October 1st, 2009
04:15 PM ET
5 years ago

'Humility' needed in Afghanistan, commander says

Gen. Stanley McChrystal said he discounts those who simplify the difficulties faced in Afghanistan.
Gen. Stanley McChrystal said he discounts those who simplify the difficulties faced in Afghanistan.

(CNN) – The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan said Thursday the coalition in the war-torn country is going to have to do things "dramatically differently, even uncomfortably differently" in order to succeed.

"We must operate and think in a fundamentally new way," Gen. Stanley McChrystal said in a speech at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a British think thank. He stressed the importance of connecting with the Afghan people, who he said are "frustrated" that more has not been accomplished in the nearly 8-year-old war.

McChrystal said he discounts immediately those who simplify the problem or offer a solution "because they absolutely have no clue about the complexity of what we are dealing with."

McChrystal arrived in Afghanistan in 2002. In June, he replaced Gen. David McKiernan as the top commander in the region. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said at the time that a "new leadership and fresh eyes" were needed.

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soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Stacie

    I'm glad to see all the experts working hard to get the right solution to the very complex problem. The last thing we want to do is commit our men and women to a doomed and poorly planned mission. I want them to examine every possibility before they send more of our sons and daughters to this very dangerous place.

    October 1, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  2. Jane White

    YES! And connecting with the Afghan people means bringing on enough translators to speak their language, no matter their race, gender, or sexual persuasion!

    We blew it in Iraq by dismissing gay men and women in the military – dozens of whom were fluent in Arabic and who could have helped us win the Iraqis' hearts and minds at a critical time.

    We need experts who speak Pashti and other languages native to Afghanistan. We need experts who have lived among the Afghan people, and who are able to connect with the villagers.

    Let's add that critical dimension to our operation this time!

    October 1, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  3. Dan

    'Humility' NOT needed in Iraq, Idiot Bush said.

    October 1, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  4. No More Incumbents

    What's so complicated about getting the troops out of harms way and leaving the terrorist hunting to Predators and cruise missles?

    October 1, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  5. Carlos

    Unfortunately we don't have anybody in the W.H. smart enough to listen to General McChrystal.

    October 1, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  6. The Lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    End this war, no more wars for corportate profit! bring our troops home now!

    October 1, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  7. CONCERNED CITIZEN

    These Afghani's HAVE to take up the initiative and get their own house in order. We can't be there policing them forever. Their wars are their own problems and go way back in time. Get a grip on things. We need our people ( soldiers) to secure our own country and to only ( help) out other deserving nations in times of need. We SHOULD NOT be in these war torn countries getting our young men killed just so they can continue their primative behavoir. Our society has evolved to a point that every one wants to come here BUT they only want to TAKE from us NOT really be a part of WHAT we worked hard to become. They see the {frosting on the cake but don't care about the work involved in making it.}. These "undeveloped" countries will ALWAYS be – undeveloped and backwards.

    October 1, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |