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BLITZER'S BLOG: Fired for telling the truth
November 7th, 2011
01:24 PM ET

BLITZER'S BLOG: Fired for telling the truth

By CNN's Wolf Blitzer

(CNN) - Maj. Gen. Peter Fuller has served in the U.S. Army for more than 30 years. He rose through the ranks to become a two-star general. He often risked his life in battle for the United States. Most recently, he’s been in the war zone, serving as the deputy commander of the American-led NATO mission to train and equip Afghan forces. In short, he’s a real military hero.

But it deeply saddens me to learn that Gen. John Allen, the U.S. commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, has effectively fired Fuller for telling the American people the truth.

In an interview the other day with Politico, Fuller called key elements of the Afghan government “isolated from reality,” which is true.

He said that many of the Afghan leaders don’t appreciate America’s sacrifice for their nation, which is also true.

And referring to Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s recent statement that he would side with Pakistan if there were ever a war between Pakistan and the United States, Fuller said Karzai’s comments were “erratic.”

Fuller said: “Why don’t you just poke me in the eye with a needle! You’ve got to be kidding me. … I’m sorry, we just gave you $11.6 billion, and now you’re telling me, ‘I don’t really care’?”

In announcing that Fuller has been relieved of his duties, Allen said: “These unfortunate comments are neither indicative of our current solid relationship with the government of Afghanistan, its leadership or our joint commitment to prevail here in Afghanistan.”

Allen added: “The Afghan people are an honorable people, and comments such as these will not keep us from accomplishing our most critical and shared mission: bringing about a stable, peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan.”

Fuller’s comments were clearly undiplomatic and blunt, but they were true.

For more than 10 years, the U.S. has sacrificed blood and treasure to liberate Afghanistan from the Taliban and al Qaeda. But Karzai has often made erratic statements that seem so out of touch with reality.

U.S. taxpayers are still spending roughly $2 billion a week to maintain 100,000 troops in Afghanistan for at least another three years. That’s more than $100 billion a year – money that could be used to reduce America’s deficit or for other purposes at home.

The fact that an American war hero is fired for telling the truth to the American people is shocking.

I know that Allen is an honorable man. He made a major mistake and should move quickly to fix it.

RELATED STORY: U.S. general relieved of duty for disparaging Afghan government

Post by:
Filed under: Afghanistan • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (458 Responses)
  1. Pat

    It seems that every high ranking official that trys to tell the truth about the waste of money and lives in Afghanistan gets fried. Those people don't give a crap about democracy. We should pull everyone out right now and let them go back to living in the stone age. When we do leave in two years that is what's going to happen anyway.

    December 29, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
  2. Nelle Mckeague

    Great post. Keep it up.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:16 am |
  3. Michael Lester

    I believe that Maj. Gen. Peter Fuller is a prime example of a true patriot, and I think that it was a crying shame that he was fired for only speaking the truth.

    November 10, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
    • Herman King

      Telling the truth is wrong in this Orwellian world we live in.

      February 15, 2012 at 10:27 am |
  4. Cindy

    Please make certain that General Fuller knows his sacrifice is not in vain. He told the truth and is to be commended for this, not relieved of command. Thank you General Fuller.

    November 9, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  5. Allen

    The truth will set your free – apparently in the form of a forced retirement – he can join Army Gen. John Shalikashvili. He also told the truth to the Bush adminstration and got canned.

    November 8, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • mike in mich

      This is a shame. most people are so tired of listening to these other countries bad mouthing the UNITED STATES then when somebody has the courage to tell us whats really going on he gets kicked out to pasture.General Fuller thank you for your service. If president obama dosent do something to correct this injustice,only thing i can say about the election would be he would not get my vote, still undecided at this point,could be a factor for me

      November 9, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
  6. Aroundwego

    I'm very disappointed in Maj. Gen. Peter Fuller for taking the course of action he did. He should have followed the same path as some of his peers. Why try to be honest, help our country and enlighten Nobodys like me.
    Follow the American Dream, retire, start your own buisness, a private security company working for The US, sucking up taxpayers dollars, write a book. I tip my hat to you Maj. Gen. Peter Fuller , God Bless You.

