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“WHERE MEN WIN GLORY”

Andrew Exum, the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), and the Whitewash
of General McChrystal’s Role in the Aftermath of Pat Tillman’s Friendly-Fire Death

October 31st 2009 [Revised 1-27-10]

By GuyMontag425, feralfirefighter.blogspot.com

Nathaniel Fick, CEO CNAS General Stanley McChrystal Andrew Exum, CNAS Fellow

“The bottom line is, nothing is ever going to heal the wounds inflicted on the Tillman Family … And while I have nothing
but respect for the Tillman Family…, their personal grief should not be a veto on the nomination of the man [General
McChrystal] the president, the Secretary of Defense, and General Petraeus all feel gives the United States and its allies the
best chance of victory in Afghanistan … These are serious questions and are more important than either the death of Pat
Tillman or the alleged abuse of detainees.”
- - Andrew Exum, “Confirm Him” (6-02-09)

“When reporting as a “journalist’ for the army, you quickly learn there is no news but good news. … I put my Ivy League
English degree to use writing shallow propaganda. … I made it a game to see just how falsely positive I could be. … the
Dept of Public Affairs in Washington DC named me one of the army’s “Outstanding Journalists.” … I had earned my first
medal from the army for writing in a newspaper.”
-- Andrew Exum, “This Man’s Army” (2004)

“Ron Holcomb [Secretary of Defense] never told a lie, at least not in the way he could be caught in it. …As a consequence,
his remarks were a mix of bald truth, diplomatic half-truths, and what Holcomb had privately called ‘necessary,
unconfirmable distortions.’ Nonetheless, they would become the government’s official pronouncement on the day’s
action.” … “Allegations, lies, denials, dissembling, distortions … And all the while they secretly whispered to the media …
And the media gave them their forum, always ascertaining beforehand that their allegations were borne out by facts if not
the truth.”
--- Senator James Webb, “Something to Die For” (1991)

“They ought to make a movie about this. Mr. Smith comes to Washington.” “Yeah, I called my pa last night and he says,
“Judd boy, you been up there with them muck-a-mucks two days, now. Did they teach you how to lie yet?”

-- Senator James Webb, “A Country Such As This” (1983)


“WHERE MEN WIN GLORY”

TABLE OF CONTENTS
PDF Page #:

January 23rd 2010 Letter to Nathaniel Fick, CEO, Center for a New American Security

Excerpts from “Did They Teach You How to Lie Yet?” – Senator James Webb,
General Stanley McChrystal and the Betrayal of Pat Tillman:

• Table of Contents – “Did They Teach You How to Lie Yet?”

• April 3rd 2008 Letter to Senator James Webb

• May 25th 2009 Letter to Senator James Webb

• General McChrystal’s June 2nd 2009 Senate Confirmation Hearing

Excerpts from “Lies … Borne Out by Facts, If Not the Truth” – Senator Webb,
Thom Shanker, The New York Times and the Whitewash of General McChrystal’s
Role in the Aftermath of Pat Tillman’s Death”:

• Table of Contents – “Lies … Borne Out by Facts, If Not the Truth”

• “Senator James Webb and the Whitewash of General Stanley McChrystal’s


Role in the Aftermath of Pat Tillman’s Death”

• “Thom Shanker, The New York Times, and their Whitewash of General Stanley
McChrystal’s Role in the Aftermath of Pat Tillman’s Friendly Fire Death”
PDF Page
#:
APPENDICES:
A: Center for a New American Security (CNAS) – “News & Press Releases” 3
B: Blog Commentary About Andrew Exum & General McChrystal 9

C: Notes from Andrew Exum’s book “This Man's Army” (2004) 11

D: Notes from Jon Krakauer’s book “Where Men Win Glory” (2009) 13
E: Blackwater's Secret War in Pakistan (Jeremey Scahill, The Nation) (November 23, 2009) 15

F: “Abu Muqawama” Versus “Guy Montag”: 16

• Excerpts from “Abu Muqawama” Blog Posts (June 2, 2009 -- to October 8, 2009) 17
• “Confirm Him” (June 2, 2009) 24
• “He Didn’t Come Home” (Andrew Exum, Washington Post) (September 13, 2009) 26

• “Gen. McChrystal’s Credibility Problem” (Jon Krakauer, The Daily Beast) (October 15, 2009) 29
• Meet the Press (with Jon Krakauer) (November 1, 2009) 34

• “On Martial Virtue ... and Selling Jon Krakauer's Crappy New Book” (November 2, 2009) 35
• “He Who Shall Not Be Fact-Checked” (November 9, 2009) 58

• “Blame to Spare on a Book Review” (Andrew Alexander, Washington Post) (November 15, 2009) 64

• “Public Service Announcement” (November 23, 2009) 70


• “Abu Muqawama Sells Out!” (December 3, 2009) 77
• “McChrystal/Eikenberry Testimony Today” (December 8, 2009) 80
APPENDIX A:

CENTER FOR A NEW AMERICAN SECURITY --


NEWS & PRESS RELEASES

Top National Security Reporters Eric Schmitt & Thom Shanker Join CNAS
as Writers in Residence
10/15/2009 — Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON, D.C., OCTOBER 15, 2009 - The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) is
pleased to announce that distinguished journalists Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker, who
cover terrorism, the military, and national security for The New York Times, will join
CNAS as Senior Writers in Residence in November 2009.

While at CNAS, Schmitt and Shanker will work on a book titled "Counterstrike," an
examination of the evolution of American counterterrorism strategy since the attacks of
Sept. 11, 2001. The book will be published by Times Books/Henry Holt & Co.

The CNAS Writers in Residence program provides some of America’s top national security journalists
the opportunity to develop and complete larger projects. Working closely with CNAS scholars and
leadership, Writers in Residence can take advantage of the full spectrum of the Center’s
resources and expertise. Previous Writers in Residence include David Cloud and Greg Jaffe, who just
released "The Fourth Star"; Tom Ricks, who wrote "The Gamble"; and David Sanger, who wrote "The
Inheritance."

Eric Schmitt is a senior writer for The New York Times who has written about the military and national
security affairs for the newspaper for more than 20 years. Since the Sept. 11 attacks, he has made more
than a dozen trips to Iraq and Afghanistan to cover American military operations there. Schmitt has
covered some of the newspapers biggest stories, including the House and Senate impeachment
proceedings against President Bill Clinton in 1999, the military landing with the Marines in Haiti in
September 1994, the military operation in Somalia in December 1992, and lived for three months in Saudi
Arabia and Kuwait covering the Persian Gulf War in 1991. He was part of two teams of New York Times
reporters awarded the Pulitzer Prize: one in 1999 for coverage of the transfer of sensitive military
technology to China, and another in 2009 for coverage of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Schmitt is a graduate
of Williams College, and was selected to attend Harvard University's Executive Program on National and
International Security in 1991, then was awarded a Knight Journalism fellowship at Stanford University
for the 2006-07 academic year.

Thom Shanker covers national security and the Pentagon for The New York Times. He
joined The Times in 1997, and was assistant Washington editor before being named Pentagon
correspondent in 2001. In Afghanistan, he was the first newspaper reporter since Vietnam to be
allowed to embed with Army Special Forces in combat, joining Green Berets at Kandahar, and has since
embedded with numerous units in Iraq and Afghanistan. Prior to joining The Times, he was foreign editor
of The Chicago Tribune and previously served as The Tribune's senior European correspondent, covering
the wars in former Yugoslavia. Shanker spent two years in the master's degree program at The Fletcher
School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, specializing in nuclear strategy and international law.
He graduated Cum Laude from Colorado College, and was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws by the
college in 2004. Shanker has published widely and is a contributor to "Crimes of War: What the Public
Should Know," an anthology published by Norton. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Abu Muqawama Founder and Irregular Warfare Expert Andrew Exum
Joins CNAS as a Fellow

WASHINGTON, DC, March 16, 2009 - The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) is
pleased to announce that Abu Muqawama founder and irregular warfare expert Andrew
Exum has joined CNAS as a Fellow. At CNAS Exum will focus on the Middle East region,
irregular warfare and Afghanistan among other issues. CNAS President John Nagl says, "Andrew
Exum is one of the world's brightest thinkers and practitioners on irregular warfare. His
work on Hezbollah is groundbreaking and his blog Abu Muqawama is where much of the
discussion on future American defense policy is happening. I'm thrilled."

Exum joins CNAS having recently completed five months of field research in Lebanon. He served on
active duty in the U.S. Army from 2000 until 2004. He led a platoon of light infantry in Afghanistan in
2002 and a platoon of Army Rangers in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2003 and 2004, respectively. Most
recently, Exum served as an advisor on the CENTCOM Assessment Team. He is the author of the book,
This Man's Army: A Soldier's Story from the Frontlines of the War on Terror (Gotham, 2004) and has
published opinion pieces in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian and many other
newspapers.

Exum studied classics and English literature at the University of Pennsylvania and earned a master's
degree in Middle Eastern Studies from the American University of Beirut. He is a doctoral candidate in
the Department of War Studies at King's College London. Andrew speaks Arabic and French and is the
founder of the counterinsurgency blog Abu Muqawama.

...

Leading Counterinsurgency Blog Launched on CNAS.ORG


06/08/2009 — Washington, DC

WASHINGTON, D.C., JUNE 8, 2009 – The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) is pleased to
announce that Abu Muqawama, a leading blog on issues related to defense policy, is now
hosted on the CNAS website. The founder and editor of the blog, Andrew Exum, recently
joined CNAS as a fellow, where his work focuses primarily on contemporary conflicts in the Middle
East and Central Asia.

Abu Muqawama, considered a “must-visit daily” blog in defense policy circles, covers issues
related to contemporary conflicts as well as evolutions in tactics and strategy. It receives over 6,000
visitors a day from across the world and has been cited frequently by The New York Times,
Foreign Policy, WIRED magazine, Reuters and The Atlantic. …

...

The 'It' Think Tank


Author(s): Carlos Lozada
Source: The Washington Post
Date: 06/07/2009

June 7, 2009 - The Washington Post's Carlos Lozada comments on the growth of CNAS' influence on
the national security debate and calls CNAS "Washington's go-to think tank on military
affairs."

...
AP source: US broke bombing rules in Afghanistan
Author(s): PAULINE JELINEK
Source: The Associated Press
Date: 06/04/2009

June 4, 2009 - In an article about the civilian casualties of the war in Afghanistan, AP cites a CNAS report
released Wednesday entitled Triage: The Next Twelve Months in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The report, written by Andrew Exum, Nathaniel Fick, Ahmed Humayun and David Kilcullen,
provides a comprehensive strategy for managing the Afghanistan conflict and concurrently
mitigating the Taliban's influence in Pakistan.

...

CNAS Afghanistan and Pakistan Report's Benchmarks and Metrics Cited


Author(s): Spencer Ackerman
Source: The Washington Independent
Date: 06/03/2009

The Washington Independent writer, Spencer Ackerman discusses the influence of the recently
released CNAS report, Triage and lauds it authors as members of the "most influential
defense think tank in Washington." Ackerman says the report is "guaranteed to be taken seriously
by the Obama administration, as CNAS scholars and leaders are now senior administration
officials."

...

A Warrior and a Wonk


Source: Politico
Author(s): Erica Lovley
Original Post: Who is Nate Fick?
Type: News Article
Date: 10/20/2009

He’s on GQ’s list of the 50 Most Powerful People in D.C. He served in Baghdad as a Marine
captain — and wrote a New York Times best-selling book about the experience. David Simon, co-creator of
HBO’s “The Wire,” produced a miniseries based on his platoon.

So just who is Nate Fick?

At age 32, he’s the CEO of Center for a New American Security, the fledgling defense think tank
that’s staking ground on counterinsurgency, North Korean nuclear negotiations and even global warming.

Fick has his work cut out for him. CNAS was founded by two former Clinton administration
officials, Kurt Campbell and Michele Flournoy, who left the think tank when they were
tapped to work for President Barack Obama. More than 10 employees followed suit.

On top of that, a liability critics were increasingly characterizing CNAS as a manufacturing


plant for the Obama administration,for an organization that bills itself as nonpartisan and
independent. …
John Podesta, Obama’s chief adviser during his presidential transition and creator of the powerful
liberal think tank Center for American Progress, has aided CNAS in a number of projects. Fick spoke at
the 2008 Democratic National Convention and served on Obama’s transition team for the Department of
Veterans Affairs. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright sits on the board of directors. Then-
presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was the keynote speaker at CNAS’s inception last year. …

Fick, who is married and lives in the District, is currently the only defense think tank head who has
battlefield experience in both the Iraq and the Afghanistan wars. But in a community where seniority
rules — to the point where young officers ask hairdressers for premature-gray highlights — this relative
baby face will have to earn his stripes. And the organization has the benefit of senior brass who
are attached to its efforts. CNAS’s president is retired Army Lt. Col. John Nagl, a counterinsurgency
expert who specialized in advising Iraqi and Afghan forces. Gen. David Petraeus, head of the U.S.
Central Command, was the keynote speaker for CNAS’s summer conference on Afghanistan
and Pakistan. The organization is backed by a mix of government, private and corporate
donors, including defense contractor Honeywell, The Boeing Co. and four branches of the
military. …

...

Nagl and Exum Interviewed for FRONTLINE Documentary "Obama's War"


Source: PBS: Frontline
Date: 10/05/2009

October 13, 2009 - The Frontline special on Obama's war in Afghanistan is now available online. CNAS
President John Nagl and fellow Andrew Exum discuss President Obama's strategy and what it would take
to win the war in Afghanistan. Watch the full program here.

Let's start in the fall of 2008. ... How was the Afghanistan conflict shaping up as the American elections
roll around? What does it look like over there?

The situation in Afghanistan has been steadily deteriorating over the past several years, and in a lot of
ways it's suffered from neglect. ... It has not seen nearly the amount of on-the-ground resources that Iraq
has seen.

It's also suffered from a lack of intellectual resources. Our best and brightest commanders -- Gen.
[Stanley A.] McChrystal, Gen. [David] Petraeus -- have been focused on Iraq, especially in
2006, 2007. And that's because the U.S. has obvious interests in Iraq, and that was the focal point of
President Bush's strategy and foreign policy efforts. ...

...

Given what you've seen recently even, would you plead for time?

I think that the president is well within his rights to evaluate this campaign, to ask for hard metrics to
gauge the way in which we're going to measure our success or our failure, and to then adjust his policy and
his strategic goals based upon the degree to which we are successful or fail.
I think that by naming Gen. McChrystal the commanding general in Afghanistan, he at
least has to give him 18 months to try to right the ship, so to speak, in Afghanistan. …

...
U.S. General May Ask for More Troops for Afghan War
Author(s): Pauline Jelinek, Anne Gearan
Source: Associated Press
Date: 08/01/2009

August 1, 2009 - CNAS Fellow Andrew Exum, who recently returned from Afghanistan as
part of General McChyrstal's assessment team, discusses the need to change the operational
culture of the war with the Associated Press. "Our efforts in this war will succeed or fail based upon
relationships we're able to build with our Afghan partners at every level," Exum said.

...

McChrystal Represents a New Direction at the Pentagon and in Afghanistan


Author(s): Joshua Kucera
Source: U.S. News and World Report
Date: 05/18/2009

May 18, 2009 - CNAS Fellow Andrew Exum discusses the replacement of Gen. McKiernan with Gen.
McChrystal in Afghanistan. "There is a realization that the situation in Afghanistan is so dire,
and the challenges so complex, that you really need a silver bullet." Exum said. "You have
one chance to get this right, and you'd better get your A-team on the field." …

The mission in Afghanistan requires many skills other than "shooting people and blowing things up," said
Andrew Exum, an Afghanistan veteran and fellow at the Center for a New American Security. "But I think
General McChrystal is a nimble-enough intellect to understand this. General McChrystal is not a
knuckle-dragging, door-kicking Army Ranger the way that they're often portrayed in the
popular imagination. He's a very thoughtful general."

...

Commander's Intent: Lt. General Stanley McChrystal


Author(s): Marc Ambinder
Source: The Atlantic
Date: 05/12/2009

May 12, 2009 - The Atlantic's Washington blog quotes CNAS Fellow Andrew Exum and his blog, Abu
Muquwama, regarding Gen. McChrystal's new job as Commander in Afghanistan. Read the full Atlantic
piece here.

Andrew Exum, a former special forces soldier who served in Iraq, wrote yesterday on his pseudonymous
blog, Abu Muqawama, that " I do know that many policy-makers and journalists think that
McChrystal's work as the head of the super-secret Joint Special Operations Command was
the untold success story of the Surge and the greater war on terror campaigns."

...

Expert: McChrystal, Petraeus Share Afghan View


Author(s): Michele Norris
Source: NPR's All Things Considered
Date: 05/12/2009

May 12, 2009 - Andrew Exum, fellow at CNAS, spoke with Michele Norris on NPR's All Things
Considered today about General McChrystal's appointment as Commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
"There is a sense, I believe, in not only the White House, but the Department of Defense and the United
States Central Command that Gen. McChrystal has kind of that mind-meld with Gen. [David]
Petraeus, that they see the problem similarly," said Exum. Listen to the full interview here.

McKiernan Out, McChrystal In


Author(s): Andrew Exum
Source: Foreign Policy's The Argument
Date: 05/12/2009

May 12, 2009 - "There was very little confidence that - with McKiernan in charge in Afghanistan - we had
the varsity squad on the field," writes CNAS Fellow Andrew Exum for the Foreign Policy blog The
Argument. "That all changed today. I do not know if the war in Afghanistan is winnable. But I do know
that Stan McChrystal is an automatic starter in anyone's line-up."

...

U.S. Strategy in Afghanistan


Author(s): The World
Source: BBC-PRI
Date: 05/12/2009

May 12, 2009 - CNAS Fellow Andrew Exum discusses the shift of intellectual resources from Iraq to
Afghanistan. “General Petraeus was not in Afghanistan because he was in Iraq, all those talented
lieutenants who fought under Gen. Petraeus were not in Afghanistan because they were in
Iraq,” said Exum. “That’s now changing.”

...
APPENDIX B:
BLOG COMMENTARY ABOUT ANDREW EXUM & GENERAL
MCHRYSTAL

Breaking: Abu Muqawama Goes All Mushy on McChrystal


(http://stupidest.wordpress.com/2009/07/24/breaking-abu-muqawama-goes-all-mushy-on-
mcchrystal/
July 24, 2009 by Jari (from “The Stupidest Man on Earth” blog)
Funny how Afghanistan affects people. Josh Foust came back pessimistic as ever. For the inimitable
Andrew Exum, however, the place apparently was an eye-opener of a different sort.
Exum fought in Afghanistan in 2002, but since returning from his latest civilian sojourn, the normally
witty and sarcastic Abu Muqawama has turned into a walking billboard for Gen.
McChrystal and his new command. We learn, for example, that McChrystal is much like Robert E. Lee,
in that his “directions to allied troops with respect to civilian casualties are both morally correct and
operationally wise”. Exum is “tremendously impressed by the quality of the men and women working for
General McChrystal at ISAF”. And of McChrystal’s counterinsurgency skills he has this to say:
General McChrystal understands population-centric COIN. Forget all that nonsense about a guy with
decades of direct-action special operations experience not being mentally limber enough to adapt to
protecting the population. About five minutes into a discussion of civilian casualties in my first week in
Kabul, I watched McChrystal stand up and spell out for his staff in explicit terms exactly why killing
civilians makes one operationally ineffective in an environment like Afghanistan. McChrystal is not
inclined to draw attention to his storied history as a special operator. But when he tells you that it’s
impossible to kill your way out of this war, you believe him — because Lord knows, he’s tried.
Phew, talk about a man crush.

...

The Strange Contradictions of Andrew Exum’s Afghanistan Trip


(http://www.registan.net/index.php/2009/07/29/the-strange-contradictions-of-andrew-exums-
afghanistan-trip/)
by Joshua Foust on 7/29/2009
So, Andrew “Abu Muqawama” Exum is doing the interview circuit about his experience as a part
of General McChrystal’s 60-Day re-review of the Afghan War. It’s interesting to try to make
sense of what he said beforehand and what he’s saying afterward—I’ll be the first to admit that going there
can significantly change one’s perspective (I, for one, came home convinced the Army is incapable of
fighting the war properly)—but some of these changes in attitude, or temperament, or even just word
choice are really interesting.
To kick things off, we have Exum’s appearance on the Charlie Rose Show, where he said something
interesting. Fourteen minutes in, Ex is discussing how leadership and strategy have been largely absent in
the first seven years of the war:
We haven’t had leadership in Afghanistan that’s really been able to take control of this situation
[protecting communities from intimidation]. That’s not an indictment of General McKiernan, who by all
accounts was a highly competent commander, and, just personally, speak as a former Army officer, I think
it was a bit disheartening the way he was dismissed (as big a fan I am of General McChrystal). But
again, it’s strategy, it’s resources, and it’s leadership, and we haven’t had all three in Afghanistan until
quite recently, and there’s hope that we can turn this around but quite honestly it’s late in the game.
Back in May, when McChrystal’s nomination was first announced and McKiernan was
summarily dismissed, Ex was singing a different tune:
This tells me that President Obama, Secretary Gates, and Gen. Petraeus are as serious as a heart
attack about a shift in strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This was ruthless, and they were not
about to do the George Casey thing whereby a commander is left in the theater long after he is
considered to have grown ineffective…
The sad truth of the matter is that people have been calling for McKiernan’s head for some time
now. Many of the people with whom I have spoken do not think that McKiernan “gets” the war in
Afghanistan — or counterinsurgency warfare in general. There was very little confidence that —
with McKiernan in charge in Afghanistan — we the United States had the varsity squad on the
field.
What changed, I wonder? Was it McKiernan publicly grumbling about the humiliation of his firing, going
so far as to say—at his own retirement ceremony!—that he was so mad he almost skipped it? Or
something else that he saw or hears at ISAF HQ? …

APPENDIX C:

“THIS MAN’S ARMY”


A Soldier’s Story from the Front Lines of the War on Terrorism

Andrew Excum
(2004)

3 He [my father] went on to the University of Mississippi … he left school after a year.

6 Playing varsity football my sophomore year … I played free safety wearing only 105
pounds but discovered that toughness often gets you farther than size and athleticism.
37 … it was impossible to stay awake .I still have my Ranger Handbook from when I went
thorugh the course, and you can tell what notes I took in Benning and what notes I took later in
Florida. …. The notes I took at Benning looked like chicken scratch …

14 I wrote a column each week for the school newspaper …

19 When reporting as a “journalist’ for the army, you quickly learn there is not news but
good news. Writing for a weekly newspaper put out by U.S. Army Cadet Command called the
Warrior Leader, I put my Ivy League English degree to use writing shallow propaganda

20 I made it a game to see just how falsely positive I could be. Reading the military articles
of Second LT Andrew M. Exum, you would think the army was an idyllic organization … At the
end of the summer, the Dept of Public Affairs in Washington DC named me one of the army’s
“Outstanding Journalists.” .. I had earned my first medal from the army for writing in a
newspaper.

