According to sources quoted today by McClatchy newspapers, two field commanders warned Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal repeatedly about a worthless Afghanistan outpost that was too costly to defend.
The field commanders are now facing penalties after two high-level military investigations.
Once McChrystal decided to keep open an outpost at Barg-e Matal, top US commanders in eastern Afghanistan delayed plans to close another remote outpost, Combat Outpost Keating. In an assault on October 3, 2009 insurgents killed eight U.S. troops there.
A third isolated base left its command to lower-ranking officers whose “ineffective actions” led “directly” to the deaths of five American and eight Afghan soldiers in a different ambush September 8, 2009.
The attack on Combat Outpost Keating brought the worst single American combat loss of 2009. However, Barg-e Matal making other operations more vulnerable was not mentioned by two recent Army probes.
McClatchy reports that two American defense officials and a former NATO official are now saying McChrystal was warned repeatedly to close Barg-e Matal by the commanders and other US officials. The sources requested anonymity to avoid retaliation.
They allege McChrystal and other Army officials should be held accountable, and that the decision to keep the outpost open was made “because of the political ramifications.”
Rear Adm. Gregory Smith, a spokesman for Gen. McChrystal said his boss ordered American troops to remain in Barg-e Matal to prevent it from falling to insurgents while a local militia was being trained there.
“We responded to a request by the government of Afghanistan to support nascent security forces that had come under direct and sustained insurgent pressure and were jeopardizing governance and the people in the area,” Smith wrote.
Col. Randy George and Lt. Col. Robert B. Brown, who received administrative penalties, could not be reached for comment by McClatchy.
According to McClatchy:
George, the American commander in four Afghan provinces that border Pakistan, has received a letter of admonishment; Brown, whose operational area included Keating and Barg-e Matal, has received an official reprimand.
The admonishment, which is a minor penalty, is unlikely to affect George’s career, but the official reprimand could end Brown’s career.
“They are screwing these two guys,” the first U.S. defense official said of the field commanders.
“They were looking for heads,” the second American defense official said. “It’s a travesty.”
This audio is from McClatchy, broadcast Feb. 21, 2010.
Millions around the world joined #ClimateStrike — demanding bold climate action
Masses of children skipped school Friday to join a global strike against climate change that teen activist Greta Thunberg said was "only the beginning" in the fight against environmental disaster.
Some four million people filled city streets around the world, organizers said, in what was billed as the biggest ever protest against the threat posed to the planet by rising temperatures.
Youngsters and adults alike chanted slogans and waved placards in demonstrations that started in Asia and the Pacific, spread across Africa, Europe and Latin America, before culminating in the United States where Thunberg rallied.
Trump announces new sanctions on Iran — and deploys US troops to the Middle East
The United States announced Friday that it was sending military reinforcements to the Gulf region following attacks on Saudi oil facilities that it attributes to Iran, just hours after President Donald Trump ordered new sanctions on Tehran.
Trump said the sanctions were the toughest-ever against another country, but indicated he did not plan a military strike, calling restraint a sign of strength.
The Treasury Department renewed action against Iran's central bank after US officials said Tehran carried out weekend attacks on rival Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure, which triggered a spike in global crude prices.
‘Do a lot of stupid sh*t as quickly as possible’: Ambassador Power breaks down ’The Trump Doctrine’
The former ambassador to the United Nations explained "The Trump Doctrine" during a Friday evening interview with comedian Bill Maher on HBO's "Real Time."
Samantha Power, the author of the new book, The Education of an Idealist, was asked by Maher about the foreign policy mantra of the Obama administration.
"Obama's foreign policy doctrine was famously summarized as 'don't do stupid sh*t," Maher noted. "Trump's, of course, is 'Do stupid sh*t.'"
"Do stupid sh*t as quickly as possible," Power clarified.