Megyn Kelly had a fascinating interview with General Jack Keane (ret) last night on the military's exploding frustration with the Commander-in-Chief's 'strategy,' goals, implementation ideas, restrictions on operations, weaponry, and manpower, decision-making process, dithering, ideological rigidity, inability to access situations and make adjustments to deal with the reality on the ground, and his dismissal of their decades of experience while seeking input from his coterie of fellow-travellers, political hacks, and yes-wo/men, almost all of whom, if not all, have never worn the uniform of their country for a single day in their entire lives.
Here's my transcript of the interview:
Megyn Kelly: General Jack Keane is the Chairman of the Institute for the Study of War and former Army Vice-Chief-of-Staff and he joins me now. Good to see you, General. Let me just start with what your reaction is to what we’ve heard from General Madison and what we’ve seen from those four other generals coming out and saying that ‘The President has misstepped here.’Gen Jack Keane: Well, I share their views. I mean, we listened to the President’s speech last Wednesday. He defined an end state with which, I think, everybody agreed with: defeat and destroy. And, he defined a general framework, which seemed to satisfy most of us and our concerns, but then since the last week, all of the details came out about what is the actual implementation plans, we have fundamental concerns. First, the air campaign is critical, but it won’t be decisive, but it is very important. Why aren’t we bombing Syria now? It is seven days later and those targets are exposed. Support infrastructure, training areas, supply bases for troops and equipment, command and control. The longer we wait, the more opportunity we have for ISIS to protect and conceal those targets.MK: And, there are reports tonight that say they are doing exactly that. They are reportedly moving into the inner cities and they know that they’ve got time to abandon their posts and get to a spot where they know we are unlikely to bomb from the air.GJK: The truth be known, and I wish that I had said it the night that you asked me to comment on the President’s speech, but I didn’t think about it until I was going home in the car. And, the fact of the matter is that he should have been bombing that night and he should have been announcing that campaign that night. That would have taken them by surprise because I am convinced that one of ISIS’ planning assumptions, given that the President did not cross the red line to do airstrikes in Syria a year ago, they believe that they won’t strike them in Syria either.The second issue really and this is what the generals are talking about. This is what General Dempsey is nuanced about in his comments and General Odierno carefully parsed his words in what he was saying and so did General Madison and others. Those of us, being retired, can speak more openly. The issue is the ground campaign is what will destroy and defeat ISIS, but we’ve got a weak hand in the ground campaign. Weaken Syria with the Free Syrian Army that needs to be armed, equipped, and trained and we’ve been refusing to do that for three years. And, now, we’re going to do it, but we’re not going to do it robustly.
And, in Iraq, we have an unproven ground team in the Iraqi army, the Peshmerga, and the Sunnis. They’ve never worked together. Not only that, they’ve had problems fighting ISIS. So, what General Dempsey and General Austin at Central Command have been trying to do and what they’ve been presenting to the President, knowing that we have a weak hand on the ground. They want to strengthen that hand to have success. Increase it. So what does that mean? They want advisers and air-ground control to stand with the fighting units. Clearly, that means boots and troops on the ground. They want JSOC, special operation forces, and direct action teams to take down the ISIS leadership, kinetically. That means combat forces, but limited to do that. We did this every night in Iraq and every night in Afghanistan. And, believe me, when you go after these leaders, things begin to change dramatically on the battlefield below them.MK: So, let me ask you this because Nancy Pelosi was asked this today and what she said was, and I quote, ‘Been there, done that when it comes to combat troops and we’re not doing that.’ She’s pointing to the Iraq War and that situation as a justification for not sending any combat troops of Americans now.
GJK: Well, that is a misunderstanding of the facts and quite an absurdity in that statement. By the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009, President Bush’s surge strategy, led by General Petraeus and General Odierno, now the Chief of Staff of the Army, defeated al-Qaeda in Iraq. I saw the transmissions because I was adviser to Petraeus on the ground in Iraq. They showed me the transmissions from al-Qaeda that they were intercepting. They said, ‘We are defeated. Don’t send any more foreign fighters.’ So, we know how to deal with this enemy in that category. What happened to us was, and I don’t want to go back and replay all of the mistakes, but the fact is that we didn’t leave a force there and we’re paying a huge price for it for not leaving something to help the Iraqis.MK: Can you speak – It’s extraordinary to see all of these generals (Dempsey, Odierno, Gates, Zinni, and Mattis) come out , the ones who were working for administration now and saying as strongly as they can, given their current positions, that they are disagreeing with the Commander-in-Chief’s strategy here. Speak, if you can, to the President’s relationship with the military right now.
GJK: The frustration level in the Pentagon among the military and in the Central Command headquarters, which is overseeing the war, with the President and the White House, is as high as it has ever been, but this President has overruled our commanders time and time again from 2009 to the present. And, it’s been very frustrating for them.McChrystal and Petraeus wanted 40,000 troops to go into Afghanistan, as part of the surge. The President gave them 25% less or 30,000. They wanted the surge force to stay there for a couple of years. The President pulled it out after 11 months over the objections of General Petraeus.
General Austin, who is now the Central Command Commander, when he was running the war in Iraq – at the end of the war – made a recommendation of 24,000 troops to stay in Iraq. The end result was nothing.General Dunford, the Marine Corps Commander of Afghanistan, and the Central Command Commander Austin made a recommendation THIS year to the President to keep a residual force in Afghanistan. He has rejected that and said, ‘No.’Now, he’s rejecting their recommendations to win this war against ISIS and, also, he is rejecting what they absolutely need and one is the noise that you heard out of General Dempsey is that, if this weak strategy fails, we need US combat forces to come in and take over. And, that is still not an option.’MK: And, the question remains then whether the Commander-in-Chief is, in effect, setting our own troops up to fail. We’re going to take that up a little later. General Keane, thank you so much for being here tonight.
In November 2008, The New Yorker reported that Barack Obama (at least) once, infamously, said:
'I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.'
Evidently, President Barack Hussein Obama also thinks he's a better general than Generals Dempsey, Madison, Odierno, Dunford, Austin, Mattis, Zinni, Gates, Petraeus, and McChrystal.
Hell, he probably thinks he is a better military strategist and leader than Julius fvcking Caesar, Alexander the Great, William the Conqueror, Hannibal Barca, General Omar Bradley, Genghis Khan, General Dwight Eisenhower, General George S Patton, General Napoleon Bonaparte, General Georgy Zhukov, the Marshal of the Soviet Union, Generalfeldmarschall Erwin Rommel, General Douglas MacArthur, Ramses the Great, General Ulysses S Grant, General Robert E. Lee, Sargon the Great, Richard the Lionheart, Saladin, Pyrrhus of Epirus, Scipio Africanus, Mao Zedong, First Admiral Horatio Nelson, Charlemagne, Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, General George Washington, and General Sun Tzu, the legendary Chinese military strategist.
We are soooo screwed by the King of Choom.