164 The bigwigs back at Bagram Airbase, monitoring the battle from cameras in the sky, had
seen him [Chief Roberts] fall from the Chinook, they told us. Then they saw Roberts rise to his
feet and attempt to flee from the chasing enemy. A firefight ensued.

Back Flap he rose to the rank of captain with the US Army Rangers before completing his
military service in May 2004. [see ref to Predator footage at Bagram]
198 After we returned from that mission, the higher-ranking officers and sergeants major
fretted over what the reporters might write in their stories … The seven of us were told to
complete sworn statements about what happened … It was complete bullshit. If the reporter’s
story was negative, the officers could use our statements as proof that the army had already taken
action and was on its way toward prosecuting the offenders … We had done nothing wrong, as
they covered their asses collecting our sworn statements, they assured us of that.

208 I received my medal [Bronze Star] from Secretary of the Army Thomas White. [for
shooting the Taliban soldier, see p. 198]

199 Increasingly, being an officer in the army is no longer a temporary service to the country
– it’s a career. Consequently, officers are often looking out for their own futures rather than for
the safety and good of their men.
224 In November, I moved south to Savannah, where I took charge of an elite Ranger platoon
at a small base there shortly before the war in Iraq. … On Takur Ghar, several Rangers had
earned the Silver Star in the fight for Neil Robert’s body.

226 During the first month of the war, my unit helped to rescue Private Jessica Lynch in the
first successful rescue operation of an American POW …

APPENDIX D:

NOTES FROM JON KRAKAUER’S BOOK


“WHERE MEN WIN GLORY”
The Odyssey of Pat Tillman

349 Passages throughout the book that refer to the ongoing American military campaign in
Afghanistan … were informed in large part by research I undertook on the ground in
Afghanistan in May and June 2006, and from December 2006 through February 2007. I spent
most of that time in remote parts of Knoar, Khost, paktika, and Pakitia provinces, where I
accompanied troops from the U.S. Army’s Tenth Mountain Division, Eighty-second Airborne
Division, and Special Forces Operational Detachment – Alpha 773 … on numerous combat
missions along the Pakistan border.
...

261 The forward observer assigned to Serial One, Specialist Donald Lee … heard an airplane
flying overhead … “As I listened closer I knew it was a Predator drone” … Several other
Rangers also said they heard the drone. … Predator drones are equipped with hi-tech cameras
that function in daylight or darkness … headquarters later confirmed that a Predator was
overhead during the firefight, and a civilian contractor at Bagram said he remembered seeing the
Predator’s video feed. During the numerous investigations that would be undertaken over the
next three years, the Army and the CIA nevertheless asserted that no such video existed.

...

245 After making his case that the mission could be accomplished just as effectively and just
as quickly without splitting the platoon, Uthlaut was baffled by headquarters’ stubborn insistence
on dividing it. He [Lt Uthlaut] asked Dennis [EO Alpha CO], “So the only reason that you want
me to split my platoon is to have boots on the ground in the sector before dark?” “Yes, “ Dennis
replied.

245 BG Gary Jones asked Alpha Company First Sergeant Thomas Fuller, “I mean, what
necessitated in this mission right here that they had to get down there so quickly?”
“I don’t think there was anything,” Fuller testified under oath. “I think that a lot of times at
higher [headquarters] – maybe even, you know, higher than battalion [headquarters] – they may
make a timeline, and then we just feel like we have to stick to that timeline. There’s no – there’s
no ‘intel’ driving it. There’s no – you know, there’s no events driving it. It’s just a timeline, and
we fell like we have to stick with it; and that’s what drives that kind of stuff.”

In other words, the sense of urgency attached to the mission came from little more than a
bureaucratic fixation on meeting arbitrary deadlines so missions could be checked off a list and
tallied as “accomplished.” This emphasis on quantification has always been a hallmark of the
military, but it was carried to new heights of fatuity during Donald Rumsfeld’s tenure at the
Pentagon. Rumsfeld was obsessed with achieving positive “metrics” that could be wielded to
demonstrate progress in the Global War on Terror, or the illusion thereof.

...

321 On July 31, 2007, Secretary of the Army Pete Geren held a press conference at the
Pentagon … Brushing aside overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Geren simply asserted that
there was no cover-up. Although he admitted that there were “errors and failures of leadership,”
he insisted there was “no intent to deceive” by anyone in the Army. … “… There was no cover-
up. There was misinformed action on the part of multiple soldiers, and you had a perfect storm
of mistakes by many soldiers.”

...

328 “From the moment you first join the Ranger Battalion, it’s ingrained in you that you will
always do the right thing. … Then you see something like what they’re doing to Pat – what
officers in the Ranger Regiment are doing – and you stop being so naïve. The only two times
where I personally was in a position to see where the Army had the choice to do the right thing
or the wrong thing, both times they chose to do the wrong thing. One of those times was what
they did to Pat. It made me realize that the Army does what suits the Army. That’s why I won’t
put that uniform back on. I’m done.” -- SGT Mel Ward

APPENDIX E:

Blackwater's Secret War in Pakistan


By Jeremy Scahill November 23, 2009

Note: excerpted from article. All bold-face has been added

JSOC: Rumsfeld and Cheney's Extra Special Force

Colonel Wilkerson said that he is concerned that with General McChrystal's elevation as the
military commander of the Afghan war--which is increasingly seeping into Pakistan--there is a
concomitant rise in JSOC's power and influence within the military structure.

From 2003 to 2008 McChrystal headed JSOC, which is headquartered at Pope Air Force Base
and Fort Bragg in North Carolina, … JSOC controls the Army's Delta Force, the Navy's SEAL
Team 6, as well as the Army's 75th Ranger Regiment and 160th Special Operations Aviation
Regiment, and the Air Force's 24th Special Tactics Squadron.

While JSOC has long played a central role in US counterterrorism and covert operations,
military and civilian officials who worked at the Defense and State Departments during the Bush
administration described in interviews with The Nation an extremely cozy relationship that
developed between the executive branch (primarily through Vice President Dick Cheney
and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld) and JSOC. During the Bush era, Special Forces
turned into a virtual stand-alone operation that acted outside the military chain of
command and in direct coordination with the White House. Throughout the Bush years, it
was largely General McChrystal who ran JSOC.

Wilkerson said that almost immediately after assuming his role at the State Department under
Colin Powell, he saw JSOC being politicized and developing a close relationship with the
executive branch. He saw this begin, he said, after his first Delta Force briefing at Fort Bragg. "I
think Cheney and Rumsfeld went directly into JSOC. I think they went into JSOC at times,
perhaps most frequently, without the SOCOM [Special Operations] commander at the time even
knowing it. The receptivity in JSOC was quite good," says Wilkerson. "I think Cheney was
actually giving McChrystal instructions, and McChrystal was asking him for instructions."
He said the relationship between JSOC and Cheney and Rumsfeld "built up initially because
Rumsfeld didn't get the responsiveness. He didn't get the can-do kind of attitude out of the
SOCOM commander, and so as Rumsfeld was wont to do, he cut him out and went straight to
the horse's mouth. At that point you had JSOC operating as an extension of the
[administration] doing things the executive branch--read: Cheney and Rumsfeld--wanted it
to do. This would be more or less carte blanche. You need to do it, do it. It was very
alarming for me as a conventional soldier."

APPENDIX F:

“ABU MUQAWAMA’ VERSUS “GUY MONTAG”

I read Andrew Exum’s September 13th Washington Post book review of Jon Krakauer’s “Where Men
Win Glory” the same day it was published. What struck me the most was that Exum began his review
with his personal account of watching the Tillman firefight on a Predator video feed at Bagram. He
actually provided evidence for a “conspiracy theory” while at the same time, he dismissed Krakauer
as a conspiracy nut!

After doing a little digging, it rapidly became apparent that Exum had close personal and professional
ties with General McChrystal. It certainly looked as though Exum may have written his book review
to protect McChrystal from scrutiny about his role in the Tillman case.

A few days later, Roy Exum (father) wrote his column referring to his son’s book review. I emailed
Roy expressing my concerns. That email was the beginning of this documents “Where Men Win
Glory.”

I did research during October and had finished a very rough draft of my letter to Nate Fick. When
Exum wrote his “On Martial Virtue” blog post, I responded with a lengthy comment pointing
explaining Exum’s conflicts of interest and McChrystal’s guilt.

During November, I replied to a few more of Exum’s posts. Just before Thanksgiving, Exum
announced his “retirement” from blogging. Exum’s blog is widely read in Washington, and I suspect
that perhaps Nate Fick thought that Exum’s blog posts about McChrystal could draw unwelcome
attention just when CNAS’s push to get Obama to approve the Afghan surge was approaching.
...
In the following sections, you can read Exum’s book review, his “Abu Mugawama” blog posts and
my Comments as “Guy Montag.” There is also an article by Jon Krakauer on McChrystal’s role
(apparently based largely on my material sent to Krakauer on September 17th; never received any
acknowledgement from him) and the Washington post correction of Exum’s book review.

NOTES FROM ANDREW EXUM’S BLOG


“ABU MUQAWAMA”

Confirm Him

http://www.cnas.org/blogs/abumuqawama/2009/06/confirm-him.html

June 2, 2009 | Posted by Abu Muqawama - 9:29am | 69 Comments

Like many of you, I too will be watching today's examination of General Stan McChrystal by the
Senate Armed Services Committee. I expect the Senate to erect four obstacles for McChrystal to
negotiate before being confirmed:
1. The downward trajectory of the war in Afghanistan -- and what he intends to do
differently.
2. General McChrystal's direct action special operations experience -- and how that will
hinder or help him in his new role.
3. The alleged abuse of detainees by soldiers under McChrystal's command in Iraq and
Afghanistan.
4. The aftermath of the death of Pat Tillman in Afghanistan.
I am very much hoping the hearing today focuses on the first two issues to the exclusion of the
second two. Which is not to say the second two questions do not matter -- they do. But unless
General McChrystal is found to have personally directed his men to abuse detainees in order to
extract intelligence -- or did not take appropriate action to halt the abuse once he discovered it
was taking place -- this should not be a serious roadblock to confirmation. It is indeed regrettable
that no senior leaders (I count one U.S. Army Reserve brigadier general) have been punished for
the abuse of detainees while lower-ranking soldiers have been prosecuted. But the failures that
led to the abuse of detainees were a collective failure of the officer corps to prepare its soldiers
for low-intensity combat and the proper treatment of detainees in a non-linear environment.
(How can you execute the 5 s's when you can't speed anyone to the rear because there is no
"rear"?) All of us -- from the Joint Chiefs on down to Lieutenant Exum -- deserve some blame
for what happened.

And with respect to the Tillman Affair (full disclosure: I was in Afghanistan, with the Rangers,
at the time, so I am hardly objective here), McChrystal was by all accounts not one of the
officers in the chain of command who made really egregious errors or misjudgments -- he even
warned off his high command from turning Ranger Tillman into some great hero before all the
facts were in. Those who did make mistakes have by now been properly censured. The bottom
line is, nothing is ever going to heal the wounds inflicted on the Tillman Family by the death of
Ranger Tillman and the government's clumsy handling of the situation. (And nothing is ever
going to stop dishonest hacks from using the circumstances surrounding the death to score ugly
political cheap shots, slandering veterans while at the same time claiming to represent them.)
And while I have nothing but respect for the Tillman Family and their incredible sacrifice, their
personal grief should not be a veto on the nomination of the man the president, the Secretary of
Defense, and General Petraeus all feel gives the United States and its allies the best chance of
victory in Afghanistan and will best prevent the deaths of more brave U.S. soldiers -- not to
mention Afghan civilians.

The debate, instead, should focus on those first two questions. I have come to fear that -- after
the conclusion of the strategic reviews into Afghanistan and Pakistan -- there is no real sense of
urgency in Washington to deal with Afghanistan. I know that sounds crazy, but given the number
of things competing for time on the president's agenda -- North Korea, GM, Israeli settlers,
health care -- Afghanistan is suffering again from a lack of attention, and there does not seem to
be a unified interagency effort to push resources and focus attention toward the commanders on
the ground.

Today is an opportunity for the Senate to focus the eyes of the nation back on Afghanistan and
demand of General McChrystal how, exactly, he intends to carry out the president's strategy.
How will he measure success? How will he secure the population? How will he ensure the
passage of a free and fair election in August? These are serious question and are more important
than either the death of Pat Tillman or the alleged abuse of detainees. (And this blog has, for the
record, always taken a firm stance against torture.)

In the end, the Senate should put General McChrystal through the wringer today, demanding he
answer how, exactly, he intends to pursue victory. And then they should confirm him.
Afghanistan is in a state of emergency, and policy-makers in Washington would best respond to
it with a sense of urgency.

Update: There are some really good questions and comments in the comments section of this
post. Just to clarify matters, I do not expect the Senate to rubber-stamp this appointment and
fully recognize their Constitutional obligations and prerogatives. I just feel the seriousness of the
situation in Afghanistan -- and the fact that our defense leaders feel General McChrystal is the
right man to address those challenges -- should be foremost in the minds of policy-makers as
they consider McChrystal's nomination.
...

Killing bad guys civilians

June 3, 2009 | Posted by Abu Muqawama - 9:15am | 38 Comments


Afghanistan is all over the news today, and not all of what is reported is good. To begin, a
U.S. military report has concluded that U.S. soldiers and airmen were at fault for
civilian deaths in a 4 May air strike which provoked outrage among Afghans.
...

And finally, this might be the worst news of the day. Yesterday's hearings on Capitol Hill
were kind of important, right? I mean, the confirmation of a controversial new
commander for the war in Afghanistan should have attracted as much attention as the
Spring 2007 hearing with General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker, right?

The U.S. Senate thought so as well and reserved three tables for the media. One of those
tables -- one -- was actually filled. Two bloggers and a clutch of print media were
present. That was it. Those of you wishing for the death of the hated MSM should be
careful -- you might get what you want.

...

Has anyone been unlucky enough to have participated in all five?

June 9, 2009 | Posted by Abu Muqawama - 5:37pm | 27 Comments


Oh for goodness' sake:

WASHINGTON — Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has given the new U.S.
commander in Afghanistan 60 days to conduct another review of the American
strategy there, the fifth since President Barack Obama took office less than five
months ago.
The Defense Department announced Monday that Gates has ordered the new U.S.
military commander in Afghanistan, Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, and his deputy,
Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez, to submit a review of the U.S. strategy within 60 days of
their arrival in Afghanistan.
I suppose this was inevitable. General McChrystal and his team are going to have to get
their own eyes on this problem set. I just hope they build their work upon the four
reviews which have preceded this one.

...
All those hours spent arguing with Fick and Kristin over line edits were
worth it

June 6, 2009 | Posted by Abu Muqawama - 1:35pm | 5 Comments

The Washington Post:

It was no accident that former vice president Dick Cheney chose the American
Enterprise Institute as the venue for his full-throated defense last month of the
Bush administration's national security policies. In the Bush years, AEI wielded
significant influence and helped develop major initiatives on national security,
including the surge in Iraq.

In the era of Obama, however, the Center for a New American Security may
emerge as Washington's go-to think tank on military affairs. Founded in 2007,
CNAS has already filled key posts in the new administration (such as former
CNAS president Michele Flournoy, who is now undersecretary of defense for
policy), and its top people include John Nagl, who helped draft the Army's
counterinsurgency manual, and David Kilcullen, a former adviser to Gen. David
H. Petraeus. Now CNAS has completed a 31-page report on Afghanistan and
Pakistan, advising Team Obama on how to best meet
its goal to "disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaeda in its safe haven in Pakistan
and Afghanistan, and to prevent their return to either country in the future."

In "Triage: The Next Twelve Months in Afghanistan and Pakistan," Andrew


Exum, Nathaniel Fick, Ahmed Humayun and Kilcullen say Washington is losing
the Af-Pak struggle, and identify four priorities that can help reverse the slide.

In Afghanistan, they say, there are two things the United States and its allies must
start doing: protect the population above all else, even at the cost of increased
U.S. casualties; and attack corruption in order to restore faith in government. In
Pakistan, the authors emphasize two things to stop doing: The drone attacks
create a "siege mentality" among civilians and should be scaled back; and
funding for the India-obsessed Pakistani military and intelligence services is less
useful than supporting the police force, which is "wholly dedicated to protecting
the people."

CNAS has elicited some criticism for its heavy emphasis on counterinsurgency
doctrine, but its growing clout is undeniable. When the center officially releases
"Triage" in a conference on Thursday, the keynote speaker will be none other
than Petraeus himself, who as head of Central Command, wields unique power
over U.S. actions in the Af-Pak theater
...

CNAS Annual Conference: Live Feed


June 10, 2009 | Posted by Abu Muqawama - 11:59pm
Abu Muqawama will be offline all tomorrow as we take part in the annual CNAS
conference, kicked off by General David Petraeus and expected to attract a ridiculous
1500 guests. YOU can watch the conference LIVE at the comfort of your desk.

Nate Fick and I take the stage with our paper on Afghanistan and Pakistan around 1100.

...

#42!
October 13, 2009 | Posted by Abu Muqawama - 2:30pm
When I heard that my erstwhile drinking buddy and fulltime boss, Nate Fick, had been
named one of GQ's 50 most powerful people in Washington, I responded with the
understated and sophisticated wit this readership has come to expect from me. Which is to
say that I crudely photoshopped Nate's face onto an old GQ cover that originally had a
bikini'd Rachel Bilson on it and put it up in the CNAS kitchen. And in the copy room. And in
Nate's office. And on the door to his office. And emailed it to his in-laws.

From GQ interview with Nate Fick:

How does an organization like yours react to the increasingly violent situation in
Afghanistan?

We've sent one of our fellows, Andrew Exum, to serve on General McChrystal's
assessment team, and we meet with General McChrystal via videoconference once a
week to talk about strategy there.

...

Hiatus
June 23, 2009 | Posted by Abu Muqawama - 11:51am
I will be out of the country and unable to blog for the next month. Expect guest bloggers
-- hand-selected for their skills in sarcasm (and nunchuks, naturally) -- presently.

...

Back from Afghanistan

July 22, 2009 | Posted by Abu Muqawama - 3:13pm | 63 Comments


Greetings, readers. I apologize for being out of the loop for these past four weeks. About five
weeks ago, I was asked by General McChrystal to be part of a small team of scholars and
practitioners helping to conduct his 60-day review of strategy and operations in
Afghanistan. So I have spent the past month traveling around Afghanistan conducting
interviews and trying to evaluate ISAF's operations.

...

2. I was tremendously impressed by the quality of the men and women working for
General McChrystal at ISAF. There is a joke going around that when Petraeus took charge in
Iraq, he gathered the smartest people he could find to help him win. When McChrystal took
charge in Afghanistan, meanwhile, he gathered ... well, a bunch of guys from the 75th
Ranger Regiment. The truth is, General McChrystal has assembled a team of smart officers and
advisers who understand the challenges of Afghanistan and are willing to speak unpleasant
truths. Many of these officers are indeed men who served with McChrystal in either the
Ranger Regiment or the Joint Special Operations Command. Others are men and women
hired sight unseen but with reputations for exceptional intelligence or hard-won experience in
counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan. Col. Chris Kolenda, for example, an armor officer
who successfully commanded a battalion in northeastern Afghanistan, led our team. Sarah
Chayes, meanwhile, was retained from General McKiernan's staff. There are other examples --
many, in fact -- and they all speak to a commander who has cast a very wide net in search of
talent to help win in Afghanistan.
...

4. My experience in Afghanistan was made great by the incredible team with whom I
worked and all of those outside ISAF who invited me into their homes or over for dinner and
coffee to talk about the situation in Afghanistan. As someone who is trained in the languages,
history and politics of another region of the globe, I am always eager to hear from those with
knowledge of Afghanistan and its peoples more nuanced and complete than my own.

Consider this, then, the first of many posts I'll be writing on the war in Afghanistan in the
coming weeks. For now, though, I am jet-lagged, in dire need of another cup of coffee, and
behind on many emails. Thanks to the readership for putting up with my absence, and thanks to
Ibn Muqawama for keeping this blog going while I was away.

...

How I Spent My Summer

September 21, 2009 | Posted by Abu Muqawama - 3:24am

Pages 2-1 (9) to 2-22 (30) of this .pdf. [8-30-09 “Commander’s Assessment” by General
McChrystal] This was written with about a dozen talented and good-natured co-authors (and
the world's most intense lead author[General McChrystal]) who put up with my smart-
assery -- often in enclosed spaces -- for a whole month [Andrew Exum’s participation in
Afghan review]. I look forward to both your judgment of our efforts and the effect it has on
the policy debate in Washington and the allied capitals.

...

Storms, Teapots, etc.


October 6, 2009 | Posted by Abu Muqawama - 2:05pm
I think Gen. McChrystal erred in talking publicly about the war in Afghanistan because he
is a man who, constitutionally, cannot not tell the truth about his assessment of the war
and what we need to do differently. And now that he's the ISAF commander, he can't go on
making public speeches because what he says has political import. But I have not been able
to get all worked up over this or have sympathy for those trying to make this out to be
MacArthur '51. Spencer Ackerman and Walter Pincus*, especially, sum up why such talk is
silly, and I recommend you read them both on this matter.

...

The Financial World Meets Robert Fisk


October 8, 2009 | Posted by Abu Muqawama - 3:53pm
This would be really funny if it were not so serious. After Robert Fisk -- whose very name
has long been a verb meaning to viciously fact-check -- wrote a very thinly sourced article
in the Independent on how the end was neigh for the dollar, traders and speculators made and
lost billions as the dollar weakened. Now a search has begun to discover Mister Robert's
source. (Hint: probably his driver Abed.)

