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Jones Chides McChrystal for Public Pressure

By John Amick and Ibby Caputo

CNN: STATE OF THE UNION - Afghanistan Advice Should Come Through Chain of Command, Jones Says

Addressing Gen. Stanley McChrystal's public call for more troops in Afghanistan, White House national security adviser James L. Jones said that advice to the president should come though the military chain of command rather than by open campaigning for a strategic decision.

"Ideally, it's better for military advice to come up through the chain of command and I think that General McChrystal and the others in the chain of command will present the president with not just one option, which does, in fact, tend to have a ... enforcing function, but a range of options that the president can consider," Jones said.

President Obama and McChrystal, top commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, held an impromptu meeting in Denmark a day after McChrystal's speech to a British think tank. The general's assessment is that the war effort may need around 40,000 additional troops to succeed.

Jones said he's convinced the McChrystal is in for the long haul in Afghanistan no matter what President Obama finally decides is the correct strategic path. Jones stressed that additional troops are part of the answer in an increasingly difficult war in a country with a weak central government currently mired in a possibly fraudulent election.

Following Sunday's announcement that U.N. inspectors will tour a uranium nuclear facility in Iran in late October, Jones applauded the direction Iran was taking, saying there is no substitute for inspections in verifying what Iran's capabilities are.

Jones said the "don't ask, don't tell" policy of excluding homosexuals from serving in the military is something President Obama will address at the appropriate time. "I don't think it's going to be - it's not years ... I think it will be teed up appropriately," Jones said.

What keeps Jones up at night? If the U.S. lost "track of nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction and came into the hands of a radical terrorist group, they would use them. And that bothers me a great deal."

Also on "State of the Union," Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chair of the Senate Ethics Committee, said a preliminary investigation has begun into the details surrounding Sen. John Ensign's (R-Nevada) use of contacts in his home state to find a job for the spouse of the woman the senator had an affair with.

CBS: FACE THE NATION - Jones: I Don't Do Hypotheticals

Jones, also appearing on "Face the Nation," said it would be a mistake to solely focus on troop levels as a gauge of how successful the U.S. is, or could be, in Afghanistan. It would also be a mistake, Jones said, to underestimate the base strategy the U.S. military has operated under since March, implemented by President Obama. Gen. McChrystal's assessment of the war will be debated in the coming weeks.

Jones would not clearly answer whether he thought a rise in Taliban influence in Afghanistan would lead to a rise in Al Qaeda in the country, saying it was a "hypothetical" he wouldn't try to predict.

In response to the suggestion that these weeks of deliberations are a sign of "dithering," as host Bob Schieffer said, Jones said careful thought was part of the process.

Retired Gen. Anthony Zinni, also on "Face the Nation," said he was worried about the dithering. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, recalled that it took four months for President Bush to decide on a troop surge in Iraq, and that that decision is largely seen as the right one despite its unpopularity with some military brass.

Levin said it will depend on many factors whether the Senate would back McChrystal's call for more troops. House Armed Services chair Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) said he thinks the House would likely provide support for more forces.

NBC: MEET THE PRESS - Susan Rice Says "Time is Short" for Negotiations with Iran

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said on Sunday morning that negotiations with Iran will go on for a "finite" period of time.

"Time is short. We are not interested in talking for talking's sake," Rice said on NBC's Meet the Press.

Rice did not give a specific end date for negotiations, but she said Iran must prove that their nuclear program is for peaceful purposes and open up their facilities for inspections or face consequences.

Rice sited Russia and China's recent agreement on sanctions against North Korea as evidence that those nations, which historically have been against sanctions, are now onboard with sanctions against Iran.

"Iran and the people of Iran have a tremendous history and a great opportunity to be much more constructive players in the international community," Rice said.

FOX NEWS SUNDAY - Graham Calls for "Iran Week" in Senate

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) called for a two- or three-day session in the Senate devoted to passing measures that would empower President Obama to impose tough sanctions on Iran.

