Gen. Stanley McChrystal on the War in Afghanistan
General Stanley McChrystal, U.S. Army (Ret.) talks to Alan about his new book and Afghanistan’s future.
- Duration 19:12
- Date Jan 17, 2013
General Stanley McChrystal, U.S. Army (Ret.) talks to Alan about his new book and Afghanistan’s future.
Also in this playlist...
This transcript is automatically generated
And -- comes along with your microphone general Stanley McChrystal who's written my share the task a memoir.
He is retarded 2010 is a four star general.
Less Simon was the commander of all NATO and US forces in Afghanistan currently.
The senior fellow in Yale university's Jackson institute for global affairs and the co-founder of the McChrystal group.
The leadership consulting firm general thank you sir for being on the program tonight.
-- -- What are you decide to write this book and -- now.
Well I am not kind of lovable but I'm concerned that American service members are largely anonymous too much of society that we -- airports will be made by have a dinner or something like -- But because such a small percentage of Americans actually been actively engaged.
And because such small percentage of Americans know.
The part of the force that I spent a lot of Anchorage special operators was trying to shine a light on what they make your life.
I want to get into Afghanistan what we're doing there now where we need to governor let me ask you.
Do any regrets about the way you left in the Rolling Stone interview that led to the end of your service there.
I certainly do I have regrets about how all that played out -- -- I don't in any way regret my decision to deal with the media controversy in the way that I get on to commander was my responsibility to accept responsibility.
Weather right now I thought the detection what's fair and accurate.
I think that's what commanders do.
Where did you get did you get screwed did did Rolling Stone screw you and or misrepresent you and that.
And miss miss place what you said and how you senate.
Well I I regret that that came out the way it did not -- I didn't agree with it but you know you move on.
Is that you talk of the book about.
You're trip and I want to move on beyond this but I do want to just deal with a affront here.
If you talk in the book there's -- passes there in the page in the 387 area of the book we're talking about.
Go -- you call back to DC.
You've gone as did the Pentagon you gonna go see the president and you're prepared to hand your resignation in and I do you regret that he accepted your resignation.
Well I would look like this stay in the job but.
I don't second guess my idea decision to -- I think that was -- right to do.
-- -- but if you would you played any of this differently if he had a duel over again.
No I'm very comfortable that I did not comfortable that I would be and who I sure that there could be or should be -- Is Obama a good commander in chief.
Well you know it's -- commanders in chief -- -- -- -- history a lot I think it is gonna happen judge each of them drew up a little bit longer president.
But you talk in the book about the general systemic.
Back and forth between the the Pentagon in the civilian leadership from the fact that there's an uncomfortable fit their -- which is historic in this country.
Yeah -- very -- talking greet each -- book about it because I've had.
Studied history at Paramount I go back -- the period of Lincoln -- World War II -- Vietnam.
And when you take different cultures and military and it's a big culture.
And you try to build big -- for complex endeavor like a war.
You need an awful lot of trust.
But you know they comment at all and from different backgrounds they have -- shouldn't -- be used to -- different verbiage.
And it takes time to build the trusted in both sides have gotten develop experience remarkable the other end in the -- build up enough.
It won't compared to its -- really save her pretty huge YouTube -- doesn't look as well about how certain words have won meaning to the military another meaning.
Perhaps a civilian leadership and usually having a conversation using the same language but not really saying the same thing.
That's exactly right at one point we had a case where I was using the word defeat to describe the mission and -- the military.
I've -- the obituary in -- mutual doing from accomplishing their mission that doesn't mean you cannot capture although they be required.
And that had been the word that had been given to us as our mission statement.
But but a lot of people but yeah policy making -- decision making process would -- for maybe what.
I shouldn't have assumed that they had -- -- additional understanding -- but I can't hit -- so it created some confusion and that kind of thing undermines trust.
But are we better off with a civilian leadership would you rather see a guy like Colin Powell and -- -- president or an Eisenhower.
Or you know pick whoever it is is it good that we have the structure we have.
Where even if a former general is elected it's that general is now a civilian commander in chief is generally not a military person.
Yeah I think it's critical that it be that way I've -- countries can work with countries where the military is pretty intimate.
And scratch chipped in on -- situation that the military -- -- you start to distribute shell.
So I think it's critical that -- that the -- -- former military there and that job data.
-- -- -- -- -- -- So how do you solve that trust issue because naturally a new president comes and there's a trust issue regardless of what we're not talking about left or right -- political party I think we're talking with civilian -- military right.
Exactly I think it happens with every new administration you have to build trust I don't think trusting.
Something that -- -- by the -- something that take irons and shared experience -- And I think it's something that people coming true -- typical.
Endeavor -- get -- have got to give conscious effort shouldn't have no war.
This president done that as he.
Done his -- to build that trust with a military.
Well my experience direct troops.
This administration stopped that some people get I suspect it didn't get significant -- challenged by the cultural and I certainly hope there.
I'm pretty saying at the time you were there up -- Tony -- perhaps you're not is not satisfied with the effort.
That have been made.
I think we all couldn't get better I could've done better I think yeah at the White House could have been better other members -- it -- better I think retrospective the ballots that.
We probably couldn't put -- moral clarity on that.
You had a tough mission Afghanistan is something a lot of people don't understand -- would have to stop the average person on the street and said.
Why are -- in Afghanistan a waters our goal there they couldn't answer the question.
What you're absolutely right I think most Americans don't remember why we went -- 2000 -- And they don't -- -- think that the Afghan justice to a natural law that we didn't want because al-Qaeda was there but more important and I think.
Few Americans have an understanding of -- Afghan history should -- which are you shouldn't.
Bet -- really does psychological trouble the actual population.
Really Afghanistan does not know anything like normal inspection should be age.
And the like expectant -- it's -- I think it's only four years old or that many Afghans.
But remember normal.
Now -- and -- they're dealing with 34 years of turmoil and that producing some very strange -- at every level.
And you have the Russians -- left they couldn't deal wouldn't.
It was that it is it wasn't and isn't a doomed mission.
I don't think so I do hear that argument that it's the graveyard of empires and no one can be attractive I think.
We were not trying to do what are conquering army and Jews who were trying to Eric Campbell came -- Contra stable story.
It -- -- typical mission because.
Shall intentionally did torment chat under during the -- war really after the shall be so the civil war produced these different war.
-- -- -- -- And it could be produced all score -- issue the police corruption.
It produce non traditional.
And so trying to put this together.
But in a country -- got very little physical infrastructure I'm very low literacy rate.
And all of these -- and typical neighbors.
In extraordinarily difficult but I don't think it's impossible to predict it will work and -- didn't -- Is Karzai a good partner for -- But -- -- President Karzai elected president -- industry.
About people ask me should we keep Corzine.
But not yeah.
It's out of -- you know I actually think the present course -- can be your group Parker the peace but we need to remember.
When you get up in the morning -- doesn't look in the mirror and say look -- beat the united -- -- from the -- It occurred in the back and it didn't -- in what captain war.
-- -- -- -- -- -- So now here we are it's eleven years later this of the longest war we've ever had in this country it's gone on longer than World War II.
And we have a I guess an end date and leave addresses as well.
That by 2014 were out at least combat troops are out.
Is the trajectory going forward the proper one.
Well I think it -- victory going forty uncertain.
If you go into the Afghan.
Psyche right now at all this year.
-- people talk about that -- -- -- -- -- -- -- That Alibaba Afghanistan -- do you negatively they are sure a lot storm called on the future what everyone cheers will call.
Add to meet me at -- Scared is they're going to going to be abandoned they're not sure that -- nation's government -- military -- -- chart are yet stated what not to secure their future.
It's less about the number of troops the United States should the -- -- -- now because -- -- actually help who started the military.
It's more about a stretch that we are going to be strategic partners.
President Obama -- -- and I believe that they -- on strategic partnership.
The definition which is really not completely clear it certainly not compared to clear Kubiak and people attack the people.
-- we why should at least remove combat troops.
When we will.
I think it is inevitable that American combat troops are gonna allow Christians should should we -- announced the date that.
And there were popular in my sister Bob I'll be quite honest I did not support it when it was originally brought up with an option.
But -- the president the -- can do it I -- my commitment.
On the one hand it does involve injury that needs it cute but how Obama chancellor.
I'd -- which they'll be the issue that.
But it also get a little bit to motivate the acted as well I'm convinced that they weren't gonna have a skater for aboriginal I think it -- potential trouble there aren't there.
We'll take a quick break relentlessly to -- one more segment and you've got about another 1015 minutes -- -- -- -- -- -- break -- general Stanley McChrystal was with us.
His book is called my share of the task a memoir a -- to get into who the Taliban is.
What we can expect -- them can we ever communicated partner with them and will they still be in the picture when we leave and what -- Afghanistan and the like eventually.
Post 2014 what are some of the challenges that we shall have to face with.
I'm -- -- general Stanley McChrystal is written my share of the task the memoir he -- forces in Afghanistan retired 2010.
And he is currently senior fellow at Yale University Jackson institute.
The global affairs in the co-founder of the McChrystal -- leadership consulting firm in addition to his new book my share of the desk a memoir.
Let's -- -- -- -- who are they will be able have a relationship with them going forward.
Sure the -- -- come from the posh -- part outside Afghan society which is about 42% ethnically.
They really inundated in about 1974.
Probably young man who had been educated get -- -- -- inside Pakistan.
Now they they were able to come inside and made it actually the dead inside that it was -- by.
The bad habits that Pakistan.
They were in response to the misconduct -- the war gorge.
-- Civil war you wouldn't really began in 1992 usual what he did they were like a boom that was coming -- -- -- -- at all.
People -- -- population -- -- They were idealistic network.
Are strictly Islam -- What they got in control most of the country however they showed themselves to be almost resolutely.
Contraction or religiously -- the chance to be ridiculously bad administrators of the countries and became deeply unpopular.
So they will stay obviously.