On behalf of all those who have lived in, worked in or studied the Middle East for the past
decade, let me spare you the effort. At this point in Fisk's career, it is increasingly hard to tell
when Fisk is even sober let alone actually reporting a story. It's really sad, too, because once
upon a time (as I discovered while searching through the newspaper archives on Lebanon
from the 1980s) Robert Fisk was a great reporter. Now he's a punch line, despised by his
fellow journalists for the way he stopped real reporting years ago yet makes himself seem
in his articles as if he -- and he alone -- has the courage to really report the news in muddy
boots. I once challenged him to his face about an article he wrote about Margaret Hassan in
which he suggested the U.S. military was behind her murder. He got angry and let me know
that such was his reputation that his editor at the Independent never feels the need to
check his sources. And that's exactly the problem, I replied. Some people only buy the
Independent for Robert Fisk, so the newspaper -- which is never in the best of health -- has a
strong financial incentive to let him do whatever the hell he wants.
CONFIRM HIM
http://www.cnas.org/blogs/abumuqawama/2009/06/confirm-him.html

June 2, 2009 | Posted by Abu Muqawama - 9:29am | 69 Comments

Note: Boldfaced added by Guy Montag

Like many of you, I too will be watching today's examination of General Stan McChrystal by the
Senate Armed Services Committee. I expect the Senate to erect four obstacles for McChrystal
to negotiate before being confirmed:
1. The downward trajectory of the war in Afghanistan -- and what he intends to do
differently.
2. General McChrystal's direct action special operations experience -- and how that will
hinder or help him in his new role.
3. The alleged abuse of detainees by soldiers under McChrystal's command in Iraq and
Afghanistan.
4. The aftermath of the death of Pat Tillman in Afghanistan.
I am very much hoping the hearing today focuses on the first two issues to the exclusion of
the second two. Which is not to say the second two questions do not matter -- they do. But
unless General McChrystal is found to have personally directed his men to abuse detainees in
order to extract intelligence -- or did not take appropriate action to halt the abuse once he
discovered it was taking place -- this should not be a serious roadblock to confirmation. It is
indeed regrettable that no senior leaders (I count one U.S. Army Reserve brigadier general) have
been punished for the abuse of detainees while lower-ranking soldiers have been prosecuted. But
the failures that led to the abuse of detainees were a collective failure of the officer corps to
prepare its soldiers for low-intensity combat and the proper treatment of detainees in a non-linear
environment. (How can you execute the 5 s's when you can't speed anyone to the rear because
there is no "rear"?) All of us -- from the Joint Chiefs on down to Lieutenant Exum -- deserve
some blame for what happened.

And with respect to the Tillman Affair (full disclosure: I was in Afghanistan, with the
Rangers, at the time, so I am hardly objective here), McChrystal was by all accounts not
one of the officers in the chain of command who made really egregious errors or
misjudgments -- he even warned off his high command from turning Ranger Tillman into
some great hero before all the facts were in. Those who did make mistakes have by now been
properly censured. The bottom line is, nothing is ever going to heal the wounds inflicted on
the Tillman Family by the death of Ranger Tillman and the government's clumsy handling
of the situation. (And nothing is ever going to stop dishonest hacks from using the
circumstances surrounding the death to score ugly political cheap shots, slandering veterans
while at the same time claiming to represent them.) And while I have nothing but respect for
the Tillman Family and their incredible sacrifice, their personal grief should not be a veto
on the nomination of the man the president, the Secretary of Defense, and General
Petraeus all feel gives the United States and its allies the best chance of victory in
Afghanistan and will best prevent the deaths of more brave U.S. soldiers -- not to mention
Afghan civilians.

The debate, instead, should focus on those first two questions. I have come to fear that -- after
the conclusion of the strategic reviews into Afghanistan and Pakistan -- there is no real sense of
urgency in Washington to deal with Afghanistan. I know that sounds crazy, but given the number
of things competing for time on the president's agenda -- North Korea, GM, Israeli settlers,
health care -- Afghanistan is suffering again from a lack of attention, and there does not seem to
be a unified interagency effort to push resources and focus attention toward the commanders on
the ground.

Today is an opportunity for the Senate to focus the eyes of the nation back on Afghanistan and
demand of General McChrystal how, exactly, he intends to carry out the president's
strategy. How will he measure success? How will he secure the population? How will he ensure
the passage of a free and fair election in August? These are serious question and are more
important than either the death of Pat Tillman or the alleged abuse of detainees. (And this
blog has, for the record, always taken a firm stance against torture.)

In the end, the Senate should put General McChrystal through the wringer today,
demanding he answer how, exactly, he intends to pursue victory. And then they should
confirm him. Afghanistan is in a state of emergency, and policy-makers in Washington would
best respond to it with a sense of urgency.

...

Update: There are some really good questions and comments in the comments section of this
post. Just to clarify matters, I do not expect the Senate to rubber-stamp this appointment and
fully recognize their Constitutional obligations and prerogatives. I just feel the seriousness of
the situation in Afghanistan -- and the fact that our defense leaders feel General
McChrystal is the right man to address those challenges -- should be foremost in the minds
of policy-makers as they consider McChrystal's nomination.
He Didn't Come Home
By Andrew Exum
Sunday, September 13, 2009 The Washington Post
WHERE MEN WIN GLORY
The Odyssey of Pat Tillman
By Jon Krakauer
Doubleday. 383 pp. $27.95
On April 22, 2004, I was standing in an operations center in Bagram, Afghanistan,
watching two firefights on the monitors and screens in front of me. A platoon of U.S. Army
Rangers and a special operations reconnaissance force were both under fire and in possible need
of assistance. As the leader of a 40-man quick-reaction force of Rangers, I asked my squad
leaders to gather our men while I awaited orders.
Note: “Watching on the monitors and screens”!! Predator footage?! Of Tillman fight!! Mary
referred to.
My platoon was dropped onto a 12,000-foot mountain at night to reinforce the small
reconnaissance team that had been battling men they believed to be al-Qaeda fighters, killing two
combatants. On the way south from Bagram, I listened on the radio to the U.S. casualty report
from the other firefight: One killed in action, two wounded.
After a truly miserable night spent at high altitude near the Pakistan border, I arrived back in
Bagram to learn the name of that Ranger killed in action: Spec. Patrick Daniel Tillman.
By now, the story of Pat Tillman is widely known: how he turned down a lucrative contract in
the National Football League to join the U.S. Army's 75th Ranger Regiment after the Sept. 11,
2001, terrorist attacks; how he fought in Iraq and Afghanistan; how he died; and how the cause
of his death -- friendly fire -- was kept from his family and the public for weeks in what,
depending on your point of view, was either a gross error of judgment or a conspiracy
engineered by the U.S. military and the Bush administration.
A full-length book on Tillman's life -- as opposed to shorter pieces, such as Gary Smith's
excellent profile in Sports Illustrated -- has been needed for some time. Jon Krakauer would
seem the perfect person to write it. A world-class alpinist turned author -- Krakauer was once a
climbing partner of the late, great Alex Lowe -- he shares Tillman's sense of adventure and has
excelled at telling other romantic, if ultimately tragic, tales in "Into the Wild" and "Into Thin
Air."
If Krakauer had committed himself to telling Tillman's story, "Where Men Win Glory" might
have been the latest in an unbroken string of superb books. But his book falls flat -- not least
because he is more eager to launch an inquisition into the crimes of the Bush administration
than to explore this single extraordinary life.
War takes place at four levels -- the political, the strategic, the operational and the tactical. The
Bush administration deserves the lion's share of the blame for the political and strategic blunders
of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. For too many years, U.S. troops were spread too thin to
accomplish mission-essential tasks in either country. But the errors that led to Tillman's death
were all operational and tactical -- and the responsibility for these mistakes must be placed on the
men making decisions under stress. Why or how an army was sent into combat is often irrelevant
to the men on the ground. Their lives are, for the most part, in the hands of the enemy and their
fellow warriors.
I am no fan of many of the Bush administration's decisions. I did not vote for the former
president in either 2000 or 2004 and was so cynical about the U.S. invasion of Iraq that my
platoon went so far as to engrave my judgment of the war -- "This is (expletive, gerund)
( expletive, noun)" -- on my going-away plaque. All of this would surprise Krakauer, who,
among other things, labors under the misimpression that U.S. military officers are mainly
political conservatives better at following orders than thinking critically. In reality, the men and
women who serve in the U.S. military are as diverse as the people they defend.
Blaming the Bush administration for all that has befallen the U.S. military in Iraq and
Afghanistan unfairly excuses the military itself for the many errors it made. This is most
unfortunate because the parts of the book where Krakauer does tell Tillman's story play to the
author's strengths. The personal stories about Tillman in high school or struggling to make it as a
collegiate Division I and NFL football player are fascinating. And Krakauer excels at
reconstructing the platoon-level events that led to Tillman's death in the same riveting style that
made me devour "Into Thin Air" as a young rock-climber. "Where Men Win Glory" also
includes a series of anecdotes and excerpts from Tillman's diary that give us a fuller
understanding of a unique and iconic figure in post-9/11 America.
But throughout the book, Krakauer digresses from the timeline of Tillman's life to inform the
reader what was going on in Afghanistan, with al-Qaeda and even in U.S. domestic politics.
Why, I wondered during one maddening passage, was Krakauer spending four whole pages
complaining about Bush v. Gore? In addition, rather than putting the background information on
Afghanistan into his own words, Krakauer instead draws heavily on such books as Lawrence
Wright's "The Looming Tower" and Steve Coll's "Ghost Wars."
In describing the battlefield actions, Krakauer does not appear to understand light infantry
combat as well as he does mountaineering. He comprehends enough to know that the Ranger
officers in Bagram probably made a mistake in overruling a decision by the platoon leader on the
ground in Khost province. But incredibly, he tries to claim that this situation was driven not
by poor and independent decision-making by field-grade officers but rather by Donald
Rumsfeld's insistence on strict timelines. "[The] sense of urgency attached to the mission,"
Krakauer writes, "came from little more than a bureaucratic fixation on meeting arbitrary
deadlines so missions could be checked off a list and tallied as 'accomplished.' This emphasis on
quantification . . . was carried to new heights of fatuity during Donald Rumsfeld's tenure at the
Pentagon."
While I'm willing to accept, say, Krakauer's criticism of the fateful decisions made by
mountaineer Anatoli Boukreev on Everest in 1996, there is nothing in Krakauer's life or
experience that inspires similar confidence in his criticism of experienced combat officers
specially selected for service in an elite special operations unit. Similarly, Ranger units are
not ordered to meet deadlines arbitrarily. They meet deadlines because the missions they
execute -- like airfield seizures or hostage rescues -- are extraordinarily complex operations that
demand that men and their units go places and do things in concert with one another under high
levels of stress and confusion.
That said, there is plenty of documentary evidence suggesting that experienced military officers
did, in fact, make a series of blunders in the aftermath of Tillman's death. As a former officer
in the 75th Ranger Regiment -- an elite unit whose leadership Krakauer skewers -- I might
be expected to rise to the defense of the officers who made the decision to initially withhold
the details of Tillman's death from his family and the public. But given the available evidence
in both Krakauer's account and in numerous investigations, it appears that the otherwise
competent commanders of the 75th Ranger Regiment and 2nd Ranger Battalion did indeed
make a series of disastrous and incomprehensibly stupid decisions.
How then-Lt. Col. Jeff Bailey, for example, could have asked a young Ranger, Russell Baer, to
attend Tillman's funeral and lie to the family about the circumstances of Tillman's death until
more senior officers could meet with them baffles the mind. It strikes me as a horribly unfair and
immoral thing to demand of any officer, much less a young Ranger just returned from a
demanding combat environment.
An Air Force officer I know likes to say that whenever one seeks to understand an epic failure
of our nation's military, one must first draw a line on a sheet of paper and write
"conspiracy" at one end and "buffoonery" on the other. Those who have spent time in the
military and have seen it struggle not just with war but with everyday barracks life tend to err on
the side of incompetence, while those who never have -- such as Krakauer -- tend to suspect
conspiracy.
Andrew Exum is a fellow at the Center for a New American Security and served in Afghanistan
as an Army officer in 2002 and 2004 and as a civilian adviser in 2009.

GEN. MCCHRYSTAL’S CREDIBILITY


PROBLEM
http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2009-10-14/gen-mcchrystals-credibility-problem/

Jon Krakauer, The Daily Beast October 15, 2009

The man chosen by Barack Obama to lead the war in Afghanistan also helped
cover up the friendly-fire death of NFL player turned soldier Pat Tillman, writes
Jon Krakauer. He administered a fraudulent medal recommendation to keep the
public in the dark. So why isn’t anybody talking about it?

Shortly after President Obama nominated Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal to command U.S. and NATO
forces in Afghanistan, the general was summoned to the U.S. Senate to be grilled by the Armed Services
Committee. Although McChrystal had enthusiastic admirers on both sides of the congressional aisle and
was regarded as an innovative, uncommonly effective leader, he was expected to face difficult questions
about two incidents that occurred during his tenure as leader of the Joint Special Operations Command
(or JSOC): the torture of detainees in 2003 at the secret facility in Iraq known as Camp Nama, and his
role in the coverup of Pat Tillman’s fratricide in Afghanistan in 2004. During the committee hearing,
though, none of McChrystal’s inquisitors probed deeply into either of these issues, and on June
10 the Senate unanimously confirmed his nomination.

McChrystal has lately been the subject of numerous media profiles, most of them adulatory. Dexter Filkins
has a long story in the upcoming New York Times Magazine. In an October 5 Newsweek article, Evan
Thomas referred to the general as a “Zen warrior… with a disarming, low-key style, free of the bombast
and sense of entitlement that can come with four stars…. He has great political skills; he couldn’t have
risen to his current position without them. But he definitely does not see himself as the sort of military man
who would compromise his principles to do the politically convenient thing.” In the week after Tillman was
killed, however, this is precisely what McChrystal appears to have done when he administered a
fraudulent medal recommendation and submitted it to secretary of the Army, thereby concealing the
cause of Tillman’s death.

***
Tillman was accidentally gunned down by members of his Ranger platoon on the evening of April 22,
2004. Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bailey, commander of the 2nd Ranger Battalion, visited the site of the calamity the
following morning. A few hours later, he called his boss, Col. James Nixon, commander of the 75th
Ranger Regiment, and said (according to Bailey’s sworn testimony), “My gut feeling was that
Tillman had been killed by friendly fire…. There was no doubt about it. It was a case where there
were six or seven Rangers that saw the vehicle shooting at them.” Before the day was out, Nixon
notified three of his superiors, including McChrystal, that Tillman’s death was a fratricide.
According to Army regulations, this information should have been immediately shared with the Tillman
family, even if friendly fire was only a possibility. Instead, Army officers embarked on an elaborate
campaign to suppress the truth and persuade both the family and the public that Tillman was killed by
enemy fire. Soldiers were ordered to lie. Tillman’s notebook, uniform, ammo vest, and body armor were
burned, in clear violation of other important protocols.
At the time of Tillman’s fratricide, McChrystal was only a one-star general, but as commander of JSOC he
ran the most covert branch of the U.S. armed forces. Shrewd, driven, and willing to bend rules to get
results, 13 months earlier he’d commanded the Navy SEALs, Delta Force operators, and Army Rangers
who’d rescued Jessica Lynch from her captors in Iraq. Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of
Defense Donald Rumsfeld held McChrystal in the highest esteem, and regularly bypassed the
chain of command to communicate with him directly. He was trustworthy. He worked under the radar
and got stuff done. He didn’t suffer from “the slows,” as Rumsfeld characterized the risk-averse nature of
some of McChrystal’s superiors.

Within two days of Tillman’s death, officers in the 2nd Ranger Battalion initiated paperwork to give Tillman
the Silver Star, the military’s third highest decoration for valor. McChrystal was put in charge of writing
and expediting the medal recommendation so that the award could be announced in advance of a
nationally televised memorial service scheduled for May 3. According to McChrystal’s Senate
testimony, he “sat down with the people who recommended [the Silver Star]… and we went over a
whiteboard, and we looked at the geometry of the battlefield, and I queried the people to satisfy
myself that, in fact, that his actions warranted [the Silver Star], even though there was a potential
that the actual circumstances of death had been friendly fire.”

The latter clause is a lawyerly flourish on McChrystal’s part, intended to suggest that there was still doubt
about the cause of death, when in fact he knew with near-absolute certainty that Tillman was the
victim of fratricide. During the medal-recommendation process, McChrystal was shown the
preliminary findings of a so-called Article 15-6 investigation that had been launched the day after
Tillman died, which included detailed eyewitness testimony from more than a dozen soldiers in
his platoon. Transcripts of these interviews described how Tillman, in order to protect a young private
under his command, had exposed himself to a ferocious squall of bullets—hundreds of rounds from three
machine guns shooting at him from close range. McChrystal ascertained, correctly, that the extraordinary
valor of Tillman’s act was in no way diminished by the incontrovertible fact that the lethal fusillade had
come from his American comrades. “So,” McChrystal testified, “I was comfortable recommending, once I
believed that the people in the fight were convinced it warranted a Silver Star.” On April 28, 2004, six days
after Tillman’s death, McChrystal reviewed a final draft of the medal recommendation, signed his name to
it, and emailed it to the acting secretary of the Army, R.L. Brownlee.

The recommendation package received by Brownlee consisted of four documents: a one-paragraph


“award citation” that summarized Tillman’s courageous deed; a five-paragraph “award narrative” that
offered a more nuanced account of his actions; and two brief statements from soldiers who witnessed
those actions. Astoundingly, none of these documents mentioned, or even hinted, that Tillman was killed
by friendly fire. The award citation alleged, “Corporal Tillman put himself in the line of devastating enemy
fire,” even though there was never any enemy fire directed at Tillman’s position during the incident. The
witness statements (which also suggested he was killed by the enemy) were not signed, and the
two soldiers whose names were attached to them later testified that both statements had been
fabricated, apparently by one or more members of the Silver Star recommendation team.

In June of this year, during McChrystal’s confirmation hearing, Sen. John McCain asked the general to
explain why, five years earlier, he had submitted the perjured Silver Star recommendation “in the form
that it was in.”

McChrystal replied, “We sent a Silver Star that was not well written—and, although I went through the
process, I will tell you now that I didn’t review the citation well enough to capture—or, I didn’t catch that, if
you read it, you can imply that it was not friendly fire.” McChrystal insisted that the package of four short
documents bearing his signature wasn’t meant to deceive. Although he closely supervised the
drafting of these documents, he simply failed to notice that all of them had been painstakingly
written to omit any reference to friendly fire.

During a presentation on October 3 of this year in Mesa, Arizona, to promote Where Men Win
Glory, my book about Tillman, I described the testimony cited above and expressed skepticism
about McChrystal’s honesty. Afterward, while I was signing books, an Army veteran approached me
and said that he had served under McChrystal, admired him immensely, and took issue with my
accusation that his former commander had dissembled to the Senate, or knowingly participated in any
sort of coverup. He said that in his experience McChrystal was a man of unimpeachable integrity. I
countered that McChrystal’s words were taken verbatim from a transcript of the Senate hearing, and then
added, “Gen. McChrystal is known to be meticulous, a perfectionist. He doesn’t tolerate sloppiness or
excuses. Do you really believe that he would sign his name to such an important, high-profile document
without first reading it carefully enough to realize it was bogus?”
The ex-soldier frowned thoughtfully before answering. “No,” he admitted. “For him to do something like
that, he’d have to be under incredible pressure.”
***
On April 28, 2004, the same day McChrystal sent the Silver Star recommendation to the secretary of the
Army, he received word from Rumsfeld’s office that the White House was working on a speech in which
President Bush would eulogize Tillman at the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner.
Because the true cause of Tillman’s death had been restricted to a tight cadre that did not include
the president’s speechwriters, McChrystal fretted they might inadvertently script something that would
make the president look like a liar should the truth about Tillman eventually be leaked.

To forestall such a gaffe, one day after submitting the falsified medal recommendation, McChrystal
emailed a high-priority personal memo (known as a “Personal For” memo, or simply a “P4”) to Gen. John
Abizaid, the commander of all troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and two other general officers. “Sir, in the
aftermath of Corporal Patrick Tillman’s untimely yet heroic death in Afghanistan on 22 April 04,”
McChrystal wrote, “it is anticipated that a 15-6 investigation nearing completion will find that it is highly
possible that Corporal Tillman was killed by friendly fire. This potential finding is exacerbated by the
unconfirmed but suspected reports that [the president of the United States] and the secretary of the Army
might include comments about Corporal Tillman’s heroism and his approved Silver Star medal in
speeches currently being prepared…. I felt that it was essential that you received this information as soon
as we detected it in order to preclude any unknowing statements by our country’s leaders which might
cause public embarrassment if the circumstances of Corporal Tillman’s death become public.”

Many months later, after the coverup unraveled and the Tillman family demanded the Army reveal who
was responsible for the many lies they’d been told, McChrystal would spin the P4 memo as proof that
he never meant to conceal the fratricide. But McChrystal took no action to halt the coverup and
divulge the truth; his memo merely sounded the alarm that someone needed to warn speechwriters to
be ambiguous about the cause of death when crafting statements about Tillman, in order to provide
President Bush with deniability. (In the speech Bush gave at the correspondents’ dinner two days after
the P4 was sent, the president praised Tillman for his courage and sacrifice, but pointedly made no
mention of how he died.)

If McChrystal had a change of heart after submitting the falsified medal recommendation and wanted the
truth to be revealed, all he needed to do was pick up the phone, inform the secretary of the Army that
Tillman was killed by friendly fire, and ask him to put the Silver Star on hold until the paperwork could be
corrected. That didn’t happen. Instead, Secretary Brownlee approved the medal based on the spurious
documents submitted by McChrystal, and on April 30 the Army issued a press release announcing that
Tillman had been posthumously awarded the Silver Star. Because it made no mention of friendly fire,
none of the hundreds of news stories based on the press release reported anything about friendly fire,
and the nation was kept in the dark about the fratricide. As Brigadier General Howard Yellen later
testified, “For the civilian on the street, the interpretation would be that he was killed by enemy fire.”
***
McChrystal, who was promoted from Brigadier General to Major General nine days after Tillman’s death,
was, and remains, intensely ambitious. Were he to be held accountable for the fraudulent Silver Star
recommendation, his Army career would likely end in disgrace. Why, then, did he take such a risk? Last
June, near the conclusion of McChrystal’s Senate confirmation hearing, it seemed as though an answer
to this question might be at hand when Sen. Jim Webb told the general, “You have not, to my knowledge,
been on record in terms of how you personally feel about this incident, and I would like to give you the
opportunity to do that.”

Appearing genuinely contrite, McChrystal confessed, “We failed the family. And I was a part of that, and I
apologize for it.” But then the tenor of his remarks abruptly shifted and he reiterated the same
disingenuous claims made by virtually every officer who participated in the subterfuge: “It was not
intentional…. I didn’t see any activities by anyone to deceive.” A moment later, nevertheless, McChrystal
may have inadvertently revealed what motivated the entire coverup. “To provide context,” he explained to
Webb, “we were still in combat when we were doing all of that…. We were in the first battle of Fallujah in
Iraq at the same time, so we were making mistakes.”

Three weeks before Tillman was killed, horrific violence engulfed Fallujah. The bloodshed commenced
when Iraqi insurgents killed four American contractors working for Blackwater USA, burned their bodies,
dragged them through the streets, and then hung their charred remains from a bridge over the Euphrates
River. In response, 2,000 U.S. Marines launched an assault on the city, initiating furious urban combat
that continued until the Marines were pulled out of Fallujah on May 1, 2004, by which time 27 American
troops were dead, and more than 90 had been wounded.

