Eight and a half months ago, I published an open letter to you that critiqued General Stanley McChrystal's plan for Afghanistan as well as his personal qualifications for his high position.
Noting that the General had produced an unsound plan and been insubordinate in making foolish statements to the international press and media, I advised you to dismiss him -- in order for you to retain command authority over the armed services of the United States of America.
Although you did not heed my advice then, I am following up with this letter to update the public record on General McChrystal's continuing insubordination under your command as well as to cite new evidence that his Counter Insurgency (COIN) plan has failed to accomplish anything more than an escalation into quagmire in Afghanistan-Pakistan.
You will be familiar with the profile and report titled, "The Runaway General" that is featured in the current edition of Rolling Stone. This paper by Michael Hastings provides credible reports from the battlefields of Afghanistan that troops under the command of General McChrystal have presented him with strong evidence that his COIN strategy has failed in the field. For example, the General routinely confronts groups of dozens of soldiers who report that his strategy is failing in statements put directly to him in very clear language, "Sir, some of the guys here, sir, think we're losing, sir."
In direct debate with the General, one soldier said, "You say we've stopped the momentum of the insurgency. I don't believe that's true in this area. The more we pull back, the more we restrain ourselves, the stronger it's getting."
There can be no further dispute--General McChrystal is steadily losing the confidence of the infantry under his command because they deem his policies to be flawed, erroneous and dangerous to the national security of the United States. With the publication of Hastings' article, this process of the erosion of the General's command authority will certainly accelerate.
But that is not all. According to publications that have not been disputed, General McChrystal is surrounded by a tight cadre of officers openly engaged in publicly undermining your policy of a time-limit for the surge and US military operations in Afghanistan. Hastings quoted a "senior advisor" to General McChrystal who deliberately contradicted your commitment to draw down troops next summer in an anonymous statement he made for the public record. This anonymous "senior advisor" spoke out in public to undermine your policy and said, "There's a possibility we could ask for another surge of U.S. forces next summer if we see success here."
Over a three-month period last year, you prudently deliberated over General McChrystal's proposed plan for COIN. However, in the light of new evidence from the field it is now clear that his proposals were unsound. Today there is abundant evidence that the General's plan was based on incorrect assumptions, specious presuppositions, false preconceptions and deeply flawed logic. The countervailing evidence has been available for quite some time from infantry under the General's command. Their direct testimony is now in the public domain in Hasting's article with more certain to follow in short order.
It should be noted that Hastings' profile of the General's personality was not flattering. According to direct evidence in Hastings' account, the General's personality is largely predicated on deliberate, flagrant and brazen forms of insubordination. In one case that you should note, the General authored a short story from the viewpoint of a successful presidential assassin--suggesting an inveterate problem with the chain of command.
While the General is undoubtedly gifted, his intellectual prowess would seem to be much more in accord with the carefree cut and thrust of capitalistic entrepreneurship than with the much more sober occupations of national security.
Finally, the General has made comments that are now in the public domain tantamount to charges that you are unfit to be Commander-in-Chief of the United States of America. Hastings reports direct quotations from "sources familiar with the meeting" between you and about a dozen of your Pentagon staff in the "Tank" when the General stated that you looked, "uncomfortable and intimidated."
In order to maintain the chain of command over the armed services as well as within your administration, it would be foolish to retain the services of General Stanley McChrystal. There is much more evidence demonstrating the General's unsuitability for his current assignment, but the most pressing issue is to identify his replacement and the design of a new plan to end the US engagement in Afghanistan and Pakistan without destabilizing that extremely fragile region any further.
Given the state of affairs in Afghanistan, a prompt shift to a much more limited Counter-Terrorism strategy followed by a drawdown of troops and a swift cessation of the ill-conceived predator drone program that has cost the lives of too many Pakistani civilians and endangered the global credibility of the entire American project would certainly seem to be prudent steps to take in the immediate future.
To ensure the national security of the United States of America, the total withdrawal of all combat forces from Afghanistan should be planned and executed as promptly as possible.