"Let's have 'Iran Week' in the Senate and get something done," Graham said on Fox News Sunday.

Senators Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) agreed that sanctions against Iran are necessary.

Regarding the war in Afghanistan, Casey called for Congress to debate the fastest and most effective way to prepare the Afghan army and national police to provide security and fight.

"I think that debate alone is critical to getting this right. We can have long debates about how many troops should be there, but a lot of the parts of this debate haven't taken place yet in the Congress," Casey said.

ABC: THIS WEEK - Schumer: Public Option, Cornyn: No

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.): Democrats are going to come together on a public option, despite no one knowing what a public option would look like in the legislation.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas): I am against government takeover of health care that would cannibalize the system and undercut insurance companies.

By editors  |  October 4, 2009; 1:16 PM ET
Categories:  Sunday Talkies  
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HMMMM . . . Was it not "Hatchet Man" Chaney who stated on national television that one does not govern on the basis of what the public believes is right? We lost this war about eight years ago with all of the red tape and regulations and nonthinkers in charge. It should either be won, as we know how, or declare victory and spare the inevitable bloodshed that will result with more troops, treasure and tarry. We just lost a number of troops in Afghanistan, needlessly, who were unprotected and did not have to die if commanders had not bungled. Think of it.

Posted by: robjen116 | October 6, 2009 6:44 PM | Report abuse

protocol is the chain of command but with this administration there is no transparency just a hidden agenda that is anti military. Just ask general patreaus the liberals in our congress have shown nothing but disdain for our military since I can remeber. Another issue on this Obama does not have a clue to what he is doing he acts like a community activist in dealing with world politics that has led to the lack of respect he is getting from world leaders just ask the president of france. He was completly upset that this president had the chair for the security council for the united nations and failed to take issue on Iran when he had proof of their secret nuclear facility.We will be attacked again because of his weaknes on world politics and how he backed down from the russians on the missle shield in poland. Liberals are really good at throwing our allies under the bus to achieve their political gains. Just ask us viet nam veterans.

Posted by: tswank1 | October 6, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

I am most surprised that in this dialogue where 'protocol' would have been most essential to meaningful decision making by the President-- a general goes public. Clearly, I have had a completely false assumption on how the chain of command works in the military.

For the President of course, a surprise too!

Posted by: Victoria5 | October 6, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

scrivener50 are you out of your little liberal mind. the only ones that need to be removed is the civilian leadership in this country from running the war. these politicians are the problem not the solution they screwed up the viet nam war they started by not letting the generals fight the war to win so our enemies will like us more. as far as microwaving americans you need to stop smoking the weed bush and cheney didn't leave anything behind. when are you liberals going to take ownership of these wars they are on your watch now so stop the blame folks just don't have a clue how to run this country so you keep attack anyone who disagrees with you 2010 cannot come soon enough weak president and weak congress equals tradgedy for this country.

Posted by: tswank1 | October 6, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

trevithick -

There's an old saying, "When all you've got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail."

Military force isn't always the answer.
Our professional military won both wars quite handily in conventional military terms. So why are they still there?

You said: "Don't send the US Military to fight anywhere and then try to manipulate them with rules of engagement. If the need is not bad enough to fight to win, then it is not bad enough to risk the lives of our kids." Having a family member in service deployed several times already I couldn't agree more.

I wonder if the problem is "rules of engagement" or if it is civilian leadership
ordering the military to "rebuild" a country that never had any infrastructure and "bring stable democratic government" to places that have always been ruled by tribes, strongmen and dictators.

As a peace loving liberal, I would go even farther than you and say that we shouldn't send in the army unless we are willing to kill anything that moves until the survivors beg for peace. Sherman was right. "War is all hell. You cannot civilize it."

Sending our warriors to rebuild or create nations seems like the fundamentally flawed policy of civilian leaders to me.