One week before Tillman’s death, compounding the bleak news coming out of Fallujah, CBS News
notified Rumsfeld and Gen. Richard Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that 60 Minutes II
was about to broadcast a story about the torture and abuse of Iraqi captives by U.S. soldiers at a prison
called Abu Ghraib. On April 28, the program aired, followed two days later by even more disturbing
revelations about Abu Ghraib by Seymour Hersh in The New Yorker. Public support for both the Bush
administration and the war in Iraq was plummeting. The president was engaged in a bare-knuckled
campaign to win a second term. The election was barely six months away. When Tillman was killed,
White House perception managers saw an opportunity to divert the nation’s attention from the glut of bad
news.

The administration had tried to make Tillman an inspirational emblem for the Global War on Terror when
he was alive, but he had rebuffed these efforts by refusing to do any media interviews. On April 23, the
day after Tillman perished, approximately 200 emails about Tillman were transmitted or received by White
House officials, including staffers from Bush’s reelection campaign, who suggested to the president that it
would be advantageous for him to respond to Tillman’s death as quickly as possible. A press release
about Tillman’s patriotic sacrifice was hastily written and disseminated to the media before noon that
same day. Communications Director Dan Bartlett later explained that he rushed out the statement in order
to accommodate overwhelming interest in Tillman from the media, noting that the story “made the
American people feel good about our country… and our military.”

When he walked away from a $3.6 million National Football League contract to enlist in the Army with his
brother Kevin in 2002, Pat Tillman became the object of tremendous public fascination, and White House
officials calculated that celebrating him as a fallen hero would send the media into an orgy of reverential
coverage. They were not disappointed. Thousands of tributes to Tillman appeared in all manner of media
over the weeks that followed. On April 25, 2004, just two days after the initial White House press release,
a “Weekend Media Assessment” compiled by the Army chief of staff’s Office of Public Affairs reported that
stories about Tillman had generated the greatest interest in the Army since the president’s “Mission
Accomplished” speech the previous May, adding that the Tillman stories “had been extremely positive in
all media.” The Army’s announcement on April 30 that Tillman had been awarded the Silver Star
prompted another torrent of favorable press.

Had it been disclosed at the outset that Pat Tillman was killed by friendly fire, the press coverage would
have been no less voluminous, but its effect on the nation’s mood would have been very different. This is
the context in which the Tillman coverup, and Gen. McChrystal’s central role in the deception, must be
considered. As Kevin Tillman testified, “Revealing that Pat’s death was fratricide would have been yet
another political disaster during a month already swollen with political disasters…. So the facts needed to
be suppressed. An alternative narrative needed to be constructed.” McChrystal’s chicanery, Kevin
explained, was “an insult to the Tillman family, but more importantly, its primary purpose was to deceive a
nation…. We have been used as props in a public-relations exercise.”

Given the overwhelming challenges the United States faces in Afghanistan, and President Obama’s
determination that Gen. McChrystal is the most qualified person to command our military campaign there,
some may wonder why his dishonesty about Tillman should matter. It matters because deceit by a
military officer of McChrystal’s rank is a poisonous betrayal of trust that shouldn’t be
countenanced. The possibility that his subterfuge was intended to mislead the public during the run-up to
a presidential election is especially troubling. “What we have here is a very clear, deliberate abuse
intentionally done,” lamented Rep. Henry Waxman at the conclusion of a 2007 hearing into the
Tillman coverup by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. “Why is it so
hard to find out who did it?”

Jon Krakauer is the bestselling author of Into the Wild, Into Thin Air, and Under the Banner of Heaven.
His most recent book, Where Men Win Glory, tells the story of Pat Tillman, who gave up a $3.6 million
NFL contract to enlist in the U.S. Army, then died in the hills of Afghanistan.

For inquiries, please contact The Daily Beast at editorial@thedailybeast.com.

MEET THE PRESS, Sunday 11-01-09


GREGORY: Jon Krakauer, I want to get to a key element of your book, "Where Men Win Glory,"
about Pat Tillman and how it relates to this current conversation about Afghanistan. Because it
does involve General Stanley McChrystal, who was obviously critical on the stage now and was
critical in the Tillman story of well. As a reminder, if you look at pictures of Pat Tillman, the NFL
star with the Arizona Cardinals, decides to enlist in the Army, serves in the Rangers after 9/11.
This was certainly a big story when he enlisted. And at the time, General McChrystal was
actually head of Special Operations command. So Pat Tillman was killed in a friendly fire
incident and ultimately won the Silver Star, and that's what you focus on in the book
and in a subsequent piece that you wrote for The Daily Beast. And here's what you
wrote: "An October 5 Newsweek article [said, about General McChrystal] that `he has great
political skills; he couldn't have risen to his current position without them. But he definitely does
not see himself as the sort of military man who would compromise his principles to do the
politically convenient thing.' In the week after Tillman was killed, however, this is precisely what
McChrystal appears to have done when he administered a fraudulent medical"--excuse me--"a
fraudulent medal recommendation"--we're talking about the Silver Star--"and submitted it to the
secretary of the Army, thereby concealing the cause of Tillman's death." Briefly explain what
happened.

MR. KRAKAUER: The--after Tillman died, the most important thing to know is that within--
instantly, within 24 hours certainly, everybody on the ground, everyone intimately
involved knew it was friendly fire. There's never any doubt it was friendly fire.
McChrystal was told within 24 hours it was friendly fire. Also, immediately they started
this paperwork to give Tillman a Silver Star. And the Silver Star ended up being at the
center of the cover-up. So McChrystal--Tillman faced this devastating fire from his own guys,
and he tried to protect a young private by exposing himself to this, this fire. That's why he was
killed and the private wasn't. Without friendly fire there's no valor, there's no Silver Star. There
was no enemy fire, yet McChrystal authored, he closely supervised over a number of
days this fraudulent medal recommendation that talked about devastating enemy fire.

GREGORY: And that's the important piece of it. And, and he actually testified earlier this
year before the Senate, and this is what he said about it.

(Videotape, June 2, 2009)

LT. GEN. STANLEY MCCHRYSTAL: Now, what happens, in retrospect, is--and I would do this
differently if I had the chance again--in retrospect they look contradictory, because we sent a
Silver Star that was not well-written. And although I went through the process, I will tell
you now I didn't review the citation well enough to capture--or I didn't catch that if
you read it you could imply that it was not friendly fire.

(End videotape)

GREGORY: Even those who were critical of him and the Army say they don't think he
willfully deceived anyone.

MR. KRAKAUER: That's correct. He, he just said now he didn't read this hugely important
document about the most famous soldier in the military. He didn't read it carefully
enough to notice that it talked about enemy fire instead of friendly fire? That's
preposterous. That, that's not believable.

GREGORY: All right, part of this debate. Thank you all very much.
We'll continue our discussion with Jon Krakauer in our MEET THE PRESS Take Two Web Extra.
Plus, read an excerpt from his book, "Where Men Win Glory." It's all on our Web site at
mtp.msnbc.com. And we'll be right back.

(Announcements)

GREGORY: That's all for today. We'll be back next week. If it's Sunday, it's MEET THE PRESS.

On Martial Virtue ... and Selling Jon Krakauer's Crappy New Book
http://www.cnas.org/blogs/abumuqawama/2009/11/martial-virtue-and-selling-jon-
krakauers-crappy-new-book.html

November 2, 2009 | Posted by Abu Muqawama - 9:30am | 68 Comments (as of 11-06-09)

A few months ago, I was asked to review Jon Krakauer's new book by the Washington Post, and I must
admit to having been excited. Having grown up a pretty serious rock climber, I was a huge fan of Jon
Krakauer's previous books , and in my mind, Krakauer was the best possible guy to write a book on the
incredible life and tragic death of Pat Tillman.

Alas, the book was awful. I mean, it was really bad. On the same day in which I had very little good to
say about it in the Post, it was similarly panned by Dexter Filkins in the New York Times
Sunday Book Review. The book was so bad that Filkins and I managed to find completely different
reasons to think it was rubbish. The main problem I had with the book was that Krakauer let his visceral
hatred of the Bush Administration get in the way of telling what could have been a pretty good story about
an amazing young man who gave up a career in the NFL to enlist in the U.S. Army and then died in
Afghanistan, killed by a member of his own platoon in a firefight gone horribly wrong.
In my review, I did not spare -- as you might have expected me to do, given the particular U.S. Army
regiment in which I was serving -- Pat Tillman's chain of command for what were a series of
monumental cock-ups in the aftermath of Tillman's death. I thought it particularly unconscionable that
Tillman's battalion commander sent a young Ranger to the funeral and expected him to go along with the
lie about how Tillman died until his family could be notified once the battalion had returned. (A friend
reminded me later that the 2nd Ranger Battalion had very little experience dealing with combat casualties
up until that point in the war, which is a good point that I might have mentioned.) But a very wise woman
-- and a former C-130 pilot -- told me once that when you're examining military miscues, you should draw
a long line on a sheet of paper and write "conspiracy" on one end of the line and "buffoonery" on the
other. The odds are in favor of buffoonery -- the act whereby otherwise intelligent people make a series of
stupid decisions -- being a more likely explanation for what went wrong than conspiracy.

Not in Krakauer's world. In Krakauer's world, there is no rock in Afghanistan under which a plot cooked
up by Donald Rumsfeld and Doug Feith is not hiding. This guy even went so far as to say that the Ranger
Regiment's strict adherence to timelines was a by-product of the Bush Administration and Rumsfeld's
Pentagon. (Funny, and here I grew up thinking it was because things like airfield seizures are really
complex operations that demand subordinate units be places and do things according to schedule.)

So Krakauer wrote a crappy book, and now he has to market it. And how is he doing that? By going after
Stan McChrystal, who is probably the least culpable guy in Tillman's chain of command for any of the
stupid things that happened in the aftermath of his death. There Krakauer was, on Meet the Press
yesterday, going after McChrystal, who he never interviewed for his book but who had sent a
memorandum up through the chain of command at the time of Tillman's death warning his
commanders about the circumstances surrounding the event.

In the great tragic story that is the death of Pat Tillman, Stan McChrystal stands out as one of the guys
who made mistakes but ultimately did the right thing. At this point, he should issue a statement saying
something along the lines of:

"Pat Tillman was an American hero. His death was a great tragedy. I apologize to his family for the poor quality of the
initial investigations into his death and for the decisions made by Pat Tillman's commanders to not immediately notify
them of the circumstances under which he died. I personally apologize for not closely reviewing the citation for Pat
Tillman's valor award to ensure its accuracy. I am now fully committed to winning the war in Afghanistan and to
ensuring that Pat Tillman's sacrifice and the sacrifice of his family was not in vain. Thank you."
Here's what really upsets me. I know that Jon Krakauer has to sell his book, but in doing so, he is cravenly
seizing upon the fact that Stan McChrystal is the man of the moment to do so even though by doing so
Krakauer once again takes the focus off Pat Tillman and politicizes his death in as crummy a way as the
Bush Administration ever did.

On the night Pat Tillman was killed, I myself was leading a platoon of Army Rangers as part of a quick
reaction force in Afghanistan under the command of Stan McChrystal (albeit many rungs down on the
chain of command). I heard the casualty report on the radio en route to another objective, but I did not
discover it had been Pat Tillman who was killed until returning to base the next evening.

On returning to base, I walked into my battalion commander's office and started chatting with him, as I
often did, about books. This was the guy who had introduced me to books like The Centurions and A
Savage War of Peace , and before long, we started talking about Pat Tillman. Tillman's highly
emotional repatriation ceremony had been that night, and we were thinking about how his death would
hit the news back in the States. (We were serving in a different battalion, and I at least had no idea
Tillman was killed by friendly fire. I would not learn that fact until I had returned to the United States a
week later.) Toward the end of our conversation, I remember my battalion commander saying that he
"could throw a rock in this compound and hit ten Pat Tillmans".
What he meant by that was no slight on Pat Tillman, a man who in life and in death embodied courage
and sacrifice and a host of other virtues and traits. What he meant by that was that so too did every one of
the Rangers who followed me onto a very cold mountaintop in eastern Afghanistan the night Tillman was
killed. So too did all of the other Rangers and special operators on the compound. Hell, none of us were
drafted. We were four-time volunteers -- we volunteered for the Army, we volunteered for the Airborne
Course, we volunteered for the Ranger Course, and we volunteered to serve in the Ranger Regiment. None
of us were dead-end high school drop-outs with no other place to go. The guy who was #1 in his class at
West Point was a fellow platoon leader in my battalion. Our intelligence officer went to Cornell. My
forward observer was captain of the baseball team at James Madison and turned down law school to
enlist in the Rangers. (And now works in the Obama Administration, by the way.) We all had better places
to be than fighting a war in eastern Afghanistan and all of us could have chosen a more comfortable and
profitable way to spend our twenties.

But in the eyes of Krakauer and on the fringes of the American left, soldiers are either victims of
circumstance or war criminals in waiting. If soldiers have any martial virtues such as those displayed by
Pat Tillman, we're only comfortable celebrating them posthumously. This allows a guy like Krakauer to
praise Pat Tillman but slander Stan McChrystal, a guy who has spent 30+ years faithfully serving his
country in the most demanding jobs -- jobs which require not just hard work but martial virtues we
Americans have lost the ability to even speak about.

Stan McChrystal is one of the finest men I have ever known, and I hope I have sons who serve under men
like him. Jon Krakauer is going after him now because he has written a crappy book and now has to sell it.
McChrystal is in the news, and that gives Krakauer's book relevance, even if the virtues of Pat Tillman fade
to the background. That really makes me angry. But I guess it remains a possibility that Jon Krakauer
wrote an entire book about Pat Tillman without ever understanding the kind of man he was -- and that
there might exist other men like him.

...

Comment by Guy Montag on November 2, 2009 - 6:07pm

“When reporting as a “journalist’ for the army, you quickly learn there is no news but good news. … I put
my Ivy League English degree to use writing shallow propaganda. … I made it a game to see just how
falsely positive I could be. … the Dept of Public Affairs in Washington DC named me one of the army’s
“Outstanding Journalists.” … I had earned my first medal from the army for writing in a newspaper.”

-- Andrew Exum, “This Man’s Army” (2004)

“They ought to make a movie about this. Mr. Smith comes to Washington.” “Yeah, I called my pa last
night and he says, Judd boy, you been up there with them muck-a-mucks two days, now. Did they teach
you how to lie yet?”
-- James Webb, “A Country Such As This” (1983)

...

Andrew Exum asserts that “Stan McChrystal stands out as one of the guys who made mistakes but
ultimately did the right thing … probably the least culpable guy in Tillman’s chain of command … who
sent a memorandum up through the chain of command at the time of Tillman’s death warning his
commanders … Stan McChrystal is one of the finest men I have ever known, and I hope I have sons who
serve under men like him.”

Well, as one blogger wrote, “Phew, talk about a man crush. … the normally witty and sarcastic Abu
Muqawama has turned into a walking billboard for Gen. McChrystal …”) Andrew Exum is a self-professed
“fan” of McChrystal, during media appearances he lavished praise on General McChrystal: “… you really
need a silver bullet …You have one chance to get this right, and you'd better get your A-team on the field."
… “I do know that Stan McChrystal is an automatic starter in anyone's line-up”.

In his book review, Andrew Exum neglected to mention General McChrystal’s role in the Tillman case or
disclose his close personal and professional ties with him. This past summer, Exum spent a month
working closely with McChrystal in Afghanistan after being asked by McChrystal to join his Afghan war
assessment team: ‘This [Afghan War Assessment] was written with about a dozen talented and good-
natured co-authors (and the world's most intense lead author [General McChrystal]) who put up with my
smart-assery -- often in enclosed spaces -- for a whole month’.”

And Andrew Exum is a fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), "Washington's go-to
think tank on military affairs." CNAS has advocated for General McChrystal’s expansion of the Afghan
War and has very close ties with McChrystal (meets with him weekly by videoconference) and his mentor
General Petraeus.

Before reading this blog entry, I had assumed that Andrew Exum and CNAS were part of the bi-partisan
“conspiracy” protecting General McChrystal, and that Exum had written his book review to whitewash
General McChrystal’s central role in orchestrating the cover-up of Pat Tillman’s fratricide. Just before
McChrystal’s confirmation hearing, Exum wrote “Confirm Him” in his blog: “The bottom line is, nothing
is ever going to heal the wounds inflicted on the Tillman Family … And while I have nothing but respect
for the Tillman Family…, their personal grief should not be a veto on the nomination of the man the
president, the Secretary of Defense, and General Petraeus all feel gives the United States and its allies the
best chance of victory in Afghanistan …

However, after reading this blog entry, I believe Andrew Exum is either awfully good at feigning self-
righteous outrage or he is woefully ignorant of the most basic facts of the Tillman case. (And he thinks
Krakauer’s hard on McChrystal? He ought to read Mary Tillman’s book “Boots on the Ground by Dusk”
which eviscerated McChrystal!)

...

Unlike Exum, I know what I’m talking about. I’ve followed the Tillman case the past four years and have
closely examined the reports from the various Army, IG and Congressional “investigations.” McChrystal
was probably the most culpable guy in the Tillman case. McChrystal received confirmation of Tillman’s
fratricide within two days, had the responsibility to tell the family, made the decision not to tell the family
about fratricide, and he supervised the writing of the “misleading” Silver Star award, then sent his
“timely” prevaricating P4 memo a week after he learned of the fratricide.

Here’s my take from McChrystal’s June 2, 2009 Senate confirmation hearing (excerpted from my 200
page binder, “Did They Teach You How to Lie Yet?” Senator James Webb, General Stanley McChrystal
and the Betrayal of Pat Tillman):

1. McChrystal said that he first learned of suspected fratricide and the 15-6 investigation after returning
back to Afghanistan from a meeting in Qatar with General Abizaid on about April 23rd:
“Corporal Tillman was killed on the 22nd of April … I arrived back into Afghanistan from a
meeting in Qatar with General Abizaid on about the 23rd, and I was informed, at that point, that
they suspected that friendly fire might have been the cause of death, and that they had initiated
what we call a 15-6, or an investigation of that.” (p.18 transcript)

But during the Jones 15-6 McChrystal said that he "was in Qatar when I was told, about a day or two after
the incident NLT the 25th...". [OK, that matches the 23rd, but was he in Qatar or Afghanistan?].

During his DoD IG interview General Abizaid said "Gen McChrystal informed him of CPL Tillman's death
while they were in Qatar in a meeting .... he received no details and did not know friendly fire was
suspected." [So we're supposed to believe McChrystal didn't tell Abizaid about fratricide while they were
together in Qatar on the same day! Or, Abizaid lied about not being told about fratricide.]

And during his Congressional testimony on 8-01-07, General Abizaid said "on about the 23rd, Gen
McChrystal called me and told me that CPL Tillman had been killed in combat and that the circumstances
his death were heroic." [So was he told “no details” or “heroic”?]

But the DoD IG Chronology (Appendix B) states that after COL Nixon was told of possible fratricide and
the 15-6 on the 23rd, Nixon only told McChrystal of the "death" of Tillman and then McChrystal told
Abizaid only about Tillman's "death". [But McChrystal said on Tuesday hearing he was told of fratricide
on the 23rd! McChrystal either failed to tell Abizaid about fratricide, or Abizaid lied about not being
informed about it. And Nixon lied about telling McChyrstal about Tillman’s “death” and/or McChrystal
lied about Nixon telling him only of “death”.]

So, McChrystal, Nixon, and/or Abiziad lied about when they learned about “suspected” fratricide during
their interviews with the DoD Inspector General and before Congress. A look at their IG interviews would
be illuminating and resolve this question [Scott Laidlaw at AP got these interviews through FOIA, but I
haven’t seen them].

2. McChrystal said there was speculation early on that Tillman was killed by friendly fire, but that he and
others were waiting for the outcome of an "initial review" [Scott’s 4/29 15-6] before coming forward with
that information [sending P4]:

“And so, we initially were waiting for the outcome of that initial review [CPT Scotts 15-6] before
we went forward with any conclusions. So, it was a well-intended intent to get some level of truth
before we went up.” (p. 18 transcript)

But there was never anything speculative or “potential” or "suspected" about Tillman’s friendly fire death.
The Rangers on the ground being shot at knew immediately what had happened. On the 23rd word was
passed up “70% sure” by the CSM to LTC Bailey and on to COL Nixon. And on the 24th, the initial
investigating officer CPT Scott passed on verbal confirmation (“I’m certain, I’m sure”) to LTC Bailey, who
then called COL Nixon (McChrystal was next in the chain of command).

McChrystal knew of confirmed FF just two days after Tillman’s death! (If this isn’t “some level of proof”,
what is?) Or, are we to believe Nixon never told McChrystal of confirmation during the following days
they were working together on the Silver Star package?

3. McChrystal said that he sent his P4 message to inform his chain of command that he believed friendly
fire was a possibility before the memorial service “which in retrospect looks contradictory.” (After the
Wallace report came out, McChrystal was praised by the Secretary of the Army for acting "reasonably and
quickly" by sending his “timely” P4 memo to alert his superiors on the 29th):
“I also sent a message informing my chain of command that we believed it was fratricide, and we
did that when we were told there were going to be fairly high-profile memorial services.” And “…
when I sent the message, the intent entirely was to inform everyone up my chain of command so
that nobody would be surprised.’ (p. 18 transcript).

During the hearing McChrystal said he was told of suspected fratricide and the 15-6 investigation on the
23rd. Yet he didn’t send out his P4 until the 29th? How is waiting six days considered “timely”? [and as I
pointed out, he actually had verbal confirmation of fratricide on the 24th!] Of course, in reality
McChrystal told Abizaid on the 23rd, and then it was passed onward to the Secretary of Defense and
White House.

And notice that McChrystal wasn’t concerned about Tillman’s family being surprised. He wrote in his P4,
“I felt it was essential that you received this information as soon as we detected it in order to preclude any
unknowing statements by our country’s leaders which might cause public embarrassment if the
circumstances of Corporal Tillman’s death become public.” (P4 Memo)

Note the “if” not “when” it becomes public. And how is sending the P4 on the 29th “as soon as we detected
it” when McChrystal said he was told on the 23rd?

Further, McChrystal wasn’t concerned with correcting the Silver Citation he had just forwarded to the
Secretary of the Army the previous day and that had already been approved.

4. General Wallace cleared McChrystal of wrongdoing because McChrystal only “signed off’ on the Silver
Star and “had no reasonable basis to question the recommendation that came up endorsed by the
commanders in the field who were there and had firsthand knowledge of the circumstances of his death
and his heroic actions.” But during Tuesday's hearing, McChrystal said he sat down with the officers (ie
Nixon, Kauzerlich, Hodne, Bailey) and went over Tillman's actions on a whiteboard to satisfy himself that
Tillman's actions merited a Silver Star!:

“I sat down with the people [Ranger Regiment officers] who recommended it [Silver Star]. … and
we went over a whiteboard, and we looked at the geometry of the battlefield, and I queried the
people to satisfy myself that, in fact, that his actions warranted that, even though there was a
potential that the actual circumstances of death had been friendly fire.” (p. 18 transcript)

General McChrystal was in Afghanistan with the Ranger officers discussing what happened! McChrystal
lead the Silver Star approval process! McChrystal wasn’t removed from the process. He didn’t just sign off
on a piece of paper that just dropped onto his desk! He was intimately involved with the process.

