Rush Limbaugh falsely claimed that Gen. Stanley McChrystal "didn't get the rules of engagement" or "boots on the ground" he wanted in Afghanistan. In fact, McChrystal has stated that the rules of engagement are based in part on his "experience," and agreed that President Obama provided the "right number" of additional troops.
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From the June 23 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
LIMBAUGH: Well, it made a big difference to McChrystal. It's a big difference. He didn't get the boots on the ground that he asked for. He didn't get the rules of engagement that he -- saddled with. But we elected the guy, so we live with it. Yip-yip-yip-yip-yahoo, ta-da-ta-da-ta-da.
McChrystal took credit for rules of engagement he issued
McCrystal issued rules of engagement for Afghanistan calling for troops to avoid "excessive use of force." In declassified portions of a revised "Tactical Directive" to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan issued in July 2009, McChrystal wrote that American troops should avoid "causing civilian casualties or excessive damage and thus alienating the people" and that "excessive use of force resulting in an alienated population will produce far greater risks." [NATO, 7/6/09]
McChrystal agreed with senator's statement that he was not "directed" to implement rules of engagement. From a December 9, 2009, Senate Armed Services Committee hearing:
SEN. JACK REED (D-RI): General McChrystal, the rules of engagement within Afghanistan emphasize minimizing civilian casualties. That was a point you made when you took over, and Admiral Mullen made the same point yesterday at Camp Lejeune.
That is based, I think -- and let -- I don't want to be presumptuous, but my understanding is based on your experience, your understanding of counterinsurgency warfare, the experience of the -- the Soviets before us that it's not -- that you are not directed to do that by anyone, is that correct?
McCHRYSTAL: That -- that is correct, Senator. I did, before I deployed out, watch the situation going on. So I had formed opinions but got no specific direction.
Rolling Stone: McChrystal "got almost exactly what he wanted" in war strategy, defended rules to troops. Michael Hastings' June 22 profile of McChrystal in Rolling Stone reported that McChrystal advocated "a controversial military strategy known as counterinsurgency" in Afghanistan and that "[i]n the end ... McChrystal got almost exactly what he wanted." Hastings also reported that McChrystal defended the rules of engagement during a question-and-answer session with soldiers, stating in part, "What I'm telling you is, fire costs you. What do you want to do? You want to wipe the population out here and resettle it?"
McChrystal praised Obama's war plan in Afghanistan after Obama announced troop increase
McChrystal called for counterinsurgency strategy and troop increase in August 2009. In his August 30, 2009, commander's assessment of the strategy in Afghanistan, McChrystal wrote that NATO forces require "a new strategy that is credible to, and sustainable by, the Afghans." He continued: "This new strategy must also be properly resourced and executed through an integrated civilian-military counterinsurgency campaign that earns the support of the Afghan people and provides them with a secure environment." McChrystal also stated that his strategy "requires more forces" in order to "accomplish the mission with appropriate and acceptable risk." [NATO, 8/30/09]
Obama responded by ordering 30,000 new troops as well as "a more effective civilian strategy." In his December 1, 2009, address at West Point, Obama announced his decision to send 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan. Obama also emphasized "a more effective civilian strategy, so that the government can take advantage of improved security." He continued:
This effort must be based on performance. The days of providing a blank check are over. President Karzai's inauguration speech sent the right message about moving in a new direction. And going forward, we will be clear about what we expect from those who receive our assistance. We'll support Afghan ministries, governors, and local leaders that combat corruption and deliver for the people. We expect those who are ineffective or corrupt to be held accountable. And we will also focus our assistance in areas -- such as agriculture -- that can make an immediate impact in the lives of the Afghan people.
The people of Afghanistan have endured violence for decades. They've been confronted with occupation -- by the Soviet Union, and then by foreign al Qaeda fighters who used Afghan land for their own purposes. So tonight, I want the Afghan people to understand -- America seeks an end to this era of war and suffering. We have no interest in occupying your country. We will support efforts by the Afghan government to open the door to those Taliban who abandon violence and respect the human rights of their fellow citizens. And we will seek a partnership with Afghanistan grounded in mutual respect -- to isolate those who destroy; to strengthen those who build; to hasten the day when our troops will leave; and to forge a lasting friendship in which America is your partner, and never your patron. [WhiteHouse.gov, 12/1/09]
McChrystal subsequently stated the "coalition is encouraged by President Obama's commitment" to the war. A December 2, 2009, press release issued by Gen. McChrystal praised the President's address on the war in Afghanistan. McChrystal said in the release that "[t]he clarity, commitment and resolve outlined in the President's address are critical steps toward bringing security to Afghanistan and eliminating terrorist safe havens that threaten regional and global security." He further stated that "[t]he 42 other nations of the Coalition will benefit from a strengthened U.S. commitment."
McChrystal praised president's change in strategy during congressional hearing. Days after Obama's announcement, McChrystal told the Senate Armed Services Committee: "I participated fully in the President's Assessment and decision-making process and was afforded multiple opportunities to provide my recommendations and best military advice -- which I did. Combined with insights and policy considerations from across our Government, I believe the decisions that came from that process reflect a realistic and effective approach." McChrystal went on to say: "The President's decision rapidly resources our strategy, recognizes that the next 18 months will likely be decisive, and ultimately, enables success. I fully support the President's decision. The President has also reiterated how this decision supports our national interests. Rolling back the Taliban is a pre-requisite to the ultimate defeat of al-Qaeda." [Senate Armed Services Committee, 12/8/09]
McChrystal agreed 30,000 troops was the "right number" of additional U.S. troops to send to Afghanistan. From McChrystal's December 8, 2009, appearance before the House Armed Services Committee (accessed from Nexis):
REP. RANDY FORBES (R-VA): Here's the core of what every member of this committee needs to know and the American people need to know. In your experience, in your best military advice, should we send 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan or a number greater than 30,000 -- not what you requested, not what were in documents, not what the president ordered -- in your best military advice?
McCHRYSTAL: In my best military advice, this is the right decision. The additional coalition forces that I expect will be helpful as well. But I believe that this is the right --
FORBES: So you believe 30,000 would be the right number.
McCHRYSTAL: Of U.S. forces, yes, sir.
In resignation statement, McChrystal again offered support for Obama's strategy
McChrystal's resignation statement: "I strongly support the President's strategy in Afghanistan." McChrystal issued a statement following his resignation in which he stated his support for Obama's Afghanistan strategy:
This morning the President accepted my resignation as Commander of U.S. and NATO Coalition Forces in Afghanistan. I strongly support the President's strategy in Afghanistan and am deeply committed to our coalition forces, our partner nations, and the Afghan people. It was out of respect for this commitment -- and a desire to see the mission succeed -- that I tendered my resignation.
It has been my privilege and honor to lead our nation's finest.