Posted by: JohnQuimby | October 6, 2009 12:54 AM | Report abuse

Bob F. Bell said (October 4, 5:57), "Recall McChrystal now ... McChrystal is a product of our military industrial complex. He has been trained in the arts of war: of closing with and killing the enemy, of taking objectives and of achieving "victory" and avoiding "defeat," Unfortunately in this new kind of war, those concepts have been made somewhat obsolete."
Obsolete?! Have you lost your mind? I have a few questions for you ... Do you remember how Jimmy Carter handled foreign military affairs? Remember how things changed when R. Reagan took over? Things improved dramatically, unless you think winning doesn't matter.
This is one American to whom it still matters if we win or lose. And it always matters to the men and women in the war zone. What you are trying to do - recreate the foolish and deadly thinking that gave us Korea and Vietnam? You think it is so "nuanced and superior." It is, instead, the egotistical ravings of men who don't fight the battles and it puts the people in the field in a meatgrinder.
Don't send the US Military to fight anywhere and then try to manipulate them with rules of engagement. If the need is not bad enough to fight to win, then it is not bad enough to risk the lives of our kids.
Your post and the others like it are everything I grieve over when I remember the entire Vietnam debacle. If we leave Iraq and Afganistan, without total victory; if we fail to checkmate Iran's drive to possess the bomb; no matter who our future president or party in power may be, we will have to go back in a WWIII-type senario. The people will wonder at the foolishness of our leaders that inspite of the lessons of the past, we failed to see and act pre-emptiveley. People are going to die because of the radical Islamist ideology that cannot countenance the existance of other ideologies. McChrystal couldn't get the man's attention. You can count on this: He knew what he was doing and weighed out the consequences before he spoke in public.

Posted by: trevithick | October 5, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Could it be that Gen. McChrystal is doing what others have had to do to get to be heard? Go public!

Posted by: us1156 | October 5, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

A soldier looks at a battlefield and sees a need for victory. A statesman looks at a battlefield and sees a need for peace. They will take different roads.

This is why our Founders insisted that the last word was to be civilian, not military. This is why "the chain of command" is so vital.

We can win a battle and loose a war. We can loose a battle and win a war.

We have a smart and deliberative President. I don't know what he will choose nor if I will agree with it, but we are better off to have careful thinking where it matters.

Posted by: Allannde | October 5, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

The military politician adheres to the tradition of “chain of command,” playing the game and getting promoted. McChrystal is a warrior, not a politician. He actually cares about winning the war and minimizing American casualties. Thousands of Americans lie in graves around the world because Admirals and Generals didn’t have the guts to stand up to ignorant and stupid politicians. I support you, General McChrystal.

Posted by: xfreestater | October 5, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Remember 1951 and Douglas MacArthur?

While it's possible that MacArthur might have been right, he violated protocol.

A government cannot function effectively without due adherance to protocol.

Posted by: arthurg | October 5, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

The General did the ony thing he could do. He has the same boss I've had most of my life. BH O'Carter ducks and dodges to keep from making a decision. Gen. McC's job does not stop because he has an incompetent Commander-in-chief. Each and every U.S. life lost since the day BH O'C announced that the objective was not to "win" falls squarely on BH O'C head.

Posted by: IQ168 | October 5, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Fire General McChrystal. No general or admiral debates his Commander in Chief in the media...more than once. Generals and admirals are all about "winning the big game"...the war. Their sense of worth is tied to winning in battle; as it should be, we would not want a military satisfied with finishing #2. Yet, military action is, in the end, ratcheting up the political stakes in any confrontation or conflict. War is started by politicians; it is perpetuated by politicians, and it ends by political action. The military should not be allowed to dictate to the politicians the prosecution of this war. When politicians decide enough is enough, they should have the 'rocks' to call a halt to it. If politicians rely on the military to determine the end of this war, we will be stuck to this tar-baby forever, with the main result of more and more Americans dead for a cause we never did believe in.