“Potential… friendly fire.” As previously mentioned, all the Ranger officers and McChrystal had been told
of confirmed friendly fire on the 24th!

5. McChrystal said that the Silver Star citation wasn't well written and that he didn't read it close enough
to catch that it could "imply" Tillman wasn't killed by friendly fire:

“… my own mistakes in not reviewing the Silver Star citation well enough and making sure that I
compared it to the message [P4 memo] that I sent were mistakes.” (p. 48 transcript). “… in
retrospect, they [Silver Star and P4 memo] look contradictory, because we sent out a Silver Star
that was not well written – and, although I went through the process, I will tell you now I didn’t
review the citation well enough to capture – or, I didn’t catch that if you read it, you can imply
that it was not friendly fire.” (p.18 transcript)
Absolute bull. The IG report discussion section (Appendix E) on the Silver Star concluded that anyone
reading the citation would assume Tillman was killed by enemy fire: “… we concluded that an uninformed
reader could reasonably infer that CPL Tillman had been killed by enemy fire although a careful review of
the narrative and citation show no direct assertion that he was killed by enemy fire. As a result, the
narrative justification and citation were misleading.” (p.55 IG report). As Brigadier General Howard
Yellen later testified, “For the civilian on the street, the interpretation would be that he was killed by
enemy fire.”

In fact, Maj. Hodne even said that he edited the narrative to ensure it didn't mention friendly fire!: “Maj.
[Hodne] testified that he carefully prepared the narrative to avoid stating that the enemy had killed CPL
Tillman and distinctly remembered removing a phrase asserting that CPL Tillman ‘died by enemy fire.”
(p.51 IG report).

And the witness statements were altered by "someone in the approval chain" (i.e. Nixon, McChrystal,
and/or Kauzerlich). “PFC [O’Neal] stated that he did not sign the valorous award witness statement .. also
pointed out parts he knows he did not write and parts that were not accurate.” … Sgt [Weeks?] also
pointed out parts that were inaccurate, in that he was unable to see CPL Tillman’s actions from his
location.” IG Gimble preferred not to “speculate” as to who was responsible while testifying before the
House Oversight Committee in April 2007.! “… we were not able to identify the specific drafter.” (p.53 IG
report).

...

In his book review, Andrew Exum dismissed Krakauer’s assertion of a “conspiracy” by the Army and Bush
Administration to cover-up Tillman’s fratricide. However, the opening lines of his review actually support
just such a “conspiracy” theory. Exum wrote: “I was standing in an operations center in Bagram …
watching two firefights on the monitors and screens [from a Predator drone] in front of me … I arrived
back in Bagram to learn the name of that Ranger killed in action: Spec. Patrick Daniel Tillman.” Exum
watched the video feed from a Predator drone of the Tillman firefight.

Yet, the Army denies the existence of that video that Exum saw with his own eyes. Krakauer wrote, ““The
forward observer … heard an airplane flying overhead …’As I listened closer I knew it was a Predator
drone.’ … equipped with cameras … headquarters later confirmed that a Predator was overhead during the
firefight, and a civilian contractor at Bagram said that he remembered seeing the Predator’s video feed."
During the numerous investigations that would be undertaken over the next three years, the Army and the
CIA nevertheless asserted no such video existed.”

So … Andrew Exum must have been hallucinating when he says he was watching Predator footage of the
Tillman firefight, since the Army says no such video exists. I guess that footage “disappeared,” just like all
copies of the first investigating officer’s 15-6 report just happened to vanish! Must have just been another
one of those “blunders”!

...

Andrew Exum criticized Krakauer’s “visceral hatred of the Bush administration” and for his being “eager
to launch an inquisition into the crimes of the Bush Administration…” Here, I agree with Exum that
Krakauer focused too much on the sins of the Bush Adminstration.

Krakauer’s story blaming Bush and the Army for the cover-up, with the Democratic Congress as the
champions in pursuit of the truth is too simple. In reality, the cover-up has been a thoroughly bipartisan
affair, with Congress and the Obama Presidency continuing to protect General McChrystal from
punishment. And the New York Time’s and their Pentagon Reporter Thom Shanker playing their role as
well.

Congressman Waxman’s so-called investigation (like the IG report) was not an honest attempt to get at
the truth. I believe that sometime after the April 2007 hearing, Waxman got the word the “fix” was in, to
lay off McChrystal. (Perhaps because of McChrystal’s important covert contribution to the “surge” in
Iraq?) Waxman dropped him from the list of witnesses for the August 1, 2007 hearing and the testimony
during that hearing was a praise-fest for McChrystal. Despite the concerns raised by the Committee
during the April 2007 hearing about the falsified Silver Star, P4 document, etc. they never looked at
McChrystal, who was at the center of these actions.

Like Pat Tillman, Senator Webb’s been a maverick and a fascinating character. I’ve read his novels for
thirty years. His betrayal of the Tillman family cuts me the deepest. I’ve trusted his sense of honor for
thirty years. If anyone in Congress should have cared, it would have been him (For example, Webb, as a
young Marine veteran spent 8 years to clear the name of a dead Marine for his mother’s sake!)

Yet, during the same time in April – May 2008, after he received my letter imploring him to help Mary
Tillman, he was conducting a secret “review” of McChrystal’s actions in the Tillman cover-up. Shortly
afterwards, while Mary Tillman was in DC on her book tour, the Senate Armed Services Committee
(headed by Levin and McCain) held their secret “executive session” to hear McChrystal testify. Shortly
thereafter, the Senate promoted him to Director of the Joint Staff.

I’m hard on Webb not because I dislike the man, but that I’m disappointed by him. As an old man and
politician, he’s turned into exactly what he once reviled as a young soldier! I find it tragic to see Webb
compromising his sense of honor (perhaps even Pat Tillman would have done so as well, if he had lived
long enough?). I even believe Webb’s doing it with the best of intentions, that he believes McChrystal is
indispensable to the Afghan war. But I still don’t forgive him for it. Or like it.

And I’m certainly not casting all the blame for the sins of Congress onto Senator Webb. Henry Waxman,
Chairman Carl Levin, Senator McCain, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid and others in Congress bear greater
responsible than Webb. It just happens I know more about Webb and his role and have had personal
interactions with his office.

In my binder, “Lies’s … Borne Out by Lies If Not the Truth,” I discuss The New York Times role in
whitewashing McChrystal’s role in the cover-up of the Tillman fratricide. I pretty much lay it all out in the
binder, starting with an overview and going into more detail. I didn’t come away from my personal
experience with Thom Shanker and “The Gray Lady” with any confidence in our “watchdog” media. And
I’d like to point out that Thom Shanker also participated in the Jessica Lynch story in 2003. I haven’t dug
into that side of the story much, although I included an article in the binder by Gregg Mitchell about it.

I believe that President Obama was certainly aware of General McChrystal’s involvement in the cover-up
of Tillman’s fratricide. I cannot imagine that his staff did not thoroughly vet McChrystal before his
nomination on May 12th. Yet Obama chose to give him a pass, and promote him to the Army’s highest
rank and make him the new commander of the Afghan War. It’s ironic that the previous general was fired
to make way for McChrystal.

However, it’s even more ironic that the following day Obama gave a commencement address at Arizona
State University inside Sun Devil Stadium without once mentioning Pat Tillman! I’m sure that he didn’t
want to bring up Tillman’s name to avoid anyone pointing out the connection to McChrystal’s nomination.
(Bob Young’s “Obama’s Big-Time Fumble” (Arizona Republic 5-17-09).
It’s not surprising that after the initial fratricide cover-up fell apart, that Army officers and the Bush
administration lied to protect their careers. Reprehensible, but understandable. But the Democratic
Congress, after they took control of both Houses in 2006, could have gone after those responsible. Or at
least not promoted them! Their hands are dirty as well with the betrayal of Pat Tillman.

...

Instead of addressing Krakauer’s evidence pointing to a conspiracy, Andrew Exum asserted that Krakauer,
since he is not a combat veteran, cannot have the perspective to make any valid commentary on the
actions of men in combat. Nonsense! (So your colleague Thomas Ricks can’t write about war since since
he’s not a veteran?):

“Those who have spent time in the military … tend to err on the side of incompetence, while those who
never have -- such as Krakauer -- tend to suspect conspiracy. … Krakauer does not appear to understand
light infantry combat as well as he does mountaineering … there is nothing in Krakauer's life or
experience that inspires similar confidence in his criticism of experienced combat officers ....”

Apparently, Andrew Exum is unaware that Jon Krakauer spent seven months embedded in Afghanistan in
2006 and 2007, “I accompanied troops from the U.S. Army’s Tenth Mountain Division, Eighty-second
Airborne Division, and Special Forces Operational Detachment – Alpha 773 … on numerous combat
missions along the Pakistan border.” Perhaps Krakauer even spent more time than Exum during his tours
with the Tenth and his Ranger Batt in 2002 and 2004? Surely Krakauer’s experience would give him some
standing?

And bashing Krakauer for his lack of respect for the military is absurd: “in the eyes of Krakauer … soldiers
are either victims of circumstance or war criminals in waiting.” Krakauer donated proceeds from his book
tour to veteran organizations and dedicated his book to a soldier he spent time with in Afghanistan, SFC
Jared Monti who died winning the Medal of Honor.

...

Clearly, despite Andrew Exum’s background as an Army Ranger officer in Afghanistan, he was a poor
choice to review Jon Krakauer’s book. He simply has too many personal and professional conflicts of
interest with General McChrystal.

And, Exum hasn’t done his due diligence and done any significant research into the Tillman case. Instead
of unsupported opinion and bluster, he needs to look at the source documents. He could begin by reading
Mary Tillman’s book, perhaps give her a phone call, or I’d be happy to school him by passing on the
information in my binders.

P.S.

Lest I be accused by Exum of being “on the fringes of the American Left,” I am not a Republican. Nor a
Democrat. I’m an independent, disgusted with the corruption of both parties. Hell, I even voted for Nader
in 2008! (maybe that does put me on the "fringes"!)

As far as my “martial virtues” go, I’ve spent the last eighteen years as a firefighter and the eight years
before that with an LRRP company (1983 – 1991, SGT Co. “F” (Ranger), 425th INF MI ARNG).
(I liked your account of Ranger School in your book "This Man's Army." I've still got my notebook from
where my writing scrawled off the page every other word when I feel asleep)

...

Comment by DRONF on November 2, 2009 - 8:07pm

Kaboom. Total slaughter. Well done, Guy Montag

...

Comment by Warwick on November 3, 2009 - 1:28am


Great stuff guy. I love you AM, but Guy just made your ass bleed.

...

Comment by Visitor on November 3, 2009 - 3:36am


I agree with Guy, one "crappy" book report.

...

Comment by Mike D. on November 3, 2009 - 3:17am


This post is going to seriously degrade your ability to influence the Afghanistan debate. But I suspect you
know that, and don't care either because you think that ability was already degraded, or because you
consider the debate has passed the tipping point.

...

Comment by HUS on November 2, 2009 - 8:09pm

Gonna have to go with Guy on this one- and this is coming from someone who generally sympathizes with
Ex's viewpoint.

I think the whole post constructed a strawman in regards to debasing Krakauer. The issue is not how he
views American troops, although you reach the point of calling him unpatriotic and totally ignorant of
U.S. military culture, something that I am certain he is not. You're really taking a page out of the Bush
Administration's handbook of how to deal with critics when you get as ad hominem in a debate as you just
did. The fact of the matter is that McChrystal was totally, inexcusably in the wrong and participated in a
cover-up (the facts all point to this, Andrew, and you would be hard pressed to find someone who could
dispute that).

How about instead of insulting Jon Krakauer on a personal basis, you go through all the issues that Gus
has brought up- all legitimate, publicized concerns- and try to refute them. Bet you can't.
Enough of the manlove, seriously. Admit your impartiality and move on

...

Comment by Visitor on November 2, 2009 - 3:24pm


If the cover up wasn't more important than the original act, Clinton never would've been impeached. You
can't pretend otherwise, simply because you like the people doing the covering up. Or because you believe
their intentions were good.

...

Comment by Barry on November 2, 2009 - 2:54pm

" The odds are in favor of buffoonery -- the act whereby otherwise intelligent people make a series of
stupid decisions -- being a more likely explanation for what went wrong than conspiracy."

I'm not too familiar with the details, but didn't they involve officers repeatedly falsifying reports, lying
through their teeth on more than one occasion, and pretty much getting away with it, even after being
discovered?

That sounds like conspiracy to me. It's hard to remember sometimes, but bog standard widely prevalent
corruption in an organization, along with the further corruption that punishment is only for the other
ranks, is in fact consipiracy. Just as water is wet, even if the fishes don't notice.

And every time something like this comes to light, it's more and more likely that we're not seeing
otherwise intelligent people making series' of stupid decisions, but intelligent people making very
intelligent decisions (to lie), but having the bad luck to be discovered.

...

Comment by Old Grunt on November 2, 2009 - 4:10pm

Actually, rather than "buffoonery" this old Marine would use "ass-covering" and/or "career preservation."
The #1 source of most military decisions. And General McC, for all his virtues, didn't get to be a general
without being a skilled practicioner of the above. Nothing against him, just reality in today's flag ranks.
This old timer would also remind everyone that motive questioning is a slippery business. You'll always be
second guessed. Just like vehemently defending Generals whose checks you've cashed as an advisor. You
may be speaking the truth, and your honor may be clear, but you're still exposing an open flank.

...

Comment by Keith on November 2, 2009 - 12:24pm

AM,
Come on, the book wasn't "crappy." It included a lot on Pat's life that could have been edited and unfairly
blamed the Bush administration for tactical decisions. That said, a lot of the book was good. It brought Pat
to life and it was the best reconstruction of the events that led to his death that I have ever read. Mr.
Kraukauer's examination of how the Army dealt with previous friendly fire incidents was commendable.

As far as Gen. McChyrstal goes--the link you provided sums up Mr. Kraukauer's concern. Gen. McChrystal
knew when he signed the award that the narrative in the citation was likely false. Further, to admit not to
reading closely a Silver Star cititation for the most famous soldier in the Army concerns me. You may not
think any of that is as big of a deal as Mr. Kraukauer does, but it bothers me because it begs the question
of how other, less famous soldiers were treated.

Finally, Mr. Kraukauer probably shouldn't have been on the Meet the Press panel yesterday. He isn't an
expert on Afghanistan and he isn't the type of journalist that goes on those shows regularly. If MTP
wanted to do a one on one interview with him about the book then fine, but he was a fish out of water on
the panel.

...

Comment by Joseph Cox on November 2, 2009 - 2:34pm

I think almost everything written for a general audience reads better the less you know about it. I can't
read the Economist editorials without groaning whenever they talk about Afghanistan or Pakistan, but if
its about sex laws in Georgia suddenly it reads as very reasonable. That isn't a defense of Krakauer, as
much pointing out the impossibility of pleasing everyone- especially people with expertise in the subject
matter.

You have far more expertise than most, Andrew, but that is why your visceral takedown of Krakauer feels
emotional rather than entirely based on what is on the pages. Dexter Filkins's review does note the
distracting criticism of Bush officials, but praises the account of what happened in Afghanistan and the
cover-up, the parts that have you the most incensed. While it is definitely true that Krakauer is going after
General Macchrystal precisely because he is famous, that is kind of the deal with being a public figure and
wasn't Macchrystal chosen in part because he was able to deftly handle the media like Petraeus? He is a
good man, but no one escapes from a shit storm like that one completely untarnished.

It is nice to see the man defended, but I don't know if Krakauer deserves condemnation- he isn't the man
Macchrystal is, or you are, but hell neither am I or 99.5% of the U.S. population. If it was easy, everyone
would do it. That's why I try not to be a chicken hawk when I write, its a hell of a lot easier to advocate
for others to be harms way than to enlist yourself.

...

Comment by featherock on November 2, 2009 - 3:20pm


Filkins hardly "panned" Krakauer's book. His chief complaint is there's too much padding. That's a far cry
from your criticisms, which are as politicized as you claim Krakauer to be.

...

Comment by Guy Montag on November 2, 2009 - 10:36pm


Greyhawk,

I'll try to be mercifully brief in my response to your questions (my lengthy post above is based on over 100
pages of test from three documents, not counting about 200 pages of Appendices).

1. What exactly was McChrystal's intent/motivation in any coverup of the Tillman case?

As commander of JSOC, McChrystal was a favorite of Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and reported directly
tohim. After Tillman's death, word of Tillman's probable fratricide went up the chain of command no later
than the next day, and confirmed fratricide within a couple of days. I would assume orders went back
down from somewhere in the White House and/or Secretary Rumsfeld to do damage control; cover-up the
fratricide and turn Tillman into a heroic poster-boy (In the words of General Yellen, “... it’s sort of like,
‘Here is the steak dinner, but we’re giving it to you on this … garbage can cover. You know, ‘You got it, you
work it”). And both Krakauer and the Tillman family have argued that a primary motivation was to
distract attention from the Abu Gharib torture photos which became public shortly after Tillman's death.
Besides, the military seems to lie about just about anything that goes wrong to cover someone's ass. (read
johntreed.com for some great commentary on "military integrity")

To some extent, McChrystal was simply obeying orders from on high. I guess he could of said "No", but
I'm sure he wanted to keep accumulating more stars on his collar. He's certainly doesn't bear the ultimate
blame for the decision to cover-up. What really pisses me off is the continuation of the cover-up to protect
McChrystal by the Democratic Congress, Obama and the New York Times (particularly Senator Webb and
Thom Shanker). McChrystal is the "golden boy" apparently indispensible to the war effort.

it's interesting to note that all of the Regimental Officers involved in the cover-up were promoted shortly
thereafter. LTC Bailey to full bird, COL Nixon got his star, and Kauzerlich got a battalion command (he
"stars" in "The Good Soldiers"). However, the lowly platoon leader, LT Uthlaut, was kicked out of the
Rangers for getting shot in the face his own men and for obeying stupid orders from RGT (no slacker, he
was first in his West Point class).

2. "Did Tillman deserve a medal for valor/"

My personal opinion is no. Tillman did expose himself to fire to throw a smoke grenade to try to get the
Rangers to stop firing. Once the firing stopped, both Tillman and O'Neal thought they had been
recognized and stood up; they were only 35 meters away from the humvee. At that point, the firing
resumed. Tillman was hit in the chest and went down, and then the SAW gunner put a burst into his chest
and head (Alder's couldn't see too good, recovering from LASIK surgery at the time). Besides, I believe the
Silver Star is for valor in the face of the enemy. I don't believe Tillman actually received incoming enemy
fire and the few Taliban were several hundred meters away.

Later, McChrystal and the Ranger Rgt officers said they awarded Tillman for the Silver Star for his valor
in saving O'Neal. They just didn't include the crucial fact in the award citation that it was friendly fire.
Now, I know that a bit of embellishment is standard in military awards (I hardly recognized myself in the
Army Commendation award I received). But Tillman's Silver Star Citation and it's supporting
documentation are works of fiction.

Take a look for yourself:


http://www.defenselink.mil/home/pdf/Tillman_Redacted_Web_0307.pdf

...
Comment by Guy Montag on November 2, 2009 - 10:42pm
"Did Tillman deserve a medal for valor?"

Postscript: Mary Tillman asked the Army to tell her the last time anyone was awarded the Silver Star for
getting killed by friendly fire. I don't think the powers-that-be ever got back to her on that. If anyone
knows of such a example, let us know.

...

Comment by Guy Montag on November 3, 2009 - 11:04am

"... I was the man who misrepresented your intentions with my ignorant words. You have told me about
great works that I cannot understand, about marvels which are beyond me, of which I know nothing. ... I
retract what I have said, and repent in dust and ashes."
-- Job (New Jerusalem Bible)

Sometimes silence is the best compliment.

However, after throwing down my gauntlet, I must admit that I am somewhat disappointed, although not
terribly surprised, that AM has not deigned to respond to my post. Perhaps he has the good sense to
remain silent after what DRONF termed "total slaughter."

But I expected a bit more fight from a scrappy East Tennessee redneck (not that I have anything against
rednecks; my Dad was born in the Mississippi hill country just south of Memphis and grew up in the
Delta. AM"s father Roy and my Dad both attended Ole Miss).

To a very limited degree, I actually agree with AM that Krakuer's book was "crappy." But "crappy" is too
strong; I don't have an issue with most of the facts in his book. But as Dexter Filkins noted in his NYT
review Krakauer's effort didn't quite hit the mark (I agree with AM that Gary Smith at Sports Illustrated
did a much better job in his piece "Remember his Name" si.com 9-11-09 and Mary Tillman's book "Boots
on the Ground by Dusk" gave a more intimate portrait). Krakauer's effort was hampered in that he lost the
trust of Mary and Kevin Tillman who refused to have anything to do with his book after reading his first
draft. And Krakauer didn't dig far enough into the story to uncover the Democratic Congress's role in
covering McChrystal's ass. I think Krakauer could have included more detail about the cover-up instead of
the background chapters on Bush and the Afghan war.

It would be nice if AM and his drinking buddy Nate Fick would read "After Pat's Birthday" by Kevin
Tillman (http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/200601019_after_pats_birthday/). Perhaps
they could raise a Guiness to toast Pat Tillman this Friday, November 6th. It would have been Pat's 31st
birthday. Just about AM and Nate's age.

...
Comment by Cricket on November 3, 2009 - 4:47am
Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm, as usual Exum remains silent in the hope that VFW membership alone is
suffice.

...

Comment by Zarathustra on November 2, 2009 - 8:36pm

AM- respond to GM?

...

Comment by featherock on November 3, 2009 - 12:03pm

why is everybody holding Exum to journalistic standards? he's not a journalist. he works at a think tank.
he works with and for mcchrystal. the DoD pays him for his opinions, not for being objective. is it any
surprise he defends mcchrystal so vigorously. in turn, he gets all-important access to top dogs like
mcchrystal, which leads to more paychecks, more appearances on cable news shows, and more gravitas
for himself and his think tank. the same shit happens to journalists who work a regular beat. in return for
access to the muckety mucks, to the guys and gals with the real info, they toe the line and even rock the
boat now and then -- not too much, but a little -- to keep up appearances.

...

Comment by Guy Montag on November 3, 2009 - 12:07pm

KILO needs to take a deep breath and center himself. But, I'll try to address a few of his remarks:

1. KILO: "I'll accuse you of clearly knowing how to use quotation marks. ... really shouldn't have been that
godawful to read. .. either post a link to what you want us to read or put some work in and polish that shit
up before dumping it wholesale into someone's comment section."

