The following are excerpts from President Barack Obama’s speech on June 23, 2010, concerning the firing of General Stanley McChrystal arising from McChrystal’s statements made to a reporter for the Rolling Stone magazine, and a few comments made by this writer to what Obama stated:
THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon. Today I accepted General Stanley McChrystal's resignation as commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. I did so with considerable regret, but also with certainty that it is the right thing for our mission in Afghanistan, for our military, and for our country.
Although McChrystal displayed poor judgment in what he said to the Rolling Stone reporter, knowing the general's statements would be published, what he stated was in most instances true. The statements showed the disconnect and futility of continuing a war started by U.S. politicians that could not be won, and against people that had virtually nothing to do with the attack by al Qaeda terrorists on September 11, 2001. By keeping this information from the American public, allowing U.S. military personnel to continue to die or be horribly mutilated in combat does not serve or protect the United States.
I don't make this decision based on any difference in policy with General McChrystal, as we are in full agreement about our strategy. Nor do I make this decision out of any sense of personal insult. Stan McChrystal has always shown great courtesy and carried out my orders faithfully. I've got great admiration for him and for his long record of service in uniform.
But war is bigger than any one man or woman, whether a private, a general, or a president. And as difficult as it is to lose General McChrystal, I believe that it is the right decision for our national security.
Firing a military man for exposing facts that were responsible for needless deaths in a was sta4rted by U.S. politicians on a basis of lies and fraud harms, rather than protects, national security.
That includes adherence to a strict code of conduct. The strength and greatness of our military is rooted in the fact that this code applies equally to newly enlisted privates and to the general officer who commands them. That allows us to come together as one. That is part of the reason why America has the finest fighting force in the history of the world.
It is also true that our democracy depends upon institutions that are stronger than individuals. That includes strict adherence to the military chain of command, and respect for civilian control over that chain of command. And that's why, as Commander-in-Chief, I believe this decision is necessary to hold ourselves accountable to standards that are at the core of our democracy.
Strict adherence to the military chain of command--as during the Vietnam War--resulted in a continuing series of lies by military commanders hiding the truth about the unwinnable nature of the war, resulted in 58,000 military deaths and many horribly maimed military personnel. This prior practice is occurring in Afghanistan, though at a much lower casualty rate.
Second, I have a responsibility to do what is -- whatever is necessary to succeed in Afghanistan, and in our broader effort to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda. I believe that this mission demands unity of effort across our alliance and across my national security team. And I don't think that we can sustain that unity of effort and achieve our objectives in Afghanistan without making this change. That, too, has guided my decision.
A president's primary responsibility is being honest with the facts, rather than cover up for the truth, with resulting deaths and maiming of American military personnel.
I've just told my national security team that now is the time for all of us to come together. Doing so is not an option, but an obligation. I welcome debate among my team, but I won't tolerate division. All of us have personal interests; all of us have opinions. Our politics often fuels conflict, but we have to renew our sense of common purpose and meet our responsibilities to one another, and to our troops who are in harm's way, and to our country.
"Coming together" amounts to everyone repeating the same lies and ignoring the truth. Covering up for the truth, resulting in horrific war causalities, does not serve the troops or the nation.
We need to remember what this is all about. Our nation is at war. We face a very tough fight in Afghanistan. But Americans don't flinch in the face of difficult truths or difficult tasks. We persist and we persevere. We will not tolerate a safe haven for terrorists who want to destroy Afghan security from within, and launch attacks against innocent men, women, and children in our country and around the world.
The "need to remember" is that President George W. Bush started the war against Afghanistan and its people on the argument that they had a major responsibility for September 11, 2001, hijackings and terrorist attacks. The facts show that the Afghan government knew nothing about the planned attacks by a small al Qaeda group in the remote areas of the country; and ignores the fact that the primary "assistance" that made the hijacking actions successful were with people described in the two books: History of Aviation Disasters: 1950 to 9/11; and Crimes of the FBI-CIA, Mafia, and al Qaeda. (Available at amazon.com and other internet sources, in print and e-book formats, including the Kindle.
So make no mistake: We have a clear goal. We are going to break the Taliban's momentum. We are going to build Afghan capacity. We are going to relentlessly apply pressure on al Qaeda and its leadership, strengthening the ability of both Afghanistan and Pakistan to do the same.
"Clear goal" in Afghanistan is virtually impossible. For instance:
The country is controlled by tribes and war lords and not capable for many decades of having a functionintg central government.
Efforts to build up the Afghan military into an effective force was blocked by illiteracy, large desertions by military personnel.
Corruption throughout the government and society.
Knowledge that the U.S. will be leaving.
That's the strategy that we agreed to last fall; that is the policy that we are carrying out, in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The U.S. policy has been a failure, and will continue to be a failure due to the endemic problems in Afghanistan.
In that effort, we are honored to be joined by allies and partners who have stood by us and paid the ultimate price through the loss of their young people at war. They are with us because the interests and values that we share, and because this mission is fundamental to the ability of free people to live in peace and security in the 21st century.
The allies have been abandoning the hopeless situation in Afghanistan and more will be leaving.
Let me say to the American people, this is a change in personnel but it is not a change in policy. General Petraeus fully participated in our review last fall, and he both supported and helped design the strategy that we have in place. In his current post at Central Command, he has worked closely with our forces in Afghanistan. He has worked closely with Congress. He has worked closely with the Afghan and Pakistan governments and with all our partners in the region. He has my full confidence, and I am urging the Senate to confirm him for this new assignment as swiftly as possible.
"No change in policy" means that more Americans will die needlessly; more people will be encouraged to give their lives to kill Americans.
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