Posted by: skiloypet | October 5, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

I have thought for a long time that McChrystal should be replaced. Just another hawkish military commander looking to make some kind of reputation for himself by continuing to promote a war that is unwinnable - reminds me of the Vietnam War era, another unwinnable fiasco. Not only that, he is obviously a Cheney/Rumsfield shill. McChrystal needs to stand down and remember that he is NOT the Commander In Chief.

Posted by: ilovebulldogs | October 5, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse


General McChrystal disrepected the office of the President and the Constitution. He violated the chain of command, and the expectation that trusted military advisers should offer their counsel to the President in private. He also appears to have played a central role in the cover-up of the circumstances surrounding the friendly-fire death in Iraq of former NFL star Pat Tillman.

President Obama should remove him from power...

...along with the leaders of a security/military/intel cabal which has deployed classified, silent, injury- and illness-inducing "slow-kill" microwave and laser directed energy weapons systems against "targeted" American citizens...

...human rights violations which constitute war crimes against the American people.

What do your Bush-Cheney "leave-behinds" know about this?: OR RE: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | October 5, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Thanks to the "UK Telegraph". Thankfully,they have reported without sanitizing the truth, regarding the Afghanistan situation and the fractious relationship that has developed between Pres.Obama and General McChrystal.

The gall of "James Jones" national security advisor to chastise Gen. McChrystal because the general challenged Pres. Obama. Gen. McChrystal genuinely cares when his fighting men and women are in danger and losing their lives.

The American media isn't reporting the WHOLE TRUTH....Obama and McChrystal had "words" (according to the Telegraph) aboard Air Force 1. BO had more important things to do than to make a decision about pitching Chicago to the IOC for the Olympic games.

I would hope that our top military men would not be afraid to be "insubordinate" to a commander-in-chief who seems to be totally unconcerned (and naive) about the arena of war situation and the mortal threats to our young men and women in Afghanistan.

Somehow, a health care bill was urgent and dire and must be passed (despite it not going into full effect until 2013). But proper troop reinforcements? Well, BO wants time to think about that. Disgusting!

Posted by: littleleers | October 5, 2009 12:10 AM | Report abuse

It is now official. The United States of America lives and operates by publicity, sound bites and photo ops and not by any sound strategic thinking or due deliberation by elected or appointed officials.

General McChrystal obviously is part of this new reality as he is conducting his campaign for more troops under his command via 60 Minutes, public speeches and leaked memos to the press rather than reporting through the chain of command and maintaining some degree of security about the subject.

Recall him now and appoint a General who understands the importance of operating within the chain of command and taking orders from the national security establishment vs. creating both strategy and national purpose "on the ground" from the commanders sole point of view.

McChrystal is a product of our military industrial complex. He has been trained in the arts of war: of closing with and killing the enemy, of taking objectives and of achieving "victory" and avoiding "defeat," Unfortunately in this new kind of war, those concepts have been made somewhat obsolete.

While replacing General McChrsytal President Obama and his team of crack advisors should completely rethink if committing a half million American troops to Afghanistan to build a nation as a prerequisite to defeating Al Quaeda and the Taliban is the best way to fight the new war on terror. You know, the one where all the old rules aren't supposed to apply, where stealth and economy of force and intelligence gathering trump firepower and where there are no geographic boundaries or frontiers to define victory of defeat. It is obvious General McChrystal and those who support him either did not get that memo or skipped that class ast Staff and Command College.

Posted by: bobfbell | October 4, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Sorry but I couldn't let this one sentence by tnvret slip through unchallenged: "Two simple words - "You lie" - brought needed changes in legislation that were ignored during the normal course of action."


Provisions in House and Senate legislation prohibited illegal immigrants from getting federal subsidies that would be offered to lower-income Americans to help them buy insurance.

That didn't go far enough for Wilson or many other Republicans, who noted the absence of any enforcement mechanism or requirement for verification of legal status. However, how many of these same illegals they are talking about are illegally getting social security? There is a huge distinction between how exactly the provision will be enforced, and Wilson's attempt to imply there was NO provision disallowing illegals to receive benefits of new healthcare legislation. Disingenuous. That outburst was uncalled for, it was Wilson who lied.