Guilty. I apologize for the lack of formatting of my post. The numbered sections were pasted from my
Word documents and all my nice formatting didn't show up here. I wish I had a link to provide to my
documents. They only exist in my WORD files and hardcopy. I haven't yet made time to create a blog and
put my material into it. And I didn't have time to polish my work (I only had an outline and notes from the
document I've been writing for the past month to put something together in a couple of hours).

And I'll grant that the section dealing with the fratricide notification dates to General Abizaid, McChrystal,
COL Nixon isn't the easiest read without access to fuller material.

...

2. KILO: "There is no evidence you can cite where he [McChrystal] was provided confirmation of this
[fratricide] prior to his memo of the 29th where he provided this assessment of his own, ..."

Well, I briefly mentioned testimony from General Jone's 15-6 report. Here's a bit more detail. These
interviews were heavily redacted so you've got to fill in the blanks, although not hard to do once you know
the players and the story (the "Jones" citations refer to the General Jones 2004 15-6 report):
...

From IG, p. 12:

“The operational chain of command for CPL Tillman’s unit … was:


1. Headquarters, Operations Team [LTC Bailey?]
2. Headquarters, 75th Ranger Regiment [COL Nixon]
3. Headquarters, Joint Task Force [GEN McChrystal]
4. CENTCOM [GEN Abizaid]

Sworn Statement of CSM Birch (Jones, CS):

“… by 1000 on the morning of the 23rd, I spoke with [Bailey] face-to-face and said, “This looks like it
might be fratricide. You need to do an investigation and get to the bottom of it and find out the facts, sir.”
(p. 2)

“… probably when I left that canyon to link up with [1SG?] in my mind, I would say I was probably 70
percent sure it was fratricide, sir.” (p. 8)

Sworn statement of LTC Bailey (Jones, Z):

“So you talked to [Nixon] on the 23rd and told him that it was your initial indication that he had been
killed by fratricide? -- “Yes, sir.” (p.18)

“Sir, within 3 or 4 hours of being out here on the ground by the incident [23rd], I went back and told
[Nixon] that I was certain that we had killed him. I mean, there’s some doubt and we need to do the 15-6.
So, from that time forward, I never doubted whether or not we had killed Pat Tillman. In fact, I think just
about everybody around knew that.” (p. 52)

“Sir, there’s no doubt about it [fratricide]. It can’t be anything but that. … I think that after the first day [of
interviews, 24th] after [CPT Scott] talked to … the main kind of players out there … there was no doubt
about it. It was a case where there were 6 or 7 Rangers that saw this vehicle shooting at them.” (p. 21)

“And certainly, by the next day [24th] when we did the investigations, I confirmed it. Because I called him
[Nixon] back within a day or two and said, “Sir, I want you to know now, after getting the first five
interviews” in fact, that was, I guess, the next day.” … “So, after [CPT Scott, 15-6 investigator] did his first
five interviews, he came back to me and said, “Sir, I’m certain. I’m sure.” And then I called [Nixon]. … I
think it was the 24th. (p. 53)

NOTE: I don't have any "proof" that Nixon then called McChrystal. But, he was next in the chain of
command. Does anyone who served in the Army really believe that Nixon never passed this information to
his boss McChrystal?

Sworn statement of COL Nixon (Jones, AM):

“…I believed it was my responsibility to tell the family once I had the facts involved with that. …And it
took a considerable time to get truth or the best level of truth that we could get out of that investigation.”
(p. 9 -10)
NOTE: “Considerable time” being two days! Scott “was certain. I’m sure” on the 24th! This fratricide
confirmation was passed up to Nixon, and presumably up the chain of command!

“The night after or probably the day after the actual incident [I learned of possibility of fratricide]. … I
think on the day of the 23rd I got some indication that there might have been some fratricide.” (p. 2)

“Sir, I believe it was on the [23rd?] 24th [that I directed Bailey to conduct an initial 15-6]” (p. 3)

...

As an aside, CPT Scott's 15-6 Final Report was passed up April 29th and was "disappeared". All copies
were somehow "lost" by the Army, even the personal copy CPT Scott gave to General Jones (3rd 15-6
investigator). Kevin Tillman discovered the existence of CPT Scott's investigation when he was later
assigned to the Sniper section commanded by Scott.

...

3. KILO: Here we find you lying about what Exum describes in his WaPo article, in order to advance your
conspiratorial claims:

'In his book review, Andrew Exum dismissed Krakauer’s assertion of a “conspiracy” by the Army and Bush
Administration to cover-up Tillman’s fratricide. However, the opening lines of his review actually support
just such a “conspiracy” theory. Exum wrote, “I was standing in an operations center in Bagram …
watching two firefights on the monitors and screens [from a Predator drone] in front of me … I arrived
back in Bagram to learn the name of that Ranger killed in action: Spec. Patrick Daniel Tillman.” Exum
watched the video feed from a Predator drone of the Tillman firefight. Yet, the Army denies the existence
of that video that Exum saw with his own eyes. '

"This, you know to be a lie. Not least of all because in very next sentence it is explained that the battle on
screens is what Exum was deployed to."

Exum said he viewed TWO battles on the screens at Bagram. Exum led the quick reaction force to rescue
the LRRP team, the other battle was the firefight in which Tillman was killed. Read his Washington Post
9-13-09 review "He Didn't Come Home" for the full quotation which makes this clear.

...

For some reason KILO didn't address McChrystal's role in the frauduelent Silver Star award. I'd suggest
he take a look at the pertinent section in the IG's report and compare the citation and narrative and
compare it to what actually happened; a work of fiction:

take a look for yourself:

http://www.defenselink.mil/home/pdf/Tillman_Redacted_Web_0307.pdf

...

Kilo, thanks for taking the time to read and respond to my rather lengthy posting.
But, I've neglected my sick boy who's been watching PBS cartoons while I've been blogging this morning.
And, I've got to go put some lunch on the table and tend to my bills, house, and ten acres.

...

Comment by Guy Montag on November 3, 2009 - 12:41pm


Comment by featherock on November 3, 2009 - 12:03pm

"why is everybody holding Exum to journalistic standards? ... . is it any surprise he defends mcchrystal so
vigorously. in turn, he gets all-important access to top dogs like mcchrystal, ... the same shit happens to
journalists who work a regular beat. in return for access to the muckety mucks, to the guys and gals with
the real info, they toe the line and even rock the boat now and then -- not too much, but a little -- to keep
up appearances."

Exactly on target. I haven't been too impressed with my personal encounters with our supposed "liberal"
"watchdog media".

Last May, the New York Times Pentagon Reporter Thom Shanker wrote a piece clearing McChrystal of all
wrongdoing in the aftermath of Tillman's death. ("May 26, 2009 "Nomination of U.S. Afghan Commander
Revives Questions in Tillman Case").

The week before McChrystal's June 2nd Senate confirmation hearing, I corresponded with Shanker and
sent him my binder "Did They Teach You How to Lie Yet? Senator James Webb, General Stanley
McChrystal, and the Betrayal of Pat Tillman" which laid out how McChrystal played a key role in the
Tillman cover-up and how the Democratic Congress protected McChrystal. And incidentally, pointed out
how Shanker's piece was full of "lies ... borne out by facts, if not the truth." (Mary Tillman shared my view
that Shanker is an "ass.")

Of course, Shanker did nothing with this information. Coincidentally, he (and the rest of the NYT) have
since enjoyed exceptional good access to McChyrstal. The NYT Public Editor Clark Hoyt didn't do a thing
with the binder I sent last month spelling this all out in excruciating detail ( "Lies ... Borne Out by Facts, If
Not the Truth" -- Thom Shanker, The New York Times and the Whitewashing of General McChrystal's
Role in the Aftermath of Pat Tillman's Death).

Ironically, guess who are now CNAS's "writer's in residence." Yep, the NYT's Thom Shanker and Eric
Schmitt!
Isn't the Washington establishment so cozy? What's the difference between the media, the government,
and the "independent" think-tanks such as Nate Fick's CNAS? All one big incestous blob.

...

During the April 24th 2007 Congressional hearing, Mary Tillman said, “… Congress is supposed to take
care of their citizens. … Pat died for this country, and he believed it was a great country that had a system
that worked. It is not perfect. No one has ever said that. But there is a system in place to allow for it to
work, and your job is to find out what happened to Pat.”

During Kevin Tillman’s testimony before a 2007 House hearing, he said: “… while each investigation
gathered more information, the mountain of evidence was never used to arrive at an honest or even
sensible conclusion … Writing a Silver Star award before a single eye witness account is taken is not a
misstep. Falsifying soldier witness statements for a Silver Star is not a misstep. … Discarding an (15-6)
investigation that does not fit a preordained conclusion is not an error in judgment. These are deliberate
acts of deceit. This is not the perception of concealment. This is concealment.”

At McChrystal’s June 2009 confirmation hearing, Senator James Webb read from a 2005 letter from Pat
Tillman, Sr. (Pat’s father): “No investigator worth a damn would have made the presentation I sat through
unless they had an agenda different from the truth. … No one has been confronted with their conduct. The
issue of importance is the integrity of the military from the lieutenant colonel on the ground all the way up
and past General Jones [3rd investigator].”

General McChrystal acknowledged during his testimony that he and the Army had “failed the family”. In
Senator James Webb’s 1983 novel, A Country Such As This, Congressman Judd Smith argued: “And no,
the military isn’t just fine. The point is, it isn’t corrupt. It’s a system with human failures.”

But when “human failures” systematically extend up every single link in the chain-of-command (to
include the Chair of the Joint Chiefs, Army Chief of Staff, and the Secretary of Defense) up to and
including the White House, how is this not a corrupt country? Every single institution in this country has
failed the Tillman family, including the Army leadership, Congress, White House and the mainstream
media.

Perhaps Senator Rowland, in Senator James Webb's novel, Something to Die For, hit the nail on the head:

“How lofty it must have been to have burnt with the purity of the Revolution! Before the days of multi-
million dollar election campaigns that brought politicians to their knees before the monied temple of the
contributors. Before the time of computerized politics that cause them to await the wisdom of those
oracles known as pollsters before they spoke. Or maybe it had been trash from the get-go, myths to feed
the public.”

...

Comment by Guy Montag on November 4, 2009 - 9:27am

@Kilo

I'll admit I'm not blog literate. I actually don't spend my time reading blogs or blogging (except when I
find something to comment on the Tillman case).

However, if you or anyone else are interested, I'm downloading my material to my blog I'm currently
constructing this morning (thanks to my blog-literate wife). It may not be pretty, but it'll be there:

feralfirefighter@blogspot.com

...

Kilo: "Even if this were the case, we'd still be talking about him being provided with a non-official
conclusion from a single person, a personal opinion, while an investigation was still going on. Whatever
that opinion was, if he didn't dismiss it in favour of waiting for the findings of the investigation, he'd be in
the wrong on what's an incredibly important matter."

The "non-official conclusion" was from CPT Scott the appointed AR 15-6 investigation officer. My point
was that after interviewing the shooters, he called his boss to pass on he "certain" it was fratricide. Sure, it
took him 5 more days to finish interviewing, type up a report, etc.

McChrystal and the rest can play semantic games and say they only learned of "potential" fratricide, but
that's just ass-covering BS. So, McChrystal wasn't sure of fratricide, but he's positive of a highly dubious
Silver Star? He can't have it both ways.

...

Agree with your point on holding AM to to journalistic standards. A few weeks ago AM wrote a post that
ripped into Robert Fisk for bad journalism!

...

Comment by Featherock on November 4, 2009 - 11:32am


Writing a book review, nor 'publishing' in a major daily, makes one a reporter or a journalist. Op-ed
pages, and book reviews are nothing if not literary op-eds, are for opinions, not reporting. That's Exum's
job, expressing his opinion, his duly well-informed opinion. Calling him a journalist or a reporter is like
saying joining Boy Scouts makes you a soldier.

...

Comment by Guy Montag on November 4, 2009 - 11:56am


@featherrock:

Tru dat. I stand corrected.

Although I would obviously quimble about AM's "well-informed" opinion, at least with respect to the
Tillman story.

I don't know if referring to AM as a journalist would be an improvement. My personal correspondence last


May with Thom Shanker (NYT Pentagon reporter) who cleared McChrystal "of all wrongdoing" in the
Tillman case didn't leave me with any respect for him or his so-called profession. If the mainstream
newspapers actually carried out a "watchdog" role, I might be sad at their demise.

As an aside, Thom Shanker just happens to have started his gig at CNAS as a writer in residence. Maybe
AM and Shanker can give each other pointers?

...

Comment by featherock on November 5, 2009 - 9:53am

@Guy - I agree that our media hardly plays a watchdog role. It's pretty complicit in the broad thrust of our
government's and military's policies. One need look no further than the lead-up to the 2003 invasion of
Iraq, where every major media outlet of every stripe just aped DoD, DoS, and White House propaganda.
Journalists who cover a regular beat like the Pentagon exchange access to information for complicity, to a
degree. To be fair to Shankar, and not to denigrate you, I'm sure Shankar gets offered lots of binders or
folders of information from conspiratorial whackjobs, and he probably assumed you were one of those.
Still, that doesn't excuse his lack of reporting on the Tillman case, as you pointed out.

Take a look at one of the biggest revelations of all time regarding the military -- the release of the
Pentagon Papers in 1971. The NY Times, which _eventually_ published them, didn't ferret out these
papers. Daniel Ellsburg handed them to a Times reporter. It took guts to publish them, sure, but the point
is, the Times didn't get them through investigative reporting, because that's simply not part of the
gentleman's agreement.

...

Comment by Guy Montag on November 5, 2009 - 8:26pm


@featherrock - Have you read Daniel Ellsberg's 2002 book "Secrets: A Memoir of the Vietnam War and
the Pentagon Papers""? Facinating book.

Among other things, he was at the Pentagon during the Gulf of Tonkin incident reading the wires from the
ships involved. Mike Gravel (presidential candidate last year) was the only senator who would have
anything to do with the Pentagon Papers (McGovern passed) . and he put them into the Congressional
Record and gave them to Beacon Press to be published.

On May 27th, after writing his article clearing McChrystal, I sent the following email to Shaker. The next
day, I fed-exed him my binder "Did They Teach You How to Lie Yet" -- Senator Webb, General
McChrystal, and the Betrayal of Pat Tillman.

A few days later he complimented my "exhaustive" and "well-researched" binder, but did nothing with the
information. If you're interested, I'll be placing my binder, "Lies ... Borne Out by Facts, If Not the Truth" --
Thom Shanker, the New York Times, and the Whitewash of General McChrystal's Role in the Aftermath of
Pat Tillman's Death onto feralfighter.blogspot.com.

Here's the email:

WEDNESDAY 5/27/09 about 9PM:

Thom Shanker,

I just read your May 26th article, “Nomination of U.S. Afghan Commander Revives Questions in Tillman’s
Case.”

This past week I’ve been working on a long letter to Senator James Webb. I write that Congress and the
senior leadership of the Army have shielded General McChrystal from close scrutiny and protected him
from punishment. I review and critique Senator Webb’s Armed Services Committee review, General
Wallace’s review, and Congressman Waxman’s House Oversight & Reform Committee investigation.

I’d like to send you a copy of my letter. My letter discusses in some detail every point raised in your article.
In addition, I’ve uncovered new information about the Tillman case not mentioned at all in your article.
Here’s a preview of some of the information (without details or documentation):

1. Senator Webb did a “thorough review” last year of the aftermath of the Tillman fratricide at the request
of Chairman Carl Levin for the Senate Armed Service Committee. (In retrospect, I realize this was part of
the vetting process for McChrystal’s confirmation last year as Director of the Joint Staff). Webb
mentioned this review May 27th 2008 on the Diane Rhem NPR radio show (about 40 minutes into show).
When I tried to follow up, Webb’s Military Affairs aide, Gordon Peterson, stonewalled me and referred me
to Gary Leeling 202-224-9339 (legal counsel for Senator Levin)

2.) Congressman Waxman “invited” McChrystal to testify on August 1st 2007. The Committee permited
McChrystal to “decline” to appear at the hearing despite his key role in notifying senior leadership, writing
the misleading P4 memo, and approving the fraudulent Silver Star. And the Committee never interviewed
McChrystal during the next year until their report was issued. .

3.) General Kensinger was blamed for failing to notify the family because he supposedly had the
“administrative” responsibility to do so. Yet, if you look at “Appendix D: Casualty Reporting & Next of Kin
Notification Process” in the IG report, the flowchart clearly shows that McChrystal had that responsibility
(and it’s noted both he and his Chief of Staff failed to make that notification despite knowing about
fratricide NLT April 25th.

4). There was nothing “potential” about Tillman’s friendly fire death. Most of the troops on the ground
knew immediately what had happened. On the 23rd word was passed up “70% sure” to Nixon. But, if you
look at the IG report’s “Appendix B: Chronology,” its noted that LTC Bailey tells COL Nixon of potential
fratricide on the 23rd yet Nixon supposedly only tells McChrystal of Tillman’s “death” (no mention of
fratricide). How is that possible? And then supposedly McChrystal tells General Abizaid only of Tillman’s
death. It looks as though Abizaid wasn’t being truthful when he testified before Congress about when he
learned about fratricide.

5.) And on the 24th, the initial investigating officer CPT Scott passed on confirmation (“I’m certain, I’m
sure”) to LTC Bailey, who then called COL Nixon (McChrystal was next in the chain of command). The
Army knew of confirmed FF two days after Tillman’s death!

6.) McChrystal is praised for his “timely” P4 memo to alert his superiors on the 29th. There was nothing
timely about it. Even if you accept his own testimony at face value, he knew about friendly fire on the
23rd, 24th, or 25th. Yet he didn’t send out his P4 until the 29th? How is waiting four to six days “timely”?

7.) No one seems to have carefully read McChrystal’s P4 memo. The contents are damning. For example,
He says “IF the circumstances of CPL Tillman’s death become public.” Not when, IF.

Anyhow, I believe you will find it worth your time to read through my letter.

Could send me your e-mail address? Then, I could simply send my documents as “attachments” to an
email. Could you also give me a mailing address? (I’ll Fed Ex a hardcopy of letter tomorrow).

If you have any further questions, I can be reached at my email: ****** I can also be contacted at my home
phone, ********. (Unfortunately, I’m a dinosaur who still doesn’t have a cell phone, so that option is out!)
I’ll be home tomorrow in the afternoon and evening.

Sincerely,
David ****
****************
****************

WEDNESDAY 5/27/09 10:39 PM:

David,

Please feel free to send me your material, as I would be eager to review it. Above is my direct e-mail
address. Thanks for writing.

Regards,
Thom

...

SATURDAY 6-06-09 9:58 AM:

David,

Thank you for your note. Your research is exhaustive and impressive.

My question back to you would be:

Why are even senators who were most outspoken in criticism of the handling of the Tillman case -- in
particular Senator Webb, who has figured extensively in your research and in comments by the Tillman
family -- now expressing satisfaction with the public resolution of the inquiries and now, apparently,
ready to confirm General McChrystal next week? Remember, as I know you do, that the legislative branch
is a key check and balance not only of the executive, but of the military. It controls funding and
confirmation to senior general officer jobs.

Again, thanks for sharing your impressive work with me.

Regards,
Thom

...

Comment by Guy Montag on November 6, 2009 - 4:58pm

@featherock: enjoy the book, it's a very good read.

If you, or anyone else, is still interested in learning more about the Tillman case, I've finally placed two of
my binders into my blog at feralfirefighter.blogspot.com. Both documents were converted into pdf format
and downloaded to my blog using scribd:
At the end of May, I wrote the binder, “Did They Teach You to Lie Yet – Senator James Webb, General
Stanley McChrystal, and the Betrayal of Pat Tillman.” I argue that the top leadership of the Army,
Waxman’s House Oversight Committee, and Senator Carl Levin’s Senate Armed Services Committee acted
to shield McChrystal from scrutiny and protected him from punishment for his actions. I focused on
Senator Webb’s role in a secret “review” prior to McChrystal’s 2008 confirmation (I’ve updated this
binder to include the 2009 Senate confirmation hearing and three new revelations from McChrystal’s
testimony).

In September, I finished the binder “Lies … Borne Out by Facts, If Not the Truth” – Senator James Webb,
Thom Shanker & The New York Times, and the Whitewash of General Stanley McChrystal.” This binder
explores the role of the NYT's Washington Pentagon reporter Thom Shanker in “clearing” McChrystal of
any wrongdoing. In addition, I describe my interactions with Senator Webb’s office and speculate at
President Obama’s role in the Tillman case.
(Ironically, Thom Shanker is currently a writer in residence at CNAS! How exactly do you tell the
difference between the government, the press, and the "independent" think tanks?)

Tonight, I should be able to download my latest binder, "Where Men Win Glory" -- Andrew Exum, the
Center for a New American Security, and their Whitewashing of General McChrystal's Role in the Cover-
Up of Pat Tillman's Fratricide". I started writing this binder last month, well before Exum's post came out.
I still need to finish my letter to Nate Fick (too many busy nights at the firehouse this past week).

Note: I have not yet downloaded the Appendices with the source documents that back up my arguments.
Hopefully, they will be there this weekend.

I think you'll find taking a peek at my work to be worthwhile. Most of the material in my binders is not
covered anywhere else on the web, the media or Jon Krakauer's book.

He Who Shall Not Be Fact-Checked


http://www.cnas.org/blogs/abumuqawama/2009/11/he-who-shall-not-be-fact-checked.html

November 9, 2009 | Posted by Abu Muqawama - 9:22am | 22 Comments


Hey, look, everybody, Seymour Hersh has another article for the New Yorker. In this
one, people told him a bunch of stuff, and him not wanting to make people feel bad, he went
ahead and printed all of it. I have no idea what percentage of this article is true and what
percentage is just some stuff people made up. I'm still coming to grips with having been a
henchman in Dick Cheney's executive assassination ring, so you guys are on your own to
make guesses in the comments section. 70/30? 50/50? 20/80?

I had a few quotes of mine mangled in a New Yorker article recently, and that article
was written by a really well-respected journalist, so I can only imagine the editing process
for Sy Hersh articles. My theory is that Hersh's journalism is a little like a 12-gauge shotgun. He
just lets it go, and something is bound to hit the target. But each year, it seems, another inch is
shaved off the barrel, so the shot group gets wider and wider. Over time, fewer and fewer pellets
actually hit the target, but such is his reputation that people only remember the articles of his that
actually exposed something new and none of the articles that, in retrospect, turned out to be just
crazy talk.

...