Will they be able to coexist in a peaceful Afghanistan going forward.
Well that the televised score it I described it really gives you could tell why they are much more fragmented organization -- They were thrown out 2001 -- started to generate 2000 cherry.
In the subsequent years they've become much more -- -- local criminal groups.
They've become much more I'll be generalized they're not -- national liberation -- That on the one hand that's good because they're less about -- To take over the country but on the other hand.
Very difficult to deal with.
Because -- others as -- shot lead Mullah Omar -- that.
Shura Council what not they're really not -- -- Olympic organization that you can deal with this single -- There's no real single entity though it is not really strong -- our government how can there ever be any cohesiveness -- that country.
Let's say we leave then one -- the warlords take over we have any assurance about how long we -- -- at Oregon there be some kind of cohesiveness and the in the country.
When you get one of the major challenges.
There are some people say Afghanistan's got no tradition as a unified country and I -- -- that.
But they didn't have ethnic groups -- -- has arbitration but questions -- into smaller groups.
That need to band together and I shared sense that each of them comes -- better with unified government.
Theoretically that's very true that they had been at the competence that -- minority group should be treated fairly.
Will be different from what age you know the last 34 years she got to go back of course MBA.
Shall I think that it can't help elect a big current.
Government of Afghanistan.
Has yet -- wouldn't have -- -- And two you've been brilliant part so it disaffected question population that Alibaba option all white -- on the question population.
Do we have to stay there if either even in a non combat role to a certain extent and of itself to what extent how many troops must we.
Have remaining there.
I personally don't think we need to stay there in big numbers of people I couldn't put numbers.
We do we just stayed there in the minds of the Afghan people -- this -- intangible that would trouble in the years.
They need to believe there ally didn't believe they have a lot while apple partner that will help guarantee their future.
And child ways you know you could almost as it was a bit like -- -- But which situations that they're not going to be abandoned like that so that they -- after 98.
But do they -- -- as allies are occupiers.
I think -- -- back -- -- we are absolutely Putin's ally if they have a problem with you didn't pay.
They would question whether we are reliable large what you're -- just days.
-- with the wall went up to help their children and get out.
Did we really go and because that's where al-Qaeda was organizing terrorist camps al-Qaeda has gone elsewhere they metastasized David they've morphed into.
A bunch of different cells.
-- splinter groups calling themselves -- Qaeda so.
It -- the original mission even make any sense at this point.
It's interesting that's exactly what would.
We didn't go in and -- and request we went in because -- -- our chief strategic interest to get our car.
How we'd we would want however we -- into their government we.
That's certainly changed their society our presence shall want won't borrow wobble you could argue that we have a responsibility of the Afghan people.
On the other rebel you could -- that are chief strategic interest and I believe that it's important.
Are supported by stability in the region after that to be perfect because -- to be.
You know a lot countries that are as -- -- against.
-- by -- that they might like but stability in the area between nuclear armed Pakistan and Iraq and and that cultural yeah cultural quote that can't -- I believe he is strategic interest go back.
So we really need to be -- strategically and and also have a relationship with.
The Afghan people as you point out to get the trust so that we are accepted there is a force of Africa.
That's exactly what I say but I would say it doesn't -- a lot of forces.
Couple other things here with the general Stanley McChrystal before report company political -- the -- a memoir obviously the gun conversation taking place nationally.
Is of great interest especially today with the president.
Did you like what he said today about guns and the issue of the ability of people to have military type guns in their homes which some people think the Second Amendment.
Give them the right to half Williamstown.
Operational by ignorant I didn't have a chance to do with the presidential today.
Little background checks and he you know he wants to get rid of assault weapons on the street and he wants to.
Have more enforcement of a gun control legislation.
-- about my condition is pretty simple and it's based on my experience.
I achieved what assault weapons to the battle field in hand and American forces to get Vietnamese and that's appropriate and -- shouldn't got buried the weapons.
I've also seen what it does American soldiers.
And I'm uncomfortable.
With the idea that -- -- weapons.
Could in any way reach our schools -- rush to each and put and it should Americans now I'm not.
-- his political position what I abortion -- -- -- -- warriors got experience with the -- what what I what I want is a very mature conversation.
I have the right solution but I do know what.
What bothers -- -- -- -- instead of and argued that I'm hoping we can have a very careful conversation America and find the right combination of actions you know that will visual -- Which okay it'll be the Defense Secretary.
We'll get President Obama support -- I think that's the biggest.
Issue that he trusts them if they can -- -- because you know what the day.
I'm not as concerned with senator -- goals personal positions could keep up and get policymakers.
Get to implement.
And so I think that the President Obama and you're acting shouldn't get the -- but right kind of pushed -- -- You -- you voted for Obama the first time what about second time.
-- -- a private jet engines so I don't talk about it -- about it just -- OK we did -- -- for the first time.
Did he Wednesday pro event which could we respect General McChrystal I thank you Graham electrical -- -- program tonight desolate you look at thank you so much for your time.
Thanks very much the general Stanley McChrystal -- -- my share the task he memoir.