About three weeks ago, Reuters quoted Afghan President Hamid Karzai saying: "God forbid, if ever there is a war between Pakistan and America, Afghanistan will side with Pakistan."
Karzai also said:
"Afghanistan will never forget the welcome, the hospitality, the respect, and the brotherhood showed by the Pakistani people towards the Afghan people... Pakistan will never betray their brother."
According to CBS News, "that would be the case regardless of whether the country was India, China or the United States."
In a comment I made in a thread discussing endless American military involvement in the Middle East, I said (I have cleaned it up a little bit):
I am so [frustrated] at our "ally," Mr. Karzai -- the man and his country we are spilling American blood for, almost at the rate we did in Iraq -- for his unforgivable comments that, should there be a conflict between the U.S. and Pakistan, he would side with Pakistan...
Of course, my comment carried no weight.
However, I was pleased to see someone else -- of a little more stature -- join me in expressing "frustration."
This "someone else" said in an interview with POLITICO, that Afghan leaders were ungrateful for U.S. assistance and "isolated from reality." He called Karzai's comments "erratic," adding, "Why don't you just poke me in the eye with a needle! You've got to be kidding me. I'm sorry, we just gave you $11.6 billion and now you're telling me, I don't really care?"And:
You can teach a man how to fish, or you can give them a fish... We're giving them fish while they're learning, and they want more fish! (They say,) `I like swordfish, how come you're giving me cod?' Guess what? Cod's on the menu today.
According to the AP, this person also said the Afghans don't understand the extent to which the U.S. is in economic distress or the "sacrifices that America is making to provide for their security.
I couldn't agree more with this person's observations, and I know they carry more weight than mine -- much more weight. This person happens to be Maj. Gen. Peter Fuller, No. 2 general in charge of training Afghan troops and police.
Fuller's words carry so much more weight that, on Friday, Maj. Gen. Fuller was relieved of command by Marine Gen. John R. Allen, commander of all U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan.
Gen Allen said in a statement:
According to the AP:
These unfortunate comments are neither indicative of our current solid relationship with the government of Afghanistan, its leadership, or our joint commitment to prevail here in Afghanistan... The Afghan people are an honorable people, and comments such as these will not keep us from accomplishing our most critical and shared mission -- bringing about a stable, peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan.
There was no indication whether Fuller will be reassigned or if he would retire...
A native of Andover, Mass., Fuller was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1980 after graduating from the University of Vermont with a bachelor of arts in history and political science. He also holds a master's degree in public administration from Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, Pa.
Not much reaction from the Pentagon, but plenty of (unedited) reaction from -- for example -- readers of the military oriented Stars and Stripes:
We finally have a senior leader who is willing to tell the public the unvarnished truth and his supervisor doesn't have the courage to stand by him. Not difficult to determine which is the politician and which is the leader. Disgraceful and embarrassing.
General Allen should have been thinking about the sacrifices of our fine dedicated troops instead of trying to cover for that corrupt phoney Karzai and his criminal cronies. Such a knee jerk reaction of General Allen questions his leadership abilities. He should have fell on his sword for General Fuller if necessary because General Fuller told the truth. That would have been an example of true leadership.
This is really sad. It's about time the folks at the top stopped calling their staff out and firing them for telling the truth. Karzai's government is a bottomless pit of erratic behavior and policies, corruption, and is willing to support Pakistan if the US ever goes to war with the Paki's. Let's hope we never are stupid enough to go down that endless rabbit hole, and someone throw our troops a life line; a way out of this mess.
The political storm on this is just about to start. General Allen should have been fired for not supporting General Fuller for telling the truth.