Comment by Guy Montag on November 9, 2009 - 6:23pm:

@ AM

“He Who Shall Not Be Fact-Checked.” Are you the "he"? Isn't there a bit of projection going on here?
Accusing others of exactly what you do yourself? This past month alone, you’ve written three posts
accusing others of poor journalism and fact checking:

The Financial World Meets Robert Fisk (10-08-09):

“it is increasingly hard to tell when [Robert] Fisk is even sober let alone actually reporting a story. ... he
stopped real reporting years ago ... such was his reputation that his editor at the Independent never feels
the need to check his sources. And that's exactly the problem, I replied.”

He Who Shall Not Be Fact-Checked 11-09-09):

“My theory is that Hersh's journalism is a little like a 12-gauge shotgun. He just lets it go, and something
is bound to hit the target.”

On Martial Virtue ... and Selling Jon Krakauer's Crappy New Book (11-02-09):

“A few months ago, I was asked to review Jon Krakauer's new book by the Washington Post ... the book
was awful. I mean, it was really bad. ... Krakauer wrote a crappy book, and now he has to market it. And
how is he doing that? By going after Stan McChrystal, who is probably the least culpable guy in Tillman's
chain of command ... Stan McChrystal stands out as one of the guys who made mistakes but ultimately did
the right thing. ... Stan McChrystal is one of the finest men I have ever known, and I hope I have sons who
serve under men like him. Jon Krakauer is going after him now because he has written a crappy book and
now has to sell it. “

...

To a very limited degree, I actually agree with you that Krakauer's book was "crappy" (Although "crappy"
is too strong a word; ‘disappointing” would be more apt). Krakauer's effort didn't quite hit the mark (I
agree with you that Gary Smith at Sports Illustrated did a much better job in his piece "Remember his
Name" si.com 9-11-09). But, Krakauer's effort was crippled by losing the trust of Mary Tillman who
refused to have anything to do with his book after reading his first draft. And Krakauer didn't dig far
enough into the story to uncover the Democratic Congress's role in covering McChrystal's ass.

Before reading your post “On Martial Virtue…”, I assumed you and CNAS were part of the bipartisan
“conspiracy” protecting General McChrystal. That you had written your book review to whitewash General
McChrystal’s central role in orchestrating the cover-up of Pat Tillman’s fratricide.
Despite your background as an Ranger officer in Afghanistan, you were a poor choice to review Krakauer’s
book. You neglected to mention General McChrystal’s role in the Tillman case or disclose your close
personal and professional ties with him. Your CNAS thinktank has close ties with McChrystal (meets with
him weekly by videoconference) and his mentor General Petraeus, and is an advocate for General
McChrystal’s Afghan War “surge.”

This past summer, you spent a month working closely with McChrystal after being asked by McChrystal to
join his Afghan war assessment team: ‘This [Afghan War Assessment] was written with ... the world's
most intense lead author [General McChrystal]) who put up with my smart-assery -- often in enclosed
spaces -- for a whole month’.” (As one blogger commented, “Phew, talk about a man crush. … the normally
witty and sarcastic Abu Muqawama has turned into a walking billboard for Gen. McChrystal …”)

I responded to your “Martial Virtue” posting with a rather lengthy comment explaining why I believed
that you were either awfully good at feigning self-righteous outrage or were woefully ignorant of the most
basic facts of the Tillman case. Despite your assertion that McChrystal was “probably the least culpable
guy in Tillman's chain of command” the evidence is overwhelming that McChrystal played a key role in
the cover-up of Tillman’s fratricide.

You have the audacity to accuse others of poor fact checking, yet you haven’t done any significant research
into the Tillman case. You need more than unsupported opinion and bluster to support your claims and
criticisms of Krakauer's book.

Unlike yourself, I’ve closely followed the Tillman case and have dug into the Tillman reports from the
various Army, IG and Congressional “investigations. Last Friday, I finally posted some of the documents
backing up my claims at: feralfirefighter.blogspot.com. I’d welcome your fact checking of my work.

1.) My response to your blog post is included in “Where Men Win Glory – Andrew Exum, CNAS, and their
Whitewash of General McChrystal’s Role in the Cover-Up of Pat Tillman’s Fratricide”:

http://feralfirefighter.blogspot.com/2009/11/men-win-glory-andrew-exum-c...

2.) Just before McChrystal’s June hearing, I wrote an 100-page document, “Did They Teach You to Lie Yet
– Senator James Webb, General Stanley McChrystal, and the Betrayal of Pat Tillman.” I argued that the
top leadership of the Army, Waxman’s House Oversight Committee, and Senator Webb, Levin, and
McCain’s Senate Armed Services Committee acted to shield McChrystal from scrutiny and protect him
from punishment for his actions:

http://feralfirefighter.blogspot.com/2009/11/did-they-teach-you-how-to-l...

3.) On September 11th, I finished my 200-page binder, “Lies … Borne Out by Facts, If Not the Truth” –
Senator James Webb, Thom Shanker & The New York Times, and the Whitewash of General Stanley
McChrystal.” This binder explores the role of New York Times’s Washington Pentagon reporter Thom
Shanker [currently "writer in residence" at CNAS!] in “clearing” McChrystal of any wrongdoing in the
Tillman case despite overwhelming evidence otherwise. In addition, I describe my interactions with
Senator Webb’s office and speculate at President Obama’s role in the Tillman case:

http://feralfirefighter.blogspot.com/2009/11/lies-borne-out-by-facts-if-...
Note: The “Appendices” material has not yet been posted to my website. Revised posting of the above
documents should be available later this week (too busy this weekend with the kids, work at the fire
station, etc.)

...

Sometimes silence is the best compliment.

However, after throwing down my gauntlet last week, I must admit that I am somewhat disappointed,
although not terribly surprised, that you have not deigned to respond to my comments on your post "On
Martial Virtue ... and Selling Jon Krakauer's Crappy New Book."

Perhaps you’ve got the good sense to remain silent after what DRONF termed "total slaughter."

But I expected a bit more fight from a scrappy East Tennessee redneck (not that I have anything against
rednecks; my Dad was born in the Mississippi hill country just south of Memphis and grew up in the
Delta. Your father and my Dad both attended Ole Miss).

I’d welcome your fact-checking prowess aimed in my direction. But please, stop with the off-the-cuff ad
hominum attacks on others such as Fisk, Hersh, and Krakauer . Take the timber out of your own eye
before casting stones at others.

Put up or shut up.

SGT, Co. “F” (Ranger) 425th, INF MI ARNG 1983 – 1991

...

Comment by Visitor on November 9, 2009 - 9:52am

"In this one, people told him a bunch of stuff, and him not wanting to make people feel bad, he went
ahead and printed all of it."

I'd watch your calling out of others here. Just how would you describe your relationship with General
McChrytal? Isn't it kinda the same as what you just criticzed Hersh for? You get money, media exposure
etc in exchange for parroting the military's line? Isn't that pretty similar to hearing "a bunch of stuff" and
"not wanting to make people feel bad" going "ahead and printing it?"

...

Comment by Visitor on November 9, 2009 - 10:02am


oh and could you cite some of the specific examples from the Hersh story that should have been fact-
checked? Kind of odd to accuse someone of poor journalistic standards without providing anything to
back it up

...

Comment by Visitor on November 10, 2009 - 1:29pm

.......I'm inclined to agree with you about Hersch's journalism but the same could be said of a lot of
journalism these days. He has his sources and they feed him lots of stuff some of it good and some less so.
It's seems to me that most of the media comment these days is slanted either with the aim of peddling
some sources line or just creating controversy. Hence caveat emptor. All journalism needs to be read with
a fair degree of scepticism although as it happens I consider Mayer a more than usually reliable source. As
others have pointed out if caveat emptor is required with many journalists it is doubly required with
yourself I fear. Do you really consider yourself in all good conscience an independant and objective
commentator on events in Afghanistan and Iraq. Cross your heart and hope to die.

...
Comment by glasnost on November 11, 2009 - 7:26am

Exum,

with all due respect, you shouldn't even post something like this without rather a lot more care to display
some evidence. It comes off as whiny, personal-conflict-driven baloney. Seymour Hersh - breaking
accurate news (about the program in general) that was rather important for the American people to know
and is by the way classified out the wazoo, making it impossible for *any* reporter to be sure if his details
are correct - happens to be misinformed that you may have been involved, and you think this kind of thing
represents any sort of systematic evaluation of the man's work?

You're embarrassing yourself, and demeaning your blog. Once upon a time, I sort of respected CNAS.. and
you. It's possible that Seymour Hersh's accuracy is falling below par. I'm not really sure. You certainly
haven't convinced me.

...

Comment by Visitor on November 11, 2009 - 8:08am

This post really was an embarassment. I mean who do you think you are? You have produced no
signifigant scholarship to note, have served one term in the Army, and are good at self-promition. You
come across as a total punk in these kinds of posts. You're getting the press that you're getting because
you've jumped on the war bandwagon and are in the right place at the right time to narrate what the
Military wants narrated to the general public. Don't assume its anything more than that. If I were you I
would quit the blog because its not doing anything for your reputation.
BLAME TO SPARE ON A BOOK REVIEW
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-
dyn/content/article/2009/11/13/AR2009111303346.html

By Andrew Alexander, Ombudsman


Sunday, November 15, 2009 Washington Post
A review in a major publication such as The Post can influence whether a new book sinks or
soars. So when Post book editors assign a review, they look for writers who are knowledgeable
and unbiased.
That impartiality is so important that The Post's contract with reviewers requires them to disclose
even the "possibility" of "an appearance of a conflict of interest."
But the no-conflict clause was violated recently, prompting a well-established author to charge
that partiality led to a negative review of his highly anticipated book.
Jon Krakauer's "Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman" tells the well-known story
of the pro football player who put his NFL career on hold after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, joined
the Army's 75th Ranger Regiment and died fighting in Afghanistan. Krakauer focuses heavily on
the military's original concealment that Tillman had been killed by friendly fire and suggests that
Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, now the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, was part
of a coverup.
To review the book, The Post chose Andrew M. Exum, a fellow with the Center for a New
American Security. He was familiar with Afghanistan, having twice served there as an Army
officer. His review appeared in the Sept. 13 Outlook section, about a month after he got the
assignment. It said Krakauer's book "falls flat." While not addressing McChrystal's role, Exum
concluded that "otherwise competent commanders" had made a "series of disastrous and
incomprehensibly stupid decisions" in failing to promptly reveal the true cause of Tillman's
death.
What was not disclosed in the review was that Exum has a close relationship with McChrystal,
whom he recently described in his blog as "one of the finest men I have ever known." In June
and July, he served as an unpaid civilian adviser to McChrystal in Afghanistan. While the Post
review noted that Exum had been a "civilian adviser" there this year, it didn't say he was advising
the general.
Krakauer is angry. He told me that because Exum is "enthralled" with McChrystal, he wrote a
"willfully deceptive" review that protected him.
Krakauer raised the issue with Book World editor Rachel Hartigan Shea, who investigated. Last
Monday she e-mailed Krakauer that Exum had acknowledged serving as "an unpaid adviser to
McChrystal over the summer. He should have disclosed this to us at the outset." In a correction
published Wednesday, The Post said the review should have mentioned the connection.
But Exum said his role with McChrystal was so obvious that he assumed Post book editors were
aware of it. He cited a July 31 Post front-page story in which he was identified as a member of
the "assessment team" making military strategy recommendations to McChrystal. And in the
weeks immediately before receiving the Post assignment, his advisory role had been noted in
numerous mainstream media stories or broadcast interviews.
Indeed, he said he believed the heavy media exposure was precisely why The Post asked him to
review the book. "It was all over the news that I had been in Afghanistan" advising McChrystal,
he said.
Shea said she is somewhat sympathetic to Exum's explanation. But she said she told Exum that
Post book editors assign reviews across a "broad range of subjects" and that they can't monitor
the "ins and outs of every field."
The small Book World staff -- three full-time editors and one who works part-time -- selects
from hundreds of titles each week and assigns about 900 book reviews annually. They rely
mostly on freelance reviewers.
Krakauer doesn't blame The Post's book editors. They're stretched and can't be experts in all
subjects. But I think they bear some responsibility. A routine database search before offering
Exum the assignment would have revealed his advisory role, which might have prompted
questions about his neutrality.
But I also think Exum deserves blame. The contract language is explicit. Despite media coverage
of his role in Afghanistan, the contract puts the onus on the reviewer to notify The Post if there is
an "appearance of a conflict of interest."
"We have to trust our reviewers," said Shea.
In the aftermath of the Krakauer blowup, Shea said extra measures are being taken to remind
reviewers of the contract language. In the future, there will be more forceful warnings about their
obligations to report conflicts. And Post editors will redouble efforts to detect them.
That's important. To be credible, Post book reviews need to be untainted.
Andrew Alexander can be reached at 202-334-7582 or at ombudsman@washpost.com. For daily
updates, read the Omblog.
...

11/16/2009 12:29:00 PM GuyMontag451 wrote:


“War is always about betrayal, betrayal of the young by the old, of idealists by cynics and of
troops by politicians."
--
Chris Hendges

Three years ago Kevin Tillman published his eloquent letter, “After Pat’s Birthday," on
truthdig.com:

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20091106_happy_birthday_pat_tillman/

Kevin wrote, “Somehow the same incompetent, narcissistic, virtueless, vacuous, malicious
criminals are still in charge of this country. ... Somehow this is tolerated. Somehow nobody is
accountable for this.”

Kevin had hoped a Democratic Congress would bring accountability. But, just as with
warrantless wiretapping and torture, those responsible for the cover-up of his brother’s fratricide
have not been held accountable by the Democratic Congress.

In his book, “Where Men Win Glory,” Jon Krakauer blamed the Bush administration. However,
the cover-up has been a thoroughly bipartisan affair. The Democratic Congress and the Obama
Presidency have protected General McChrystal from punishment for his central role in
orchestrating the cover-up.

Sometime after his April 2007 Tillman hearing, Congressman Waxman got the word the “fix”
was in, to lay off McChrystal. Shortly before his August 2007 Tillman hearing, McChrystal was
dropped from the list of witnesses and never interviewed despite his central role in the cover-up.

Senator James Webb conducted a secret “review” of McChrystal’s role. On May 15th 2008, the
Senate Armed Services Committee (headed by Levin and McCain) held a secret “executive
session” where McChrystal testified behind closed doors about his actions “in detail.” Shortly
afterwards, the Senate promoted him to Director of the Joint Staff.

On May 12th 2009, despite McChrystal’s role, President Obama handpicked McChrystal to be
his new commander of the Afghan War and for promotion to the Army’s highest rank. Ironically,
on the following day Obama gave the commencement address at Arizona State University inside
Sun Devil Stadium without once mentioning Pat Tillman! [Note: see Bob Young’s “Obama’s
Big-Time Fumble” (Arizona Republic 5-17-09].

After a pro forma June 2nd hearing by the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Senate
(begged to do so by Senator Reid) confirmed McChrystal’s promotion on June 10th.

It’s not surprising that after the initial fratricide cover-up fell apart, Army officers and the Bush
administration lied to protect their careers. Reprehensible, but understandable. But the
Democratic Congress, after they took control of both Houses in 2006, could have gone after
those responsible. Or at least not promoted them! Their hands are dirty as well with the betrayal
of Pat Tillman.

Five years ago, Pat Tillman’s family were handed a tarnished Silver Star. It was a travesty of
justice that McChrystal was promoted to the Army’s highest rank, and handed his fourth star.

...

Andrew Exum's review of Krakauer's book for the Washington Post also covered for
McChrystal. Yet, Andrew never mentioned his extensive personal and professional conflicts of
interests: he is a "fan" of McChrystal, worked with him closely during the past summer Afghan
War assessment, and he works for Nate Fick's [“Generation Kill” LT] Center for a New
American Security (CNAS)that meets with McChrystal weekly and is leading McChrystal's push
for the Afghan surge.

The media's been complicit as well. The New York Time's Thom Shanker wrote a May 26th
piece "clearing" McChrystal of all wrong-doing shortly before McChrystal's confirmation
hearing. Since then, Thom has enjoyed favorable access to McChrystal(so much for the NYT's
coverage without "fear or favor'!)

Ironically, Shanker is currently a "writer in residence" with Andrew Exum at CNAS! How cozy.

If you would like to learn more, take a look at the three documents posted at:

feralfirefighter.blogspot.com

...

11/16/2009 12:46:35 PM GuyMontag451 wrote:

Last week, Andrew Exum posted "He Who Shall Not Be Factchecked" on November 8th at his
Abu Muqawama blog tearing into Seymour Hersh's latest New Yorker article:
http://www.cnas.org/blogs/abumuqawama/2009/11/he-who-shall-not-be-fact-checked.html

Perhap's Exum was projecting a bit here? Accusing others of exactly what he does?

I've also added my bit in the Comment section, "calling out" Exum concerning his whitewash of
McChrystal's role in the Tillman case.

...

11/14/2009 3:36:54 PM sfoda wrote:

Exum's failure to disclose that he is in thrall to General McChrystal is a very serious breach of
journalistic ethics, not so much because it may have hurt Krakauer's book sales, but because it
appears to be a calculated effort on Exum's part to undermine Krakauer's credibility and subvert
his valid criticisms of a military leader who is the leading advocate for escalating the war in
Afghanistan. Exum wasn't merely "an unpaid adviser to McChrystal"--Exum was, and remains,
one of McChrystal's biggest cheerleaders. On Exum's blog he boasts that last summer
(immediately before he wrote his review of Krakauer's book) McChrystal "put up with my smart-
assery--often in enclosed spaces--for a whole month." In another blog post Exum crowed, "Stan
McChrystal is one of the finest men I have ever known, and I hope I have sons who serve under
men like him."

In his review of "Where Men Win Glory," Exum ignored the abundance of damning evidence
Krakauer presented about the Army's cover-up of the Tillman fratricide (and McChrystal's
leading role in the cover-up). Instead Exum tried to portray Krakauer as a nut-job conspiracy
theorist. For example, Exum's review states, "Incredibly, [Krakauer] tries to claim that [the
cascade of blunders that culminated in Tillman's death] was driven not by poor and independent
decision-making by field-grade officers but rather by Donald Rumsfeld's insistence on strict
timelines. '[The] sense of urgency attached to the mission,' Krakauer writes, 'came from little
more than a bureaucratic fixation on meeting arbitrary deadlines so missions could be checked
off a list and tallied as 'accomplished.' Ranger units are not ordered to meet deadlines arbitrarily.
They meet deadlines because the missions they execute--like airfield seizures or hostage
rescues--are extraordinarily complex operations."

Contrary to Exum's assertion above, however, the mission on which Tillman was killed wasn't an
airfield seizure or a hostage rescue, and Exum's review conveniently omits most of what
Krakauer actually wrote in the passage excerpted above: "During an investigation of Tillman’s
death seven months later, Brigadier General Gary Jones asked Alpha Company first sergeant
Thomas Fuller, 'I mean, what necessitated in this mission right here that they had to get down
there so quickly?'

'I don’t think there was anything,' Fuller testified under oath. 'I think that a lot of times at higher
[headquarters]—-maybe even, you know, higher than battalion [headquarters]—-they may make
a timeline, and then we just feel like we have to stick to that timeline. There’s no—-there’s no
intel driving it. There’s no—-you know, there’s no events driving it. It’s just a timeline, and we
feel like we have to stick with it; and that’s what drives that kind of stuff.' In other words, the
sense of urgency attached to the mission came from little more than a bureaucratic fixation on
meeting arbitrary deadlines so missions could be checked off a list and tallied as 'accomplished.'
This emphasis on quantification has always been a hallmark of the military, but it was carried to
new heights of fatuity during Donald Rumsfeld’s tenure at the Pentagon."

There isn't space here to catalog all the ways in which Exum's review is intentionally misleading.
To understand why Exum slammed this book, I would urge everyone to read an Op-Ed Krakauer
wrote in The Daily Beast last month, titled "Gen. McChrystal's Credibility Problem".
http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2009-10-14/gen-mcchrystals-credibility-
problem

...

11/15/2009 2:06:15 PM Itzajob wrote:

Why doesn't the Post simply have the book re-reviewed? It would seem the fair thing to do, and
given the controversy, people would surely be interested in reading a new article, so scarce
budgetary resources would not have been wasted.
Public Service Announcement
http://www.cnas.org/blogs/abumuqawama/2009/11/public-service-announcement.html

November 23, 2009 | Posted by Abu Muqawama - 7:15pm | 177 Comments

Allow me to re-introduce myself: My name is Andrew Exum, and I have edited and authored the "Abu
Muqawama" blog since February 2007. After much deliberation and consultation, I have decided to stop
daily blogging. I owe it to the readership to explain both why and also how it will affect this site.

First off, I have steadily grown dissatisfied with blogging as a medium since returning fulltime in
December of last year. The best bloggers I know -- the ones I read and enjoy, like Spencer Ackerman,
Tom Ricks and Andrew Sullivan -- are either also journalists or started out as journalists. They are
much better at offering on-the-spot commentary and analysis on the events of the day. My friend and boss
Nate Fick, meanwhile, accurately described me last week as being someone who enjoys taking a more
deliberate approach and digging deep down into an issue before offering comment. Blogging forces me
into more or less split-second reactions to complicated policy events before I have had the opportunity to
research and weigh opposing views. In addition, the AD/HD nature of this medium -- as well as its format
-- has harmed both my research abilities as well as my ability to write in the long form. Blogging, like any
medium, is one you get better at with practice. As I have become a better blogger, my long-form writing
skills have atrophied.

Second, since starting at CNAS and taking up a more public profile, I have grown concerned over the
reaction to my blogging and public commentary. A few months ago, Lady Muqawama, after reading one of
the comments threads here, asked me, half joking and half serious, "Are you going to be assassinated?"
And when I had my phone turned off today for a CNAS offsite event, I turned it back on to a text message
from her asking if I had been kidnapped by a disgruntled reader. (Again, only half joking.) I know that
sounds ridiculous, but unlike me, my girlfriend and my mother read all the comments on this site, and
they also read posts on the internet like this one. Sorry, but this is simply no longer worth it. I may have
a certain talent for writing clever 200-word blog posts and offering sound bites on television, but I enjoy
neither doing so nor the effects of doing so. In my heart, I would much rather do research, read more
books, play more rugby and take on a more active role in my community than be some public figure
sprinting from television interview to radio spot, twittering in the cab along the way.

So how will this blog change? First off, let me tell you how it will stay the same. This blog will remain an
active website hosted by CNAS, and it will remain a home for Londonstani's awesome field reports from
such dangerous places as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and the ends of the Victoria Line.
Second, I aim to use this blog in a different way than I have so far done. I look to friends like Marc
Lynch and Reidar Visser and admire the way they use their blogs to highlight ongoing academic and
policy research. I aim to do the same, which means you can expect me to post far less often but in a more
considered way.
I want to thank the loyal readership for all its support. I treasure the community of people who read this
blog, offer non-crazed commentary, and have reached out to become friends and drinking partners. I
appreciate your continued support and hope you stay in touch.

