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113 deaders, thousands flee Somalia festivities
Today's Headlines
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Page 4: Opinion
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Page 1: WoT Operations
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Page 6: Politix
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Michael Yon: Gates, Petraeus, McKiernan, McChrystal and Rodriguez
13 May 2009

Again, this is a quick email. The Gurkhas here in Brunei just conducted a live fire training exercise. They walked half the night carrying between 80-100lbs, mostly ammo, and made an assault at first light.

Every British officer I talk with asks what in the world happened with General McKiernan, and why was his relief performed so publicly. I do not know. And 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.

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.

Gates is extremely smart and he knows the area. He knows that more troops can obviously create more problems, and so this must be a tough judgment call for him and the generals, much less the President. It’s also extremely expensive to support our troops in Afghanistan. Far more so than in Iraq. Our supply lines also are vulnerable. I asked General Petraeus about this resupply issue and he seemed confident that we can work it out. General Petraeus is about as no-nonsense as they come. I ascribe great weight to his words. In my experience, Petraeus always told the good, the bad and the ugly about Iraq. (Unfortunately, the Iraq war might rekindle if we ignore it. There are signals coming from Iraq that lead me to believe we could fumble that ball. However, with Gates, Petraeus and Odierno on the field, I believe that the Pentagon will be more forthright about Iraq than we saw some years ago.)

But the issue of troop strength in Afghanistan is prickly on many levels ranging from international politics all the way down to the nitty-gritty of resupply.

In regard to Lieutenant General McChrystal, his reputation is enviable. McChrystal’s reputation is as solid as that of Generals Mattis or Petraeus, but fewer people have heard of McChrystal. I know some very interesting folks in the special operations world, and McChrystal gets a five-star rating out of five stars. That comes from officers and enlisted.

McChrystal’s number two man will be Lieutenant General David Rodriguez. I last saw LTG Rodriguez in December 2008 when he accompanied Secretary Gates on a trip from Afghanistan to Manama to Iraq to Turkey to the United States. I flew on their airplane and so we got to talk now and then. I first learned about Rodriguez some years ago in Iraq. Again, this is a man with great experience and he is respected by all the folks I’ve ever talked with. Rodriguez runs a tight ship and I believe he definitely is up for the job in Afghanistan.

I was concerned about some of our military leadership some years ago, but now that’s the least of my concerns. The military leadership is rock solid.

Personally, I didn’t like seeing General McKiernan get publicly relieved. A quiet disembarkation might have been better. After all, he is a true American who defended the United States. To me, McKiernan will be known as a man who did his duty, not as the General who got relieved.

And now we likely will get the chance to see if a McChrystal-Rodriguez team can do in Afghanistan what Petraeus-Odierno did in Iraq.
Posted by: Sherry || 05/13/2009 11:21 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6465 views] Top|| File under:

#1  The recent loss of a great number of Afghans was undoubtedly upsetting for Secretary Gates and many others

Who sit on their hands and allow the enemy to have the initiative in the info war as they have since 911. The MSM will not play except to make their man look good. They will not carry water for anyone or anything else. That means you must commit the manpower and resources to seriously conduct information warfare. Maybe its time Secty Gates starts firing people in the PAO operations and gets someone who knows how to fight a war.
Posted by: Procopius2k || 05/13/2009 12:48 Comments || Top||

#2  Gates would do well also to start pressuring Congress. Most of the problem on the domestic-news front is that the military isn't allowed to make its case more directly. You can thank Congress for that.
Posted by: Pappy || 05/13/2009 13:07 Comments || Top||

Home Front: Politix
Will Pelosi be thrown under the bus?
In these Machiavellian times, it almost seems that the White House and some in the Democratic Congress who are still calling for hearings are at ease embarrassing Nancy Pelosi, whose prior value to the party as anti-Bush bomb thrower has now been eclipsed, since she appears as a looney, undisciplined partisan that can do far more damage to the cause than she ever did to Bush.
Posted by: GolfBravoUSMC || 05/13/2009 16:20 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6487 views] Top|| File under:

#1  It's not as if her district as at risk of going to the republicans. They can embarrass her all they want and probably gain favor with the radical left in her area who tried unsuccessfully to replace her last election with Sheehan.
Posted by: rjschwarz || 05/13/2009 17:10 Comments || Top||

#2  Here's a possible replacement...

Posted by: tu3031 || 05/13/2009 17:38 Comments || Top||

#3  The only reasons they'd dump her:

- She's making the party look bad
- She's not getting things done

In either case, we'd like her to continue.
Posted by: Iblis || 05/13/2009 17:55 Comments || Top||

#4  Goodness, tu3031, what a picture of mutton dressed as lamb! She needs a stylist, an exercise coach, and cosmetic surgery to remove the tattoos...just to start. And somebody please loosen the noose snugged round her throat -- it's cutting off the blood flow to her brain.
Posted by: trailing wife || 05/13/2009 18:10 Comments || Top||

#5  what a picture of mutton dressed as lamb!

