what it's worth, Gen. Singlaub does not believe he 'critized President Carter's decision' as according to him the decision had not been made yet, and yes he was opposed to the withdrawal or troops. If I remember that period, and I can't say I am right, but I believe his resignation caused a change in the Presidents policy with regards to Korea.
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Old 06-25-2010, 11:26 PM   #52
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I highly recommend reading David Brooks terrific column in Thursday NY Times.

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Another scalp is on the wall. Government officials will erect even higher walls between themselves and the outside world. The honest and freewheeling will continue to flee public life, and the cautious and calculating will remain.
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Old 06-26-2010, 12:00 AM   #53
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I highly recommend reading David Brooks terrific column in Thursday NY Times.
Thanks. I don't always respect Dave Brooks but this is an excellent article and well worth a few mins to read.
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Old 06-26-2010, 06:37 AM   #54
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Brooks' column is good. Makes you long for a day when family and personal stuff, and "kvetching," were off limits for reporters. None of the McCrystal stuff would have any bearing on anything if the reporter had focused on what he was doing rather than what he was saying. But he didn't...
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Old 06-26-2010, 09:06 AM   #55
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I think the speech that McChrystal made in London last fall that undercut Obama was strike one or two.
Oh yea, now I remember strike one. It was accusations that he was part of the Pat Tillman fratricide cover up.

FOXNews.com - Filmmaker Says McChrystal Part of Pat Tillman Cover Up, Surprised at His Obama Remarks

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Tillman's father told the New York Daily News on Wednesday that "I do believe [McChrystal] participated in a falsified homicide investigation."
McChrystal did not share his side of the story in the film, despite the filmmakers' request, Bar-Lev said.
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Old 06-26-2010, 09:31 AM   #56
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Certainly, gotcha journalism is a double-edged sword. I'd have been canned long ago...
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Old 06-26-2010, 09:40 AM   #57
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I highly recommend reading David Brooks terrific column in Thursday NY Times.
I don't care for Brooks but agree with the article. Gossip rules. As a result of Watergate, many reporters have tried to make their name via the 'got-ya'. Now 24 hr cable and bloggers need to be fed.
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Old 06-26-2010, 12:51 PM   #58
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Which leads to my main question how many different staffers said these things? If it is one staffer, this guy may just be uncommonly stupid,or have a grudge against McChrystal and decide to frag the General using non lethal means. If on the other hand it is a half-dozen staffer than this reflect badly on his leadership and he really does deserve to go.
"Command climate".

At this level it's not about how smart or how articulate or inspirational or even competent the flag officer is. It's all about how he can influence & motivate a team of smart, articulate, inspirational, and competent leaders.

Eisenhower spent a tremendous amount of time doing things other than sitting in his office "engaging" with his people. He was notorious for presidential golf but even during WWII he was out & about with the troops or walking or otherwise out of his staff's hair so that they could do their job. Contrast his leadership example with a smart nuclear-trained submariner like Jimmy Carter who involved himself in every detail of the responsibilities & performance of his subordinates.

I'm not explicitly trashing the submarine force, just making fun of its stereotypes. For every guy like Carter there are a number of real human beings like Tom Fargo.
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Old 06-26-2010, 05:03 PM   #59
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I highly recommend reading David Brooks terrific column in Thursday NY Times.
Wow. I generally gag at Brook's comments, but that seemed very down-to-earth.

I really don't get this. Man, I can recall some 'war room' settings at MegaCorp, where as soon as the Veep setting our 'marching orders' left the room, we trash talked him/her far worse than anything I'm reading here. Then we went off to get the job done, 'cause we had to. And we weren't talking life/death situations, and most of us weren't hardened military types. This sounds like kid glove stuff to me, compared to what I would expect under such a stressful situation.

I don't want to second guess Obama's decision, but I am curious about something. For the forum members here who do feel it was the right thing to do, why do you feel so strongly about it?

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Old 06-26-2010, 05:38 PM   #60
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Wow. I generally gag at Brook's comments, but that seemed very down-to-earth.


I don't want to second guess Obama's decision, but I am curious about something. For the forum members here who do feel it was the right thing to do, why do you feel so strongly about it?

-ERD50
In a word because I don't want the US to end up like Turkey.

The military in Turkey, like the US, is highly respected institution. The difference is that in Turkey when the civilian leadership starts doing autocratic/unconstitutional things, the military steps in an institutes a, generally bloodless, coup. Now in Turkey's case these coups are generally a good thing, but for most of the rest of the world it isn't example Burma.

It all starts when the military thinks that it is nominal civilian bosses are a bunch of corrupt, incompetent idiots and decides it can do a better job. Now we probably can't stop stupid, corrupt, incompetent folks from being in government, and we certainly can't stop military leaders from recognizing the obvious.

What we can do is continue make military leaders fearful of expressing their thoughts about civilian leadership because they know they'll lose their job. It sort of a like a lion tamer in a circus, the lions really have all the power, but it is the lion tamers job to use the whip to keep them in line and prevent them from every figuring that out. You are right, what McChrystal staff said wasn't worse than what people routinely say about their bosses and others, but we aren't lions.
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