Michael Yon’s one of the best military reporters anywhere.
His latest report begins with a consideration of why General McKiernan was relieved of command in Afghanistan:
. . . I do not personally know General McKiernan. I do know that these ears have never heard someone speak a foul word about him, and I talk with lots of interesting people. If he, McKiernan, was a bad general I would have heard about it.Yon goes on to praise Gates’ smarts and knowledge of Afghanistan.
However, General McKiernan did make some statements about additional troops to Afghanistan, and when he made those statements I remember thinking, “He’s going to get fired.” And so those statements were the first thing that came to my mind. McKiernan has been saying we need more troops than are already on the way.
I do not have the training or experience to say how many troops we need in Afghanistan, but I know we could use a lot more than we have there now. Yet it did seem like General McKiernan was pushing the envelope.
That doesn’t make him a bad general in my eyes. His envelope-pushing speaks of professional courage and honesty, but also one can imagine that leadership might want to keep some opinions in-house.
But another clue is something that Secretary Gates said to me privately. Actually, LTG David Rodriguez was there, and Rodriguez is tapped to take the number two spot in Afghanistan.
Secretary Gates said that his number one concern for Afghanistan is that we will lose the support of the Afghan people. The recent loss of a great number of Afghans was undoubtedly upsetting for Secretary Gates and many others.
If we lose widespread support from the Afghan people, the war will be lost.
Some Russians like to say we are making the same mistakes that the Soviets made, but that’s untrue. Atrocity was their middle name. Many of the Afghans I talk with hate the Russians with incendiary passion.
Contrast this with the fact that I recently drove about a thousand miles around Afghanistan, without the Army. Many Afghans know I am an American yet are very friendly. If our military was treating them badly, I could not have made that trip.
Nevertheless, accidental mass carnage from our side is turning more and more people against us.
Yon reports Gen. McKiernan’s successor, Gen. McChrystal, has an “enviable” reputation as does McChrystal’s as does LTG. Rodriquez.
And there’s much more to Yon’s report. You can read it all here.
Yon is an independent reporter supported by reader contributions. Please consider contributing to support this outstanding military reporter so we don’t have to rely entirely on the mostly mediocre, often biased liberal-leftist reporters MSM news orgs foist on us.