Welcome to the American Revolution II

Welcome to the American Revolution II
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.
"We face a hostile ideology global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose and insidious in method..." and warned about what he saw as unjustified government spending proposals and continued with a warning that "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex... The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist... Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."Dwight D. Eisenhower

Monday, May 11, 2009

Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal

Lieutenant-General Stanley McChrystal is shown in this 2003 file photo

Lieutenant General Stanley McChrystal is shown in this 2003 file photo. McChrystal is replacing General David McKiernan as the top Nato leader in Afghanistan. Photograph: Dennis Cook/AP

NAME — Lt. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal

EXPERIENCE — Director of The Joint Staff, August 2008-present; Commander, Joint Special Operations Command and commander, Joint Special Operations Command Forward, 2006-2008; commanding general, Joint Special Operations Command, 2003-06; vice director for operations, J-3 The Joint Staff, 2002-03; chief of staff, XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg, 2001-02; assistant division commander for operations, 82d Airborne Divisionp; commander, 75th Ranger Regiment, 1997-99.

EDUCATION — B.S., U.S. Military Academy; M.A. in national security and strategic studies, U.S. Naval War College; M.S. in international relations, Salve Regina University.

Military: The Hidden General Exposed
Stan McChrystal runs 'black ops.' Don't pass it on.
By Michael Hirsh and John Barry
JSOC is part of what Vice President Dick Cheney was referring to when he said America would have to "work the dark side" after 9/11.

June 26, 2006 issue - No one would have mentioned his name at all if President George W. Bush hadn't singled him out in public. Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, West Point '76, is not someone the Army likes to talk about. He isn't even listed in the directory at Fort Bragg, N.C., his home base. That's not because McChrystal has done anything wrong—quite the contrary, he's one of the Army's rising stars—but because he runs the most secretive force in the U.S. military. That is the Joint Special Operations Command, the snake-eating, slit-their-throats "black ops" guys who captured Saddam Hussein and targeted Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi.

JSOC is part of what Vice President Dick Cheney was referring to when he said America would have to "work the dark side" after 9/11. To many critics, the veep's remark back in 2001 fostered his rep as the Darth Vader of the war on terror and presaged bad things to come, like the interrogation abuses at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Bay. But America also has its share of Jedi Knights who are fighting in what Cheney calls "the shadows." And McChrystal, an affable but tough Army Ranger, and the Delta Force and other elite teams he commands are among them.

After the Zarqawi strike, multinational forces spokesman Gen. Bill Caldwell refused to comment on JSOC's role, saying, "We don't talk about when special operating forces are involved." But when Bush revealed to reporters that it was McChrystal's Special Ops teams that had found Zarqawi, Caldwell had to gulp and say (to laughter), "If the president of the United States said it was, then I'm sure it was."

McChrystal has checked all the right career boxes, serving as an unflappable military briefer during the Iraq invasion, and doing fellowships at Harvard and at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York (where he would run to work from Brooklyn, about six miles away). Still, the secrecy surrounding McChrystal's role worries some who note that Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld have given clandestine operations the lead in the war on terror—with little public accountability, including in the interrogation room.

Rumsfeld is especially enamored of McChrystal's "direct action" forces or so-called SMUs—Special Mission Units—whose job is to kill or capture bad guys, say Pentagon sources who would speak about Special Ops only if they were not identified. But critics say the Pentagon is short-shrifting the "hearts and minds" side of Special Operations that is critical to counterinsurgency—like training foreign armies and engaging with locals. (Special Operations Command spokesman Ken McGraw says the Pentagon is "significantly increasing" those units.) Experts like former Deputy Defense secretary John Hamre are also concerned that Special Ops now has generic authority to deploy where it wants without case-by-case orders. Without proper civilian oversight, a Zarqawi-style success can easily become a "Black Hawk Down." Keeping that from happening is McChrystal's most important mission.

After not even a year, Obama and the Pentagon have decided that they new set of fresh eyes in Afghanistan as the new top American commander. According to reports, Gen. David McKiernan is being dismissed ashis duty as head of the military in Afghanistan.

According to New York Times, "Defense officials said that General McKiernan was removed because of what they described as a conventional approach to what has become one of the most complicated military challenges in American history. He is to be replaced by Lt. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, a former commander of the Joint Special Operations Command who recently ran all special operations in Iraq."

Obama said apparently things have gotten so complex that the military feels a new commander from an unconventional side of the military is needed to take over. McKiernan as it stands did nothing really wrong and this could prove to be a disasterious switch in such a critical moment in the Afghan war.

Barack Obama today replaced his top general in Afghanistan in an attempt to turn round a war that has been going badly for the US and to step up the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

General David McKiernan, who was in overall command of all Nato forces, including the British, lost the job after only 11 months in command.

Taliban forces have been making steady advances in Afghanistan, in a war that the US had thought it had won in 2001.

McKiernan is to to replaced by Lieutenant General Stanley McChrystal, a soldier who has spent most of his career in one of the most secretive forces in the US, specialising in counter-insurgency.

The Pentagon declined to say why McKiernan was being replaced. But the change comes as General David Petraeus, who oversees military strategy for the region, is implementing Obama's new strategic plan for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The US defence secretary, Robert Gates, announcing the change at a Pentagon press conference, said there was a time for "new thinking" on Afghanistan.

Gates said McKiernan had done nothing wrong, but there was a feeling that there was a need for a fresh look. His removal came a week after at least 100 Afghan civilians died in a US air strike in Farah province.

Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who attended the press conference with Gates, said McKiernan would have been rotated anyway at the end of 18 to 24 months.

McKiernan had been repeatedly asking for a significant increase in US or other Nato forces in Afghanistan, saying he needed at least 30,000 more troops for what he warned was going to be a tough 12 months.

Obama gave him only two thirds of that, and this included troops who would not have a combat role but instead are to train Afghan forces. It may be that it was felt that McKiernan was too old-fashioned in his thinking.

Lieutenant-General McChrystal, his replacement, has spent most of his career behind the scenes in special forces and has led operations aimed at targeting particular individuals, such as the one that resulted in the killing of the al-Qaida leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, in 2006.

McChrystal has built his reputation on coordinating various strands of intelligence in a ruthless pursuit of enemies.

The switch comes only weeks after Obama announced the outcome of a review of policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

As part of that, Obama indicated he wanted a more focused counter-insurgency approach, which would suit McChrystal more, and is sending an extra 21,000 US troops to Afghanistan.

The coming months are potentially fraught for US and Nato forces as the Taliban in past years have used spring and summer to mount their offensives, and the Afghanistan election scheduled for later this year gives them even more of an incentive to create chaos.

McChrystal's role in Zarqawi's killing was revealed by President George Bush, who gave him public credit for the attack. He could turn out to be a controversial choice. He faced a Senate confirmation hearing last year, with senators asking about alleged mistreatment of detainees by special forces under his command in Iraq and Afghanistan. McKiernan, who had been a top commander in Iraq, was appointed to the Afghanistan job by President Bush. He had led US forces on the ground in Iraq during the 2003 invasion.

He said last year that the problem posed by Afghanistan was tougher than Iraq. He described Afghanistan as "a far more complex environment than I ever found in Iraq". The country's mountainous terrain, rural population, poverty, illiteracy, 400 major tribal networks and history of civil war all made for unique challenges, he said. Obama, since becoming president, has overseen a shift in US priorities away from Iraq to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

But in the few months he has been in power, the security situation in both countries has deteriorated, particularly in Pakistan.

He argued that the military alone could not win the war and there is a need to build up the civilian infrastructure, particularly along the Afghan-Pakistan border.

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