McChystal Firing Highlights Concerns Over Maintaining Civilian Control of the U.S. Military
Interview with Mel Goodman, former CIA analyst, conducted by Scott Harris
When Afghan war commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal was fired for insults hurled at civilian leaders quoted in a Rolling Stone article, President Obama made the point that he was terminating the man, while retaining his counterinsurgency strategy. This shakeup in the Afghan war command comes as the number of U.S. NATO soldiers killed in June was the highest seen since the start of the war in 2001.
The Senate Armed Services Committee voted to approve Gen. David Petraeus as the president's choice to succeed Gen. McChrystal as the U.S. Afghan war commander, with the full Senate expected to quickly confirm him. During the Senate hearing, Gen. Petraeus said he was considering reversing rules of engagement restricting the use of heavier fire power, that were originally implemented to reduce the number of Afghan civilian casualties. While the general said that President Obama's July 2011 deadline for the start of withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan was only "the beginning of a process," there is increasing skepticism that U.S. troops would actually start coming home by next summer. Some in Congress are moving to tie future funding for the war with a firm withdrawal date.
Between the Lines' Scott Harris spoke with former CIA analyst Melvin Goodman whose recent article is titled, " The Pentagon's Threat to the Republic." Here he expresses concern about the conflicts between America's military and civilian leadership seen in the McChrystal firing -- and the larger issue of maintaining civilian control of the Pentagon as the Afghan war continues in an uncertain direction.
Mel Goodman's latest book is titled, "Failure of Intelligence: The Decline and Fall of the CIA."
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