MOST GENERALS TEND TO BE 'YES' MEN....

Discussion in 'VMBB General Discussion' started by rooter, Aug 16, 2010.

  1. rooter

    rooter *VMBB Senior Chief Of Staff*

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    August 15, 2010
    Petraeus Opposes a Rapid Pullout in Afghanistan
    By DEXTER FILKINS

    KABUL, Afghanistan — Gen. David H. Petraeus, the commander of American and NATO forces, began a campaign on Sunday to convince an increasingly skeptical public that the American-led coalition can still succeed here despite months of setbacks, saying he had not come to Afghanistan to preside over a “graceful exit.”

    In an hourlong interview with The New York Times, the general argued against any precipitous withdrawal of forces in July 2011, the date set by President Obama to begin at least a gradual reduction of the 100,000 troops on the ground. General Petraeus said that it was only in the last few weeks that the war plan had been fine-tuned and given the resources that it required. “For the first time,” he said, “we will have what we have been working to put in place for the last year and a half.”

    In another in a series of interviews, on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” General Petraeus even appeared to leave open the possibility that he would recommend against any withdrawal of American forces next summer.

    “Certainly, yes,” he said when the show’s host, David Gregory, asked him if, depending on how the war was proceeding, he might tell the president that a drawdown should be delayed. “The president and I sat down in the Oval Office, and he expressed very clearly that what he wants from me is my best professional military advice.”

    The statement offered a preview of what promised to be an intense political battle over the future of the American-led war in Afghanistan, which has deteriorated on the ground and turned unpopular at home. Already, some Democrats in Congress are pushing for steep withdrawals early on, while supporters of the war say that a rapid draw-down could endanger the Afghan mission altogether.

    General Petraeus, in his interview with The Times, said American and NATO troops were making progress on a number of fronts, including routing Taliban insurgents from their sanctuaries, reforming the Afghan government and preparing Afghan soldiers to fight on their own.

    General Petraeus, who took over last month after Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal was fired for making disparaging remarks about civilian leaders, said he believed that he would be given the time and matériel necessary to prevail here. He expressed that confidence despite the fact that nearly every phase of the war is going badly — and even though some inside the Obama administration have turned against it.

    “The president didn’t send me over here to seek a graceful exit,” General Petraeus said at his office at NATO headquarters in downtown Kabul. “My marching orders are to do all that is humanly possible to help us achieve our objectives.”

    General Petraeus’s public remarks, his first since taking over, highlight the extraordinary challenges, both military and political, that loom in the coming months. American soldiers and Marines are dying at a faster rate than at any time since 2001. The Afghan in whom the United States has placed its hopes, President Hamid Karzai, has demonstrated little resolve in rooting out the corruption that pervades his government.

    And perhaps most important, the general will be trying to demonstrate progress in the 11 months until Mr. Obama’s deadline to begin withdrawing troops.

    The date was chosen in part to win over critics of the war and to push the Afghan government to reform more quickly. But as critical battles to reclaim parts of the Taliban heartland have faltered, military commanders have begun preparing to ask the White House to keep any withdrawals next year to a minimum.

    In the interview with The Times, General Petraeus also suggested that he would resist any large-scale or rapid withdrawal of American forces. If the Taliban believes that will happen, he said, they are mistaken.

    “Clearly the enemy is fighting back, sees this as a very pivotal moment, believes that all he has to do is outlast us through this fighting season,” the general said. “That is just not the case.”

    The public campaign begun Sunday echoes the similarly high-profile efforts the general undertook at the bloodiest phase of the war in Iraq. In early 2007, joining a group of defense intellectuals and retired generals, General Petraeus asserted that the anarchic situation in Iraq could be stabilized with an infusion of tens of thousands additional American troops.

    Then-President George W. Bush endorsed the effort and chose General Petraeus to lead it. And, to the surprise of many, the campaign, known as “the surge,” helped bring about a dramatic drop in violence that has largely held. During the surge, General Petraeus sometimes skirted the traditional lines separating the military and political worlds, testifying before Congress and speaking almost weekly to Mr. Bush.

    General Petraeus has taken a lower public profile since Mr. Obama’s inauguration. His efforts on Sunday — which will continue with more interviews in the coming days — represent his first attempt to convince the American people that his efforts and those of the American soldiers and Marines deployed here can succeed.

    The general’s latest outreach campaign, which included an interview with The Washington Post, highlighted his political strengths as much as his military ones. He was careful, patient and disciplined — sticking to his main points — traits that have won him widespread respect.

    Among other things, the general is fighting to preserve his own legacy, based on the dramatic turnaround he helped orchestrate during the war in Iraq. The hallmark of that strategy was its focus on protecting civilians, even at the expense of letting insurgents walk away.

    In Afghanistan, that approach is coming under growing criticism, mainly from people who regard it as too expensive and open ended. Some in the Obama administration have been advocating a move from counterinsurgency toward a strategy focused on hunting and killing insurgents.

    General Petraeus has imported some hands from his Iraq days to help him. Brig. Gen. H. R. McMaster, one of the most innovative officers in the Iraq war, has taken charge of a task force assigned to attack corruption. Frederick W. Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute — one of the fathers of the surge and more recently a critic of the Afghan government — has come to help as well.

    The drafting of those experts suggests that General Petraeus intends to take a harder line against corruption in the Karzai government, which ranks among the biggest factors driving Afghans to the Taliban.

    Mr. Karzai has promised over the years to root out corruption but has largely failed to do so. He has refused requests from American officials to remove his brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, as chairman of the provincial council in Kandahar Province despite widespread reports of corruption. Last week, the president tried to assert control over two American-backed Afghan anticorruption units that are investigating Afghan officials.

    General Petraeus declined to discuss the status of Ahmed Wali Karzai, and he praised President Karzai’s efforts to attack corruption. In any case, he suggested, American leverage over Mr. Karzai is limited. “President Karzai is the elected leader of a sovereign country,” he said. “That is how the people see him by and large; he is therefore — and has to be, for sure — our partner.”
  2. NRA_guy

    NRA_guy Member

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    I've known lots of Lt. Colonels, Bird Colonels, and some Generals. Generals tend to be the nicest of that group. Wannabe Generals are typically jerks who are so scared of a blemish on their record they WILL NOT make a decision. If they don't make a decision, they cannot be accused of having made the wrong one.

    But an EEO and a Contracting Officer violation are their greatest fears. It's instant death to their career.

    But one does not get to a level of Petraeus without being a "yes" man.

    The competition for such positions is just too great.

    The hint of ANY negative traits (disagreement with your boss's position is considered negative) means that someone else will get the job.

    Imagine the difficulty of being a "yes" man under Bush then getting Obama as your Commandr in Chief and having to support his radical anti-american ideas.
  3. rooter

    rooter *VMBB Senior Chief Of Staff*

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    When I titled that post NRA, I thought about President Truman and General Douglas Mac during the strife of the Korean War....I think Truman was at fault for that decision and our wars and squabbles have been at fault every since....JMHO!!! Chief
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