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Stan McChrystal’s Free Pass to Afghanistan

Want a sure sign that Army Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal isn’t going to face a difficult confirmation hearing to command U.S. forces in Afghanistan? The Senate

Jul 31, 2020
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Want a sure sign that Army Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal isn’t going to face a difficult confirmation hearing to command U.S. forces in Afghanistan? The Senate Armed Services Committee just announced that McChrystal’s going before it on June 2. But it’s not his confirmation alone. He’s triple-booked alongside Adm. James Stavridis, the Southern Command chief who’s going to be NATO Supreme Allied Commander, and Air Force Lt. Gen. Douglas Fraser, who’s going to take Stavridis’ place at Southern Command.
This is Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the chairman of the committee, pushing McChrystal through the process. While the counterinsurgency crowd lovesMcChrystal — he’s considered one of the finest, smartest and most capable officers the Army has produced in this current generation of general officers — the general faces serious questions about what he knew and didn’t know about a facility called Camp Namaoperated by a task force under his command in Iraq, which became known for particularly grisly torture of Iraqi detainees. Andrew Sullivan’s bloghas been diligently compiling accountsof Nama and Task Force 6-26(the unit in question) in advance of McChrystal’s hearing. There are also concerns over McChrystal’s role in the cover-up of Pat Tillman’s death by friendly fire in Afghanistan, but there it appears more straightforwardly that McChrystal was telling his chain of command that the circumstances claimed publicly for Tillman’s death were untrue.
All of this would normally make for a rocky confirmation hearing. And that’s evidently what Levin is trying to avoid. You can see a circumstance where the committee could argue that it needs to hear both the NATO commander nomination and the Afghanistan commander nomination at once, because Afghanistan is a NATO mission as well as a U.S. mission, but even then that’s a thin pretext for not giving McChrystal, who’s about to get the most important command assignment in the military, his own hearing. (The foreign relations committee didn’t double-book Karl Eikenberry’s confirmation hearing for the Afghanistan ambassadorship with Ivo Daalder’s confirmation hearing for his NATO ambassadorship, for instance.) Adding the Southern Command hearing is just egregious. Will committee members get sufficient time to question McChrystal — or to let McChrystal answer the charges against him?
Dexter Cooke

Dexter Cooke

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Dexter Cooke is an economist, marketing strategist, and orthopedic surgeon with over 20 years of experience crafting compelling narratives that resonate worldwide. He holds a Journalism degree from Columbia University, an Economics background from Yale University, and a medical degree with a postdoctoral fellowship in orthopedic medicine from the Medical University of South Carolina. Dexter’s insights into media, economics, and marketing shine through his prolific contributions to respected publications and advisory roles for influential organizations. As an orthopedic surgeon specializing in minimally invasive knee replacement surgery and laparoscopic procedures, Dexter prioritizes patient care above all. Outside his professional pursuits, Dexter enjoys collecting vintage watches, studying ancient civilizations, learning about astronomy, and participating in charity runs.
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