TW - that's known as the "clean end of the turd". There's no helping that one out. Self-hating bigoted moron (and not the good AOSHQ-type moron)
Posted by: Frank G || 05/13/2009 19:30 Comments || Top||

#6  tw, I don't think it's a noose. More like a tourniquet doing its job.
Posted by: Cornsilk Blondie || 05/13/2009 22:29 Comments || Top||

#7  She is starting to look expendable. Do I laugh or cry?
Posted by: Richard of Oregon || 05/13/2009 23:54 Comments || Top||

GM deal "is nothing short of a political rip-off". - Chicago style
In reality, GM’s demise comes down to a fight between retirees.

On one side are GM’s unionized retired workers. On the other, are the rest of us -- either in retirement or saving for it. Guess who will lose as things now stand?

Under the restructuring plan on the table, GM’s retirees would get 39 percent of the company, along with the promise of a $10 billion payment into their health-care trust fund. That is in exchange for $20 billion GM owes the fund.

Not making out so well are current or future retirees who depend on the performance of mutual funds, 401(k) plans and insurance companies that invested in GM bonds. These debt investors, who are owed about $27 billion, will get just 10 percent of the company.

And that probably won’t change. GM Chief Executive Fritz Henderson said on a conference call Monday that there are no plans to modify the terms on offer to bondholders, even as he said a bankruptcy filing now looks “more probable.”

‘Waterboarding’ Investors

That’s outrageous. The deal is nothing short of a political rip-off, with the Obama administration currying favor with an organized voting bloc in the form of the United Auto Workers union at the expense of unorganized retirees.

The current deal “can be seen as one that serves up bondholders on the altar of political self-interest,” CreditSights Inc. analyst Glenn Reynolds wrote in a report last week titled, in part, “Waterboarding Bondholders.”

“The powers that be will not face any major constituency risks by screwing some mutual funds, insurance companies, pension managers, and hedge funds (who often manage pension and endowment money etc.) out of their fair and equitable treatment,” Reynolds wrote.

Not that you’ll hear much about the rights of these investors if and when the fur starts flying over a GM bankruptcy filing. Instead, we’ll again hear talk about the “money people” -- the label President Barack Obama pinned on debt investors at Chrysler LLC who refused to swallow the terms foisted on them by the company and government officials.

Expect the fight at GM to be cast in similarly expedient terms of “working man vs. evil money people,” Reynolds’s report noted. And those who raise objections to the government’s plans “will be dubbed Wall Street holdouts and obstructionists.”
Posted by: GolfBravoUSMC || 05/13/2009 16:03 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6471 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Expect the fight at GM to be cast in similarly expedient terms of "working man vs. evil money people,"

evil money people?! Adolph Hitler must be flattered right now, since imitation is the highest form of flattery.
Posted by: Jumbo Slinerong5015 || 05/13/2009 17:48 Comments || Top||

#2  I currently drive a GM car -- any way you look at it, it's my last GM car.
Posted by: DMFD || 05/13/2009 18:36 Comments || Top||

#3  This won't be a one-off rip-off. If GM's creditors are stiffed this way, don't expect anyone else (except for the US taxpayer) to loan GM money again, ever.
Posted by: Anguper Hupomosing9418 || 05/13/2009 20:02 Comments || Top||

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Meet the Mods
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Two weeks of WOT
Wed 2009-05-13
   113 deaders, thousands flee Somalia festivities
Tue 2009-05-12
  Pak commandos dropped into Taliban stronghold
Mon 2009-05-11
  200 Taliban killed in Swat operation
Sun 2009-05-10
  Scores dead as drone hits S. Wazoo Mehsud stronghold
Sat 2009-05-09
  1.2 million people leave Buner, Swat other areas
Fri 2009-05-08
  Gilani orders all-out war on Pak Taliban
Thu 2009-05-07
  Sufi Mohammad's son killed in Lower Dir shelling
Wed 2009-05-06
  Mashaal: Hamas wants 10 year cease-fire
Tue 2009-05-05
  Pirates captured after attacking the wrong ship
Mon 2009-05-04
  Khaled Mashaal re-elected Hamas political leader
Sun 2009-05-03
  64 civilians killed in Lanka hospital attack
Sat 2009-05-02
  60 Taliban killed in Buner offensive
Fri 2009-05-01
  Taliban hold Buner town people hostage
Thu 2009-04-30
  U.S. missile strikes kill 10 in South Waziristan
Wed 2009-04-29
  70 militants killed in Pak operation

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