...

Comment by b on November 24, 2009 - 5:00am

Shorter Exum:

Look, I seem to have problems to stay on the officially demanded message whenever I spontaneously blog
about some current development or event.

My boss told me to either quit publishing my real off-message thoughts or to quit the job at CNAS.

Me and my family do prefer the money over publishing my spontaneous opinion.

Therefore I'll quit blogging.

...

Comment by Deus Ex on November 23, 2009 - 10:26pm

Anyone else find it mildly funny that some random internet pussy's obscure threats have gotten to an
Army Ranger who has deployed, fought, and has earned his CIB?

...

Comment by Abu Muqawama on November 23, 2009 - 10:37pm

Hey, thanks, gang, for the comments. (And that is an amazing Gloria Gaynor clip.) If I can clear one thing
up, though, it's that people have been trying to kill me since 2002 to little effect. I just hate my family
being exposed to the ridiculousness out there on the interwebs.

...
Comment by Charlieford on November 28, 2009 - 12:53am

Oh, good grief. What's the saying? "Man-up"?

...

Censored Comment by GUY MONTAG (attempted posting about November 23, 2009 about
11:30 pm. Pending moderation, then screen name & IP blocked from commenting even
under “Visitor”):

“I have decided to stop daily blogging. I owe it to the readership to explain … First off, I have steadily
grown dissatisfied with blogging as a medium … Blogging forces me into more or less split-second
reactions to complicated policy events before I have had the opportunity to research and weigh opposing
views. … My friend and boss Nate Fick, described me last week as being someone who enjoys taking a
more deliberate approach and digging deep down into an issue before offering comment. … Second, since
starting at CNAS and taking up a more public profile, I have grown concerned over the reaction to my
blogging and public commentary. … I may have a certain talent for writing clever 200-word blog posts
and offering sound bites on television, but I enjoy neither doing so nor the effects of doing so.” … A few
months ago, Lady Muqawama, after reading one of the comments threads here, asked me, half joking and
half serious, "Are you going to be assassinated?"

...

Andrew Exum,

I believe you’ve neglected to tell your readers the principle reason for your decision to stop blogging and
to cut out your television appearances.

Reading between the lines, I believe your biased review of Jon Krakauer’s book about Pat Tillman and
some of your off-the-cuff postings have caused a bit of embarrassment for CNAS. That your boss and
friend Nate Fick (“#42") decided that it was best that you lay low, reduce your public profile. Besides, for
good or ill, you’ve already done your part to help set McChrytal’s Afghan “surge” into motion.

In particular, the Washington Post’s Ombudsman, Andrew Alexander, recently wrote in a column “Blame
to Spare on a Book Review’ (11-15-09): “Krakauer is angry. He told me that because Exum is ‘enthralled’
with McChrystal, he wrote a "willfully deceptive" review that protected him. … I also think Exum deserves
blame. The contract language is explicit. Despite media coverage of his role in Afghanistan, the contract
puts the onus on the reviewer to notify The Post if there is an "appearance of a conflict of interest."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/13/AR2009111303346.html

As I pointed out previously in my lengthy comments to your November 2nd post, “On Martial Virtue ...
and Selling Jon Krakauer's Crappy New Book” (and your November 9th Post, “He Who Shall Not Be Fact
Checked) you’ve got more than the “appearance of a conflict of interest” when it comes to General
McChrystal. You neglected to mention General McChrystal’s key role in the cover-up of the Pat Tillman
fratricide or disclose your close personal and professional ties with him. As one blogger commented,
“Phew, talk about a man crush. … the normally witty and sarcastic Abu Muqawama has turned into a
walking billboard for Gen. McChrystal"):

http://www.cnas.org/blogs/abumuqawama/2009/11/martial-virtue-and-selling-jon-krakauers-crappy-
new-book.html

http://www.cnas.org/blogs/abumuqawama/2009/11/he-who-shall-not-be-fact-checked.html

I had assumed you and CNAS were part of the bipartisan “conspiracy” protecting General McChrystal.
That you had written your book review to whitewash General McChrystal’s central role in orchestrating
the cover-up of Pat Tillman’s fratricide. But perhaps you were merely woefully ignorant of the most
basic facts of the Tillman case. Despite your assertion that McChrystal was “probably the least culpable
guy in Tillman's chain of command” the evidence is overwhelming that McChrystal played a key role in
the cover-up of Tillman’s fratricide.

For example, take a look at “Where Men Win Glory – Andrew Exum, CNAS, and the Whitewash of
General McChrystal’s Role in the Cover-Up of Pat Tillman’s Fratricide”:

http://feralfirefighter.blogspot.com/2009/11/men-win-glory-andrew-exum-center-for.html

(my apologies, much of the supporting Appendices documents have not yet been posted)
...

Why am I picking on you? Well, I’ve got no personal beef with you (I enjoyed reading your book, your
account of Ranger School, and you sound like you were once a “squared away” LT). But, I’ve obviously
taken the Pat Tillman story to heart. Your biased review of Krakauer’s book covering General
McChrystal's ass didn’t exactly endear yourself to me! You just happened to be the last in the bipartisan
line of Washington figures who have betrayed the memory of Pat Tillman.

...

Three years ago Kevin Tillman wrote in his eloquent letter, “After Pat’s Birthday": “Somehow the same
incompetent, narcissistic, virtueless, vacuous, malicious criminals are still in charge of this country. ...
Somehow this is tolerated. Somehow nobody is accountable for this.”

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20091106_happy_birthday_pat_tillman/

Kevin had hoped the 2006 election of a Democratic Congress would bring accountability. But, just as
with warrantless wiretapping and torture, those responsible for the cover-up of his brother’s fratricide
have not been held accountable by the Democratic Congress.

In his book, “Where Men Win Glory,” Jon Krakauer blamed the Bush administration. However, the cover-
up has been a thoroughly bipartisan affair. The Democratic Congress and the Obama Presidency have
protected General McChrystal from punishment for his central role in orchestrating the cover-up:

http://feralfirefighter.blogspot.com/2009/11/did-they-teach-you-how-to-lie-yet_06.html

Sometime after his April 2007 Tillman hearing, Congressman Henry Waxman got the word the “fix” was
in, to lay off McChrystal. Shortly before his August 2007 Tillman hearing, McChrystal was dropped from
the list of witnesses and never interviewed despite his central role in the cover-up.

Senator James Webb conducted a secret “review” of McChrystal’s role. On May 15th 2008, the Senate
Armed Services Committee (headed by Levin and McCain) held a secret “executive session” where
McChrystal testified behind closed doors about his actions “in detail.” Shortly afterwards, the Senate
promoted him to Director of the Joint Staff.

On May 12th 2009, despite McChrystal’s role, President Obama handpicked McChrystal to be his new
commander of the Afghan War and for promotion to the Army’s highest rank. Ironically, on the following
day Obama gave the commencement address at Arizona State University inside Sun Devil Stadium
without once mentioning Pat Tillman! [Note: see Bob Young’s “Obama’s Big-Time Fumble” (Arizona
Republic 5-17-09].

After a pro forma June 2nd hearing by the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Senate (begged to do so
by Senator Reid) confirmed McChrystal’s promotion on June 10th.

It’s not surprising that after the initial fratricide cover-up fell apart, Army officers and the Bush
administration lied to protect their careers. Reprehensible, but understandable. But the Democratic
Congress, after they took control of both Houses in 2006, could have gone after those responsible. Or at
least not promoted them!

The media's been complicit as well. The New York Time's Pentagon Reporter Thom Shanker wrote a May
26th piece "clearing" McChrystal of all wrong-doing shortly before McChrystal's confirmation hearing.
Since then, Thom has enjoyed favorable access to McChrystal (so much for the NYT's coverage without
"fear or favor'!) Ironically, Thom Shanker is currently a "writer in residence" with you at CNAS!

http://feralfirefighter.blogspot.com/2009/11/lies-borne-out-by-facts-if-not-truth.html

...
Well, it’s finally quieted down at my fire station, allowing me to finish my comment. I’ve tried to keep my
commentary on the “non-crazed” side. Just stop writing any more garbage about Pat Tillman and
General McChrystal.

Best of luck with your post-blog life.

Sincerely,

Guy Montag, SSGT Co. “F” (Ranger) 425th INF MI ARNG 1983 – 1991

...

Comment by Visitor [GUY MONTAG] on November 24, 2009 - 8:36am

Andrew Exum,

I'm disappointed you've blocked the comment I tried to post last night. Although I have been critical of
your role in covering for General McChrystal's handling of the aftermath of Pat Tillman's death, I don't
think my commentary has ever fallen into the category of "crazed."

You haven't fully disclosed to your readers a primary reason for your decision to stop blogging and to cut
out your television appearances. Reading between the lines, I believe your biased review of Jon Krakauer’s
book about Pat Tillman and some of your off-the-cuff postings have caused a bit of embarrassment for
CNAS (e.g. the Washington Post’s Ombudsman Andrew Alexander wrote his 11-15-09 column “Blame to
Spare on a Book Review’). I believe your boss and friend Nate Fick (“#42’) decided that it was best that
you lay low, reduce your public profile. Besides, for good or ill, you’ve already done your part to help set
McChrytal’s Afghan “surge” into motion.

But, your readers can judge for themselves. I've posted my full response to your post and more info. at:

http://feralfirefighter.blogspot.com

Sincerely,

Guy Montag SSGT Co. "F" (Ranger) 425th INF MI ARNG 1983 – 1991

...

Comment by Fnord on November 24, 2009 - 11:07am

Guy Montag: Once you start using language like "I had assumed you and CNAS were part of the bipartisan
“conspiracy” protecting General McChrystal. That you had written your book review to whitewash General
McChrystal’s central role in orchestrating the cover-up of Pat Tillman’s fratricide." then you are getting
into some serious shit. Its the fine line between accepting that shit happens in combat and sometimes the
higher ups screw the publicity (of wich McChrystal was partly guilty) and "fratricide", wich is a willful act
of killing.
Personally I think Jessica Lynch was much worse when it comes to screwed up IO, but hey. Attacking
Exum for being loyal to his mentor years down the line I think i sdishonest. It betrays that you have a very
narrow focus, and thats a bit crazed.
Comment by Visitor on November 24, 2009 - 7:49pm

Indeed, the regular blogging will be missed. But yeah, the crazies--that's you mr montag--do seem drawn
like moths to a flame

...

Comment by Visitor on November 24, 2009 - 11:12am

Montag's obsession with Fick and Exum is really, really odd.

...

Comment by Visitor on November 29, 2009 - 3:20am

It seems that the comments here are being edited because I posted this comment before and it was
delated. But let's not exaggarate the extent that the criticisms of Exum were coming from crazies. If we
made a list of all those who criticized the CNAS COIN agenda, it would include a whole lot of people. So
for every one wierdo, there have been ten or so that have put their name on paper criticizing the
COINdanistas and to some extent Exum personally.

...
Comment by Visitor [GUY MONTAG] on November 24, 2009 - 6:44pm

@Fnord: When I refered to "fratricide," I was merely using another word for "friendly fire."

I didn't mean to suggest that anyone intentionally killed Pat Tillman. If anyone bothers to take a look at
the evidence, it rapidly becomes clear that it was an accidental shooting (although perhaps a criminally
negligent loss of fire discipline). Besides Tillman, the humvee crew killed the attached Afghan, hit the LT
in the mouth, the RO in the knee, and luckily missed the rest of the Ranger squad on the hillside).

Some have pointed out that Tillman died from three 5.56 to the head and conclude that he must of been
shot at close range. The mystery disappears when you read that the fatal burst came from a SAW gunner
at 35 meters (with a cyclic rate of what, 600 to 800 rounds per minute?). Some of the rounds caught him
in the chest, three in the head.

See Stan Goff''s "Fog of Fame" series at counterpunch.com for more on this topic. Stan was a 173rd
Vietnam vet, Delta, Rangers, Special Forces for 20 years. (He was part of the cluster at Grenada with Delta
and just missed "Black Hawk Down" because CPT Steele fired him as the attached SF medic to his
company; Steele confused him with the Delta boys that pissed him off).

I've finally posted the Appendices to my document "Did They Teach You How to Lie Yet?" -- Senator
Webb, General McChrystal, and the Betrayal of Pat Tillman”. If you what to take a look at original
testimony, a discussion of the Silver Star award, etc. it's there now at feralfirefighter.blogspot.com (not to
be confused with Stan Goff's feralscholar.org). My apologies for the delay in getting it posted.

-- Guy Montag P.S. Not posting with screen name. Since last night, Andrew Exum has blocked my screen
name and computer IP numbers from access to commenting on this post. I'm running out of computers to
access!
...

Comment by Bateman on November 25, 2009 - 11:13am

ALCON,

As somebody who, periodically, imbibes immoderate amounts with Ex, and as a writer, I'll add a
postscript.

Writing is like painting.

Yea, I know, sounds lame. But bear with me.

A person who works in watercolor, another who works in acrylics, and a third who uses oils, are all called
"painters." Yes? So too are those who write Op-Eds, magazine/journal articles, and books all called
"writers." But consider the painting for a moment.

The skills, techniques, and approaches used by a watercolor artist are vastly different from those used by
an artist who works in oils. The former is immediate, their strokes cannot be retrieved nor obscured, and
their lightest touch upon the paper spreads; they produce in hours. These are the skills of the Op-Ed or
blogger. The oil-paint artist, like the book author, may consider, hesitate, cover mistakes, and works over
the course of weeks, months, or even years, until they understand the subject and believe they have
captured the core. These differences may seem remote from Exum's point, but as an author (and a
painter, however lame) I would note for everyone that Exum is right about his inner concerns about
writing.

Skills atrophy. We all know that. My marksmanship fades with every month I spend quartered safe. My
previously acute sense of paranoia (useful in Baghdad) withers here in DC. (Well, mostly. I live in SE. That
keeps some parts sharp.) So too does the ability to write in different formats. Exum, exceedingly mature
for his age despite the fact that he owes me a bottle of good scotch, recognized that fact and is working to
rectify the issue. We should be thankful.

Not tomorrow, nor even five or ten years from now, but in decades to come all of us who have interacted
with him will be thankful that he took this route towards deeper thought. Particularly since I expect that
come 2032, when President Fick announces his Cabinet, Andrew Exum will be filling one of those chairs.

Bob Bateman

...
Abu Muqawama Sells Out! (UPDATED)
http:/www.cnas.org/blogs/abumuqawama/2009/12/abu-muqawama-sells-out.html

December 3, 2009 | Posted by Abu Muqawama - 11:04pm | 53 Comments

Oh, for goodness sake. Nathan Hodge starts by asking some fair questions about where defense
and foreign policy think tanks get their money. (And has a kind word or two for this blogger. Back at you,
Danger Room!) But Matthew Yglesias takes things a step too far. If he thinks this blogger -- or
anyone else advocating the U.S. military take population-centric counterinsurgency more seriously -- is
in the pocket of the military-industrial complex, he does not understand the acquisitions implications of
an institutional move toward COIN, a form of warfare in which expensive weapons platforms like the F-22
have little utility.

On the other hand, I guess this is good news. After being accused of being a Luddite for the past three
years, I must be doing something right if people are now tying me and my opinions to large defense
contractors. I think you're going to have a very tough time, though, arguing that those making the case for
a fundamentally low-tech COIN campaign in Afghanistan are carrying water for Boeing, Lockheed Martin,
& Co. I very much doubt big defense corporations are charmed by this researcher saying things like
language and cultural training matter as much as or more than the latest and greatest piece of military
hardware.

I think this is another case of "they disagree with me on policy, therefore they must be intellectually
dishonest". Or, hey, maybe we instead have a different set of assumptions, educations and experiences
which lead us toward different conclusions. Maybe. (I'm just going to throw that out there as a
possibility.) Anyway, I would ponder this question more but have to first go hop in the bathtub filled with
gold Krugerrands donated to me by General Dynamics in thanks for my service to the evil military
industrial complex.

Or, instead, I'm about to take the metro home to southeast DC. One of the two.

Update: Yglesias writes in.

I feel like you've engaged in a really egregious misreading of my post. I don't understand how you read the
observation that "Even if you assume that nobody in the system is corrupt or dishonest, the system itself contains a
systematic bias in favor of military action and against counsels of restraint" as an accusation of intellectual
dishonesty. I also don't know why you read the post as specifically about advocates of population-centric
counterinsurgency. At any rate, it's certainly true that spending $600 billion per anum on a military organized around
COIN is less profitable for defense contractors than is spending $600 billion per anum on a military organized around
heavy weapons systems. But my post was about a systematic bias in favor of military activism, rather than a foreign
policy of restraint, which would be cheaper than either.
I think the headline hacked me off more than anything else, to which Yglesias replied, "Attention-
grabbing headlines are perhaps not always the best way to make a point about a complicated issue."
Anyway, I'm probably being too sensitive. But I should point out that a) CNAS makes the names of its
corporate donors public, b) CNAS has over 100 donors and c) no single one of those donors contributes
more than 5% of our budget. (And d), donors don't have editorial control. Obviously.)

...

Selected Comments to “Abu Maqawama Sells Out!”:

Comment by Visitor [GUY MONTAG] on December 4, 2009 - 11:01pm:

Mr. Exum wrote: "I think this is another case of "they disagree with me on policy, therefore they must be
intellectually dishonest. Or, hey, maybe we instead have a different set of assumptions, educations and
experiences which lead us toward different conclusions."

It would be nice if Mr. Exum would actually extend that courtesy to others. Before his short "retirement"
from blogging, he has been quick to hurl ad hominum attacks instead of addressing the merits of
arguments with which he disagrees.

A couple of recent examples:

"He Who Shall Not Be Fact-Checked" (Nov. 9th):

“My theory is that [Seymour] Hersh's journalism is a little like a 12-gauge shotgun. He just lets it go, and
something is bound to hit the target. ... such is his reputation that people only remember the articles of his
that actually exposed something new and none of the articles that, in retrospect, turned out to be just
crazy talk.”

"On Martial Virtue ... and Selling Jon Krakauer's Crappy New Book" (Nov. 2nd):

"A few months ago, I was asked to review Jon Krakauer's new book by the Washington Post… Alas, the
book was awful. I mean, it was really bad. … So Krakauer wrote a crappy book, and now he has to market
it. And how is he doing that? By going after Stan McChrystal, who is probably the least culpable guy in
Tillman's chain of command for any of the stupid things that happened in the aftermath of his death. … in
the eyes of Krakauer and on the fringes of the American left, soldiers are either victims of circumstance or
war criminals in waiting.… Stan McChrystal is one of the finest men I have ever known, and I hope I have
sons who serve under men like him.”

Previously, I've addressed Mr. Exum's close personal and professional ties with General McChrystal and
McChrystal's culpability (as well as that of Senator Webb, NYT Thom Shanker, etc.) in the Tillman case at
feralfirefighter.blogspot.com. I believe Mr. Exum is either woefully ignorant of the most basic facts
of the Tillman story or is awfully good at feigning self-righteous anger.

Quite possibly, Mr. Exum believes his own BS. As the saying goes, "It is difficult to get a man to
understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."

...
Comment by Adrian on December 4, 2009 - 7:44am:
Exum, you misread Yglesias's post. What he's saying is that "smart honest people" who sincerely hold
opinions that defense contractors like will get funding, and thus end up with a louder voice than "smart
honest people" who hold opinions that are inconvenient for defense contractors. He is not accusing you of
being a shill, he's saying that you likely have a larger impact on defense policy debates because of the
systemic bias in favor of defense policies that make people money.

...

Comment by IRR Soldier ... on December 3, 2009 - 11:32pm:

Nice strawman, but you miss the fact that the large defense contracting firms have diversified their
portfolios into service contracting and, yes, language training, consulting and translation services. I know
that you know this. To pretend otherwise is disingenuous.

Make no mistakes, the corporations you name are quite savvy and know where the gravy will be in the
short, mid and long term. You know damn well that both Boeing and Lockheed are doing a hell of a lot
more than building airplanes. Hell, Lockheed has service contracts throughout the government providing
training services, logistics and HR support.

Again, nice dodge. Now that we have demolished your strawman, please address Yglesias' question: do
you recieve any funding from said firms?

...

Comment by ajay on December 4, 2009 - 6:06am:

"think this is another case of "they disagree with me on policy, therefore they must be intellectually
dishonest". Or, hey, maybe we instead have a different set of assumptions, educations and experiences
which lead us toward different conclusions"

Actually, AM, I think the point is not that CNAS, or you, or anyone else is being dishonest - just that
defence companies are going to prefer to support people and organisations which are arguing (sincerely or
otherwise) for an aggressive foreign policy. If CNAS started saying "we should cut the Navy in half, turn
the Army into an all-reserve force and scrap the SSN fleet" I think it's safe to say that the funding from
defence companies might well dry up. So there's an institutional bias: people who sincerely believe in an
aggressive policy will get the money; people who don't won't.

And while it's true that a COIN-focussed army isn't necessarily hardware-heavy, it is one that can,
theoretically, stay in Afghan for years to come - if CNAS didn't believe COIN was possible, the logical
consequence would be that it would be arguing for withdrawal from Afghan (or at least significant
drawdown).
...

Comment by abu obama on December 4, 2009 - 1:18pm:

abu muqawama, why are you still here? this post would seem to go against everything you said in your
quasi-retirement post from November 23. it's way one or the other. you're either gone or you're still here.
which is it?
WOE IS ME................. my name is andrew exum. my life is so hard. nobody likes me.........

McChrystal/Eikenberry Testimony Today

December 8, 2009 | Posted by Abu Muqawama - 2:55pm | 7 Comments:

Here you go...

[scribd pdf of General McChrystal’s 12-08-09 statement before House Armed Services
Committee]

[scribd pdf of Ambassador Karl Eikenberry 12-08-09 statement before House Armed Services
Committee]

...

Comment by Guy Montag:

@Abu Muqawama:

Here you go . . .

for your reading pleasure, I’ve recently posted more at http://feralfirefighter.blogspot.com/

First, there’s an updated version of my “Where Men Win Glory” -- Andrew Exum, the Center
for a New American Security (CNAS), and the Whitewash of General McChrystal’s Role in the
Cover-Up of Pat Tillman’s Fratricide.”

Second, I’ve posted three of my 2008 Pat Tillman documents:

“Remember the Iconoclast, Not the Icon” – Pat Tillman 1976 – 2004 (links to some of the best
introductory articles to the Tillman story)

“Battle for the Truth” – Iddo Netanyahu, Kevin Tillman, and the Cover-Up of Their Brother’s
Death (Discusses parallels between Yoni Netanyahu [brother of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu, who died at 1976 Raid on Entebbe] and Pat Tillman)
“A Sense of Honor” – Senator James Webb and Pat Tillman (“matchmaking” letters trying to get
Senator Webb to help out Mary Tillman and her family).

Guy Montag, M.F.L.F.