Posted by: cukidoh | October 4, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Damn - I just wish that Ensign's parents had told him . . . "Son - you have your own trust fund. So YOU go handle it in an appropriate Republican manner."

. . . but that's just me,

Posted by: palmtree2001 | October 4, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Jones is correct, of course; the chain of command is the appropriate path when things work properly. Ask Billy Mitchell about that, though. Jones is a retired Marine general instilled with a radically different code of ethics and values than Obama. Had Obama found the time to learn and to lead, his actions might have been far more prompt and directed toward critical matters. That is not to say he should try to manage a war like Johnson and McNamara, but it is his duty to seek out and listen to his commanders' requests for support. The chain of command has to be a funnel - and not a filter - to pass information to the appropriate level of command. Sometimes a lapse of civility or protocol at the risk of professional harm becomes the only course of action. Two simple words - "You lie" - brought needed changes in legislation that were ignored during the normal course of action. Given the Chicago connection it probably would be wrong to suggest a 2x4 to gain his attention, but something needs to help Obama's focus.

Posted by: tnvret | October 4, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

In Jon Krakauers new book "Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman" McCrystal's role in using Tillman's death as propaganda by the US government legitimately questions McCrystal's integrity. McCrystal needs to come clean about his involvement in the complete fabrication of the cause of Tillman's death. The opportunity to use his death as a way to gin up support for George Bush's re-election and support for the war should be of great concern to Obama, Congress and the American people. According to the documentation presented in the book, this was a coverup of heinous proportions, and McCrystal had a leading role. McCrystal should step down and be penalized for his part in this cover up of friendly fire. If not for the integrity and focus of grief stricken parents to get to the truth, the true circumstances of Tillman's death would live in the fantastical rewriting of history George Bush hopes to concoct. Another life, along with the over 4,000 in Iraq needlessly lost for nothing more than George Bush's fragile ego and simple incompetent mind. Nothing McCrystal says has any truth until and unless he speaks about his role in the Tillman cover up.

Posted by: cukidoh | October 4, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

As a combat vet, it is easy for suits to be the armchair quarterback. Give the suits an M-16, put them up front so they get the real taste of what is happening and then maybe they can make an informed decision. In this case...the general is looking out for his troops...far different than the suits and their political objective. Obama has no military experience...neither did we have this mess. How long will we play nice in war...ask a vet...kill the enemy...period...screw public opinion and the press...kick butt and if there are survivors...take names...Semper Fi...AMF

Posted by: DevilDoc | October 4, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

As soon as I read today that McChrystal was a buddy of Rumsfeld and Cheney, my first thought was, "Mr. President, forget about this guy for advice," They are obviously the people to whom he is loyal. Why else was his document leaked to the press? He learned his lessons from those two game players!

Posted by: Formerrepublican | October 4, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

I believe Gen McChrystal , until the Olympic bid rolled around, was unable to air his concerns to the President and only out of fear of lost lives did he push the issue. The President seems to think Afghanistan is another area that we can leave the young people in danger, grossly outmanned, while he checks the popularity polls to determine his next course.

McChrystal is ultimately accountable for things like lives, not politics. I applaud him for risking all of his career to get our troops our a dangerous situation. WHile our new Preseident just worries about remaining "popular".

Posted by: smallwonders1 | October 4, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Why on earth would any military strategist publicize his/her military plans to the whole world, including the enemy?

Is it me, or are the generals publicizing their proposals to promote their own agenda to force the President into agreeing with them?

The military commanders are making the same arguments that were made about Vietnam. Although this time the war is in Afghanistan, I fear that the outcome will be the same.

Generals create their legacy, their reputation, in history through war.

Presidents create their legacy, their reputation, in history through statesmanship.

Posted by: abbydelabbey | October 4, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

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