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Gates Issues Statement on McChrystal Profile

From a Defense Department News Release

WASHINGTON, June 22, 2010 – Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates issued a statement today regarding a profile article on Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, commander of the International Security Assistance Force and U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Video

Here is the secretary’s statement:

"I read with concern the profile piece on Gen. Stanley McChrystal in the upcoming edition of ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine. I believe that Gen. McChrystal made a significant mistake and exercised poor judgment in this case. We are fighting a war against al Qaeda and its extremist allies, who directly threaten the United States, Afghanistan, and our friends and allies around the world. Going forward, we must pursue this mission with a unity of purpose. Our troops and coalition partners are making extraordinary sacrifices on behalf of our security, and our singular focus must be on supporting them and succeeding in Afghanistan without such distractions. Gen. McChrystal has apologized to me and is similarly reaching out to others named in this article to apologize to them as well. I have recalled Gen. McChrystal to Washington to discuss this in person."


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The opinions expressed in the following comments do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Defense.

6/23/2010 2:56:18 PM
Although, the General might have thought his comments were off the record, his frustraion with the results he was obtaining became obvious, The sad thing about Generals who sincerely express their feelings about strategy and feel that they have no support from our civilian government and are removed , yes rightfully so, is the demoralizing effect on the troops under their command. If only politics could remain separated from war fighting, but it has now become a neccessity for a Commnding General to be an excellent tactician as well as an astute politician to suceed. Ike was not a warrior but he was one of a politician as confimred when he later ran and won the Presidency and perhaps he is the kind of General these type of wars need and surrounded by wariior Generals who are at their best at fighting wars and not politicians.
- afl, ohio

6/23/2010 8:38:14 AM
Just read complete controversial RS article on subj; would like to offer my two cents: With assets of $1 Trillion in mineral wealth - operational priority's should be given to: 1] map 2] protect 3] sell the mineral rights to enable Afghanistan to be left to it's own device's. Nothing at all against COIN, but in the absence of any alternative being publicly discussed, this is mine; Oplan Mine Sweep. If the enemy are so tough, let them muscle in on legitimate business related activity, like everywhere else in the world does, of which there will be a substantial amount. The people will look up to people who succeed, have influence, and generate abundant financial activity. Not anarchists, thugs and charlatans. History shows that money conquers all, and a trillion bucks, properly utilized over time, should be enough in the timetable allotted by our civilian leadership.
- JD LaViola, North New Jersey

6/22/2010 9:42:41 PM
Diplomatic . . . No. Appropriate in this context or medium . . . No again. Straight up honest . . . Yes indeed.
- Mike Allen, New York

6/22/2010 9:01:56 PM
The statement by Sec. Gates speaks of "unity of purpose" and supporting our troops and allies. I would remind you that in 2009, Gen. McChrystal asked for more troops. The response from the civilian leadership took weeks and resulted in fewer troops than he requested. This delay and rebuff to the general's request illustrated a total lack of unity and support. The war in Afghanistan has been under-resourced from the beginning with the result that the Al-Qaeda leadership escaped and the Taliban is as strong in some parts of Afghanistan as they were nine years ago. Please demonstrate the support and unity you call on from others. Don't micro-manage the war from Washington. Put politics aside and give the general and the troops what they need.
- Bert Harwell, Birmingham, AL

6/22/2010 8:16:10 PM
It is good that you, as Defense Secretary Mr. Gates, stand behind the General in this regard. We are currently in war status which many civilians (or people that do not have an understanding of our history - military or otherwise) do not comprehend. We need to stand together as a nation unified so that we do not succumb to any rogue nations or terrorist acts. Some of us that survived 9/11 do still remember and honor all that the military sacrifices on our behalf!
- Drew Hodgdon, Kansas City, MO

6/22/2010 8:10:27 PM
This situation sounds like a case of political scapegoating. The General is obviously unhappy with the current state of affairs and likewise he feels like no body was listening to his concerns. Resigning and walking out on the troops there now would be far worse than what he did. He is a warrior, he took the initiative to make an issue out of this for the troops best wellfare. He is not a career politician and likewise he is a guy that is accustomed to taking on issues agressively and decisively. No one can say he didn't attack his concerns agressively. Maybe a bit awkward, maybe not the best way procedurally but one thing is for sure he returned the focus on the mission in Afganistan. For that General McChrystal I salute you.
- Barry, panama City FL

6/22/2010 8:00:32 PM
Dear Secretary Gates, I believe that General McChrystal should be dismissed from the U S Army. The U S cannot afford to have such generals in such vital positions. I lived in Pakistan for many years and saw the effects of having generals who dominate the discourse and the resources of the nation, and who feel that they can displace civilian governments. Our generals should only execute the policies set by our elected president and vice president. They should not publicly ridicule or question the competence of our leaders. It is extremely dangerous to have such generals in our military. This is not about embarrassing a few leaders. This is about the integrity of our form of government. It is about maintaining elected civilian leadership of our nation. It is time for General McChrystal to step down. We have far too many problems in Afghanistan without having to deal with this kind of arrogance and hubris.
- Joyce Ramay, Fort Myers, Florida

6/22/2010 5:34:49 PM
Two of the greatest military leaders of our nation's history risked their entire military reputations in the face of their leaders in order to prove a point, to right an injustice, and to protect their soldiers. Today, as a result, airpower is the determinant factor in the success of any military confrontation (Billy Mitchell, court-martialed); and we will never know what could have been if we'd actually been successful in Korea (Douglas MacArthur, fired). What shall we inscribe in our nation's annals for the future generations when considering the yet unwritten history of our military's current challenges within their own ranks and in the world's eyes? What has happened to the Generals who risk themselves to protect principles? Perhaps McChrystal is the last of that breed?
- Rich, Montello, WI

6/22/2010 3:23:13 PM
Yes, McChrystal made a terrible mistake...he told the truth.
- Sue, Oregon

6/22/2010 2:19:40 PM
The General has committed an offense that cannot be tolerated by the President. He must be fired. The question is, what were his motives? This is not the first time he has chosen to go first to the press around the chain of command, casting doubt as to his reported intellect. He has brought dishonor and discredit upon himself and those he leads. This action should end his career. What a shame. His mea culpa after the fact should not exonerate him. He has undermined the credibility of his Commander-in-Chief and the Administration through his willful disregard of the chain of command and his inappropriate use of the media to make his case. This is a particularly sad state of affairs given the faith the President placed in him to lead the war effort, which is not going well.

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