General Campbell takes principled stand on Afghanistan

“Based on conditions on the ground, I do believe we have to provide our senior leadership options different from the current plan we are going with.” – Gen. John Campbell, Oct. 6, 2015

I have frequently been critical of President Obama’s “lead from behind” foreign policy and his decision to fulfill his campaign promise to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan regardless of advice he gets from the Pentagon.

imageGen. John Campbell (stripes.com)

Gen. John Campbell (stripes.com)

At the same time, I have been critical of those generals who salute and obey the orders of the commander-in-chief to protect their careers. My Sept. 25, post, “Our military on “hold” until January 2017,” was my most recent piece on this subject.

Yesterday, however, Gen. John Campbell, our top commander in Afghanistan, told the Senate Armed Services Committee, that our long-standing plan for troop reductions there should be revised in favor of a larger U.S. presence. He referred to the changes on the ground  over the past two years, since the president last issued his plan for troop removals.

While the White House said that the president was reviewing options and would consider General Campbell’s recommendations, you can bet he wasn’t happy with the general’s testimony. His appearance before the Senate committee was primarily to respond to questioning on the inadvertent bombing of the medical facility serviced by the group. Doctors Without Borders. Twenty-two people were killed and many others injured.

Surprisingly, several Democrat senators voiced concern over the current plan to leave Afghanistan, including Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WVA); all favoring flexibility to enable our military to achieve mission objectives.

My hat is off to General Campbell for making his public statement regarding how he sees conditions in Afghanistan

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