Now squelch the other bigmouthsBy Pete King
New York Post
June 24, 2010
I have tremendous regard for Gen. Stanley McChrystal and the outstanding service he has rendered to our nation.
I met with Gen. McChrystal in Iraq, where he was joint special-operations commander carrying out the most daring and vital missions. He is a warrior and a patriot. Yet his remarks in Rolling Stone were clearly inappropriate and wrong. I understand and support President Obama's decision to accept his resignation as commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan.
I also, of course, strongly support the president's decision to have Gen. David Petraeus succeed McChrystal. Petraeus is a true American hero, who carried out the "surge" policy in Iraq and turned that war around from the brink of defeat.
He did this against great odds and the blindly partisan opposition of then-Sens. Barack Obama and Joe Biden and the scurrilous attacks of left-wing lowlifes such as Moveon.org, which slandered him as Gen. "Betrayus."
On my recent visit to Afghanistan, I was (as always) impressed and inspired by the dedication of our men and women who are in harm's way every day. Their mission there is essential to defeating Islamic terorrism. We must defeat the Taliban and al Qaeda.
For Gen. Petraeus to be able to succeed, however, President Obama must finally take command of his administration and assert control over the civilian officials in his administration who consistently undermined Gen. McChrystal. For starters:
* Vice President Biden must not be allowed to continue contradicting Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and undercut our military commanders in Afghanistan by saying that large numbers of troops will be pulled out of Afghanistan next summer.
* Karl Eikenberry, our ambassador to Afghanistan, must not be allowed to publicly criticize Afghan President Hamid Karzai, whose support is essential to our success.
The bottom line is that this administration has been divided and dysfunctional in implementing its Afghanistan policy. We cannot succeed unless the Afghans and Pakistanis are convinced that we are committed to the mission and that we will not abandon the battlefield by an arbitrary date.
The repeated assurances from McChrystal, Gates and Clinton that there would be only a small drawdown of American troops in July 2011 has been repeatedly undercut by Biden's pronouncements that a "whole lot" of troops will be pulled out. No wonder the Afghans and Pakistanis are hedging their bets and local officials and tribal leaders are reluctant to sign on with us.
Vital to the success of the surge in Iraq, besides Gen. Petraeus' military genius, was the faith that key local Iraqi leaders -- such as Sattar, a local sheik who led the Anbar Awakening in western Iraq -- had in President George W. Bush.
They knew that if they took the risk of standing with us, President Bush would not abandon them because of hostile public opinion or a bad editorial in The New York Times. It is time for President Obama to demonstrate that he has the same determination and resolve as President Bush.
As a Republican and an American, I support our president's policy in Afghanistan. Success there is essential to our national security. To achieve that success,
President Obama must be a true leader and demand that all the civilian officials in his administration line up behind him and Gen. Petraeus and put aside their egos, their grievances and their liberal ideology.
The cacophony of chaos, confusion and dysfunction must end. I wish the president well and pledge him my full bipartisan support. America's courageous troops deserve no less.
Peter King represents Long Island in the US House.