    November 8, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  7. Tracy Brown

    I think Gen. John Allen should be fired and not Maj. Gen. Peter Fuller. Fuller was telling the honest truth in which 95% of the US forces know it's true. When your commander is stupid enough not to listen to the comments coming from President Hamid Karzai’s statements he must be a blind fool!!!!! President Obama, please do what is right and relieve John Allen of his duties because undoubtably he's been drinking too much of the Afghan kool aid and reinstate Fuller

    November 8, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
  8. Marry

    Maj. Gen. Peter Fuller has had a very demanding, dangerous job. Working at it for a long time and seeing every day that it just “does not work” and being responsible for the safety of many must have been a great load on his shoulders and his conscience. No wonder he finally spoke!
    Of cause, he tells the truth. What he said is known for a long time! By every one! What is lacking is drawing the right conclusions out of the mess in Afghanistan.
    Considering the money spend, every one of the Thirty million Afghans should have their own house, be educated, have medical services and work. Where did all the money and the effort of many go? I guess the “middle age” cannot be driven out with money after all!

    November 8, 2011 at 2:30 am |
  9. Patrick Lynch

    $2 billion dollars a week. That is the real reason for this war. Follow the money. General Fuller was pointing out the obvious. There are so many american companies making money off this FUBAR situation. Somebody gets up and speaks the truth and their money is threatened. Gone in 60 seconds. Somebody please tell me why we are fighting in a country that hates outsiders, already financially destroyed Russia with the same endless war 30 years ago, is completely corrupt (39 years of superpowers invading will do that), and publicly flaunts working with Pakistan. There is only one reason to fighting a insurgent war 12,000 miles away for 10 years. Because a lot of people are making a lot of money of it. And every time someone in the military points out the emperor has no clothes.....gone. Mean while, 50 million Americans are below the poverty line. FUBAR over there and FUBAR over here.

    November 8, 2011 at 12:59 am |
  10. Kim M Hunter

    I am ashamed that our two star general lost his post due to a pack of canards coming from Gen. Allen. Is it no longer possible to tell the truth to the American people? Maybe that is what has come about. No wonder the American people rarely trust any part of our government nor from the military. The truth was shredded away years ago in a place called Viet Nam. And it has been on the run ever since. I recall another fine Gen. not too long ago who was nearly canned because he, too, told the truth. A front line Gen. And what happend to the Capt. of the Enterprise Air craft carrier? The navy needs every man who can command a nuclear powered ship. Those kind of people are like diamonds in a coal field. The Navy put him behind a desk job, where he remaains as far as I know. What a waste of a man and the waste of the Navy. And the truth has been chopped up in little pieces. Better get rid of Gen. Allen too, since he might stubble on the truth and say it without knowing it.

    November 7, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
  11. Bkny360

    We learnt nothing from the Russians fighting there in the 80's. We should never go there in the first place. The general Fuller is a rare breed of a guy with real balls. Wished we had more of those in our government!

    November 7, 2011 at 8:28 pm |
    • Junius Gallio

      > Wished we had more of those in our government!

      Excuse me, but being in the military is not being "in our government." Indeed, if I'm not mistaken, active-duty military personnel are not allowed to be in elected office.

      November 8, 2011 at 7:51 pm |
      • Megapril

        Of course the military is part of our government... Hello, their boss is the POTUS! And what exactly is your point anyway? There are plenty of military people who have gone on to hold posts in government, and Duh, they do this AFTER they leave active service. Are you just the person in the room that likes to point out facts that everyone know just to feel intelligent or important?? Get off your high horse and give us a break Captain Obvious...

        November 9, 2011 at 12:26 am |
      • Junius Gallio

        > Of course the military is part of our government... Hello, their boss is the POTUS!

        I may not have stated this as clearly as I hoped. Yes, the military serves the government, but calling them "in our government" is problematic, because our military does not GOVERN. That's an important distinction, one that the Founding Fathers wanted to make certain never happened in America (with exceptions for states of emergency).

        > Get off your high horse and give us a break Captain Obvious...

        It's a bit odd to have you disagree with me, then chide me for being "Captain Obvious."

        November 9, 2011 at 8:45 pm |
      • Michael Lester

        I think that Junius Gallio does not get the point, or else Junius is like you say Megapril, just someone trying to feel intelligent or important so that he or she can get their comment posted on CNN. We have pumped 11.6 Billion dollars and lost countless lives of our armed forces to prop up a country whose president has stated that they would side with another country in a war against the United States. Maj. Gen. Peter Fuller only got pissed and did what every true patriotic American would have done. I don't think that Washington has heard the last about this situation from millions of American soldiers and citizens, Maj. Gen. Fuller only spoke the truth.

        As far as your opinion about Maj. Gen. Fuller just needing to have kept his mouth shut and just pass it along to his superiors, that would be like ones mother getting punched in the mouth by the next door neighbor and then running to his daddy and asking his daddy what he should do. Sometimes you already know the right things to say or do because they are built into your personality and spirit of your character.

        November 11, 2011 at 5:28 am |
      • Rick

        I would respectfully suggest that the one who fails to get the point seems to be yourself. Any career US officer either knows or should know that for so long as they remain active they must obey the commander and chief and not dab in politics. If you are familiar with history at all as much of a patriot and a hero as the general might be he is no more so than Gen. Douglas MacArthur, he should have learned something from that incident.

        December 12, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
      • Michael James Lester

        Yes Rick, I agree that a solider of the armed forces should stay out of the politics of war and just do their job. And yes Gen. Douglas MacArthur was also fired for speaking his mind. However, when these generals see their men dyeing in a war for a country that expresses no gratitude for that sacrifice how could anyone not expect them to get pissed off and say it how it is. I for one would have probably said a hell of a lot worse.

        Sometimes the protocol of just doing what you are told and ask no questions is trumped by the moral responsibility of doing what is the right thing to do.

        December 12, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
      • Rick

        Yes Michael, we are in agreement. Neither our system or ourselves are perfect by any means but nevertheless we must admit that it all works as well as can be expected. Even if, sometimes as human beings, we just opt to adopt the attitude of "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead"' despite any consequences.

        December 14, 2011 at 9:21 am |
  12. G D

    When we come to berating our own at the expense of those that do not share our interests, we are lost. No clearer sign than it's time to bring our men & women home. Our mission is complete, Al-Qeda is decimated, Afghan has been freed (for now) from the Taliban. It's their turn to step up to their home plate!

    November 7, 2011 at 8:28 pm |
  13. Ron

    If Fuller was fired for telling the truth, it would be more correct to say he was fired for learning the truth 10 YEARS TOO LATE and then telling it. But wait, a career enlisted guy doesn't last a day, let alone 30 years, unless he's willing to swallow the lies he is fed from day one. Clearly he had to know what would happen when he decided to go against DoD guidelines in speaking out.

    November 7, 2011 at 8:26 pm |
  14. midnitejax

    I don't care if he was some kind of hero. He is a soldier with superior officers above him. In the military you are told what to do and what to say, and there is no deterring from the orders as issued. His disobedience could be serious enough for a court martial to be convened. While I agree with his asessment of the Afghani government, I cannot condone his disregard for protocol. His lack of diplomacy, and failure to follow orders shows contempt for his superiors. That in itself is enough to warrant his dismissal.

    November 7, 2011 at 8:25 pm |
  15. IntentionalOut---

    Perhaps the situation is worse & he wanted out. It can't be easy to win the favor of the general population while fighting a war in their homeland AND navigating between politicians on all fronts. Rather than stick with the job that will end up with plenty of blame for the likely failure; he made commentary that is an obvious "no-no." A true mission impossible.

    A general has to have the common sense of knowing how to pull back a reactionary commentary. He had to know what the fall out was going to entail. Relieved of his command, a slap on the wrist, and a cushy job stateside.

    Besides, who ever placed any credence on Karzai's honorable intentions. The general didn't reveal anything new. The only "news" this article brings is the reaction in the commentary section. Its the same story with the character names changed up.

    November 7, 2011 at 8:20 pm |
  16. linda addison

    I commend him for telling the truth...If people were more like him, we wouldn't be in bad situations in the United States. We need more people to stand like this guy and tell the truth. Thats whats freedom is all about...Hes over there fighting for our freedom and other peoples freedom in other countries. GIVE THIS MAN HIS JOB BACK...HE DESERVES IT...For who ever fired him, it should be you thats fired cause you would stab our American people in the back for doing what you just did to this man for telling the truth. You heard the old saying "the truth will set you free when the world is on fire."

    November 7, 2011 at 8:14 pm |
    • Badley-Bent

      Fire General Allen!

      November 7, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
  17. mseikeh

    You are darn right, and it is time the head came out of the sand.

    November 7, 2011 at 8:14 pm |
  18. Greg, Ontario

    “The Afghan people are an honorable people,....no they aren't and anyone who has served there knows it. Especially the men who have served with them in battle situations. Most are cowards that run from a fight and are stoned most of the time. They seldom wash and if your down wind you can smell them before you see them. No, the minute Karsai said that We should all have started packing. They just aren't worth the lives of our own.

    November 7, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
  19. RixRR

    To quote Sun Tzu:
    “The general who advances without coveting fame and retreats without fearing disgrace, whose only thought is to protect his country and do good service for his sovereign, is the jewel of the kingdom.” Fight the good fight, Gen. Fuller.

    November 7, 2011 at 8:10 pm |
  20. Smalltowner

    Honorable people or not....we have squandered too many lives and money over there. Let's bring our brave soldiers home from that nest of snakes.

    November 7, 2011 at 8:09 pm |
  21. Christalee

    As the American people are funding this mess in Afghanistan WE have the right to be told the truth.

    November 7, 2011 at 8:07 pm |
  22. PatSJ

    Wolf, you need to tell the truth. America has not sacrificed blood and treasure to liberate Afghanistan from the Taliban and al Qaeda. America did that for its own economic, political, and other reasons. The Afgani people don't owe us anything except maybe a slap with a shoe.

    November 7, 2011 at 8:06 pm |
  23. h @ Idaho

    The general's words may be true, but they are detrimental to US Millitary's operations and therefor subject him to reprimand.

    This is no different that a general who told the press the battle plans. Would truth be a defense in that case?

    November 7, 2011 at 8:03 pm |
    • midnitejax

      I concur.He was out of line, and dismissed the command structure that the military depnds on to function as a unit. If all soldiers took the same attitude, who would serve when ordered into combat?

      November 7, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
  24. Nate

    Gen. Fuller was relieved of duty for exercising poor judgement. A general is much like a politician and needs to be diplomatic.

    November 7, 2011 at 8:02 pm |
    • Kim M Hunter

      This is for Nate, who thinks that our Generals have to be diplomatic about everything. We never would have won WW1 or WW2 with just diplomatic generals. We needed fighting Generals who had the brass to make the moves that would win a battle, not make nice/nice to some fluffy embassy person. Of course, once the danger has passed, well then the fighers are escorted out of service so we can go soft again. We need Generals with strength and will go past the orders that may be sent to them by the weak ones. Gen. Patton was a fighter, and was dispensed once the fighting was done. Then the soft ones took over, and start losing all again. Our current President fits the mold.

      November 7, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
  25. Jon Nelson

    I whole heatedly agree. When I first read that he was fired, I was thinking for that? What a complete blunder that was. I like his refreshing honesty, not some blow hard politian telling me what he thinks i want to hear. Hell they should have fired Dick Cheny at the start of his second term, along GWB.

    November 7, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
  26. Roto

    Boy, the truth can get you in trouble. Seems no one wants to hear the truth when it interferes with their agenda. That's basically the biggest problem with the US and the world globally. Everyone is living their lie in one way or the other. No wonder things are so messed up. Fuller should be given a decoration and a pay raise. Not fired. But then who wants to listen to the truth?

    November 7, 2011 at 7:53 pm |
  27. David

    What a hypocrite General Allan is! And his rational for firing General Fuller is so contrived it is