I wrote yesterday about an article in the Wall Street Journal with the headline "Taliban now winning". The article was based on an interview w/ Gen. McChrystal and contained a number of direct quotes from him. It also contained several paraphrases purporting to represent his thoughts, such as.
The Taliban have gained the upper hand in Afghanistan, the top American
commander there said, forcing the U.S. to change its strategy in the
They quote McChrystal directly many times throughout the piece but
somehow this bit is absent quotes and I think they may be
mis-characterizing what he actually said. If he actually believes they
have gained the upper hand, that would be quite significant, but it
seems more likely he said they have gained ground.
I also sent an email to the Public Affairs team to see if this was an accurate representation. It doesn't sound like it was.
On Tue, Aug 11, 2009 at 12:13 AM, Sholtis, Edward T USA LTC USAF COMISAF wrote: Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Jim--I sat in on the interview, and the Journal article overstated Gen
McChrystal's position. The Commander did not say the Taliban was
winning in his interview, as suggested by the headline. Asked by the
reporter if the Taliban had the upper hand, he explained that
International Security Assistance Forces are facing an aggressive enemy,
employing complex tactics, that has gained momentum in some parts of
Afghanistan. During the course of the interview he also observed that
ISAF has had some success in reversing the initiative, and that
insurgents in Afghanistan face their own long-term problems in terms of
public support, group cohesiveness and their ability to sustain morale
and fighting capacity. There was much more nuance to his analysis than
made it into the Journal article.
TADD SHOLTIS, LTC, USAF (OF-4)
Public Affairs Officer for the Commander, ISAF
Headquarters, International Security Assistance Force
Gen. McChrystal is about to deliver a report on the status of our fight in Afghanistan. This will generate considerable discussion about what our efforts should be going forward. We faced a similar situation in 2006 and 2007 as to whether we should "end" the war in Iraq and fortunately we did not. As a result the Surge worked and we have been able to turn more and more control over to the Iraqis.
Afghanistan represents an even tougher challenge, but the stakes involve it's next door neighbor and nuclear weapons. The combined Af-Pak theater is a tremendously difficult mess, but once again we face the choice of ceding control to the extremists, or helping a nascent democracy to grow it's security forces to face the challenge. Let's get this one right as well.
Former Paratrooper and Army Officer, "Blackfive" started this blog upon learning of the valorous sacrifice of a friend that was not reported by the journalist whose life he saved. Email: blackfive AT gmail DOT com
Retired Special Operations Master Sergeant, Jim Hanson ("Uncle Jimbo") is now focused on writing about the military, politics, intelligence operations and foreign policy. Email: jimbo AT unclejimbo DOT com
Writer, photographer, and raconteur C. Blake Powers is the Laughing Wolf. He is independent in politics and covers topics including journalism, military, weapons, preparedness, space, science, cooking, food and wine, product and book reviews, and even spirituality. Email: wolf1 AT laughingwolf DOT net Laughing Wolf's Amazon Wish List
Bill Paisley, otherwise known as Pinch, is a 22 year (ongoing) active and
reserve naval aviator. He blogs over at www.instapinch.com on a veritable
cornucopia of various and sundry items and will bring a tactical naval
aviator's perspective to Blackfive. Readers be warned: any comments of or
about the F-14 Tomcat will be reverential and spoken in low, hushed tones.
Email: wpaisley AT comcast DOT net
Mr. Wolf has over 26 years in the Army, Army NG, and USAR. He’s Airborne with 5 years as an NCO, before becoming an officer. Mr. Wolf has had 4 company commands. Signal Corp is his basic branch, and Public Affairs is his functional area. He recently served 22 straight months in Kuwait and Iraq, in Intel, PA, and senior staff of MNF-I. Mr. Wolf is now an IT executive. He is currently working on a book on media and the Iraq war. Functional gearhead.
In Iraq, he received the moniker of Mr. Wolf after the Harvey Kietel character in Pulp Fiction, when "challenges" arose, they called on Mr. Wolf...
Email: TheDOTMrDOTWolfAT gmail DOT com
Deebow is a Staff Sergeant and a Military Police Squad Leader in the Army National Guard. In a previous life, he served in the US Navy. He has over 19 years of experience in both the Maritime and Land Warfare; including deployments to Southwest Asia, Thailand, the South Pacific, South America and Egypt. He has served as a Military Police Team Leader and Protective Services Team Leader and he has served on assignments with the US State Department, US Air Force Security Police, US Army Criminal Investigation Division, and the US Drug Enforcement Administration. He recently spent time in Afghanistan working with, training and fighting alongside Afghan Soldiers and is now focused on putting his 4 year Political Science degree to work by writing about foreign policy, military security policy and politics.
McQ has 28 years active and reserve service. Retired. Infantry officer. Airborne and Ranger. Consider my 3 years with the 82nd as the most fun I ever had with my clothes on. Interests include military issues and policy and veteran's affairs.
Email: mcq51 -at - bellsouth -dot- net
Tantor is a former USAF navigator/weapon system officer (WSO) in F-4E Phantoms who served in the US, Asia, and Europe. He is now a curmudgeonly computer geek in Washington, DC, picking the taxpayers pocket. His avocations are current events, aviation, history, and conservative politics.
Twenty-three years of Active and Reserve service in the US Army in SF (18B), Infantry and SOF Signal jobs with operational deployments to Bosnia and Africa. Since retiring he's worked as Senior Defense Analyst on SOF and Irregular Warfare projects and currently ensconced in the emerging world of Cyberspace.
Major Pain --
A Marine who began his blog in Iraq and reflects back on what he learned there and in Afghanistan. To the point opinions, ideas and thoughts on military, political and the media from One Marine’s View. Email: onemarinesview AT yahoo DOT com
Uber Pig was an Infantryman from late 1991 until early 1996, serving with Second Ranger Battalion, I Corps, and then 25th Infantry Division. At the time, the Army discriminated against enlisted soldiers who wanted use the "Green to Gold" program to become officers, so he left to attend Stanford University. There, he became expert in detecting, avoiding, and surviving L-shaped ambushes, before dropping out to be as entrepreneurial as he could be. He is now the founder of a software startup serving the insurance and construction industries, and splits time between Lake Tahoe, Boonville, and San Francisco, CA.
Uber Pig writes for Blackfive a) because he's the proud brother of an enlisted Civil Affairs Reservist who currently serves in Iraq, b) because he looks unkindly on people who make it harder for the military in general, and for his brother in particular, to succeed at their missions and come home in victory, and c) because the Blackfive readers and commenters help keep him sane.
COB6 spent 24 years in the active duty Army that included 5 combat tours with service in the 1st Ranger Battalion and 1st Special Forces Group . COB6 was enlisted (E-7) and took the OCS route to a commission. COB6 retired a few years back as a field grade Infantry officer.
Currently COB6 has a son in the 82nd Airborne that just returned from his third tour and has a newly commissioned daughter in the 4th Infantry Division.