Gen Stanley McChrystal The Real And Hard Questions

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MILITARY life is different. It's not corporate life. It's not civilian life. It's not even the life of a professional athlete.

What sets military life aside from these other ways of life is perhaps imbedded in the question itself. Military life can lead to no life. Let's cut to the chase: People die, people get killed in military life.

Speaking of our military men and women, and by extension all law-enforcement personnel we need to bear in mind: These brave individuals are putting their necks on the line to keep us safe.

FOR decades, I served as a reserve lieutenant in an Israeli combat engineering unit, on duty during the entire Gulf War. For thirteen years, I served as a full-time officer, a Major, in the Israeli Prison Service. My prison held seven hundred of the most dangerous men on the face of this earth—including Islamic terrorists serving multiple life-sentences.

IN ALL my positions we had one guiding rule in our relationships with all our commanders—Speak your mind.

There are daily staff meetings, usually the day begins with it. Twenty officers sit around a table. The commanding officer sits at the head. Permission to speak is given, in an orderly fashion, around the table.

You are expected to speak your mind. You are expected to state clearly your needs.

When it's all done, the commander sums it up. He then delivers his decisions. He or she asks all present if they have any objections. Dissent is encouraged. It is in the best interest of everyone to air opposing views.

THE BEST commanders are those who look you in the eye and say: This is what I think. Tell me what you think. And they want you to be honest.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal gave a magazine interview. He expressed extremely grave doubts about the competence of those 'running' the war back home. He targeted a number of people.  There is no need to detail that, it's all public at this point.

Sweeping Gen. Stanley McChrystal aside is rhetoric, perhaps good photo op. But it does nothing to answer these substantial questions:

 Here are the real questions:

1. Why did Gen. Stanley McChrystal need to say what he said in the first place? This is a man seeing his underlings die for this country. He felt no one back home was listening. What brought a man busy leading a war to have to express these feelings in the first instance?

2. Why did a military man feel that level of being alone that he needed to express himself through a magazine interview? There is supposed to be a chain of command, and an extremely open line of communication. Where was that?!

3. What will change in the modus operandi now that he's been swept aside? Our soldiers are putting themselves in harms way, to put it mildly, or to put it more succinctly many are dying to keep us safe.

Sweeping this General aside is nice headlines, and makes a nice photo op. But, will any of the causes which brought him to that interview now change?

Our country is at war, one we did not wish for. Our military men and women need to know the above answers. They deserve to know them. And they deserve all this: Now.

My current events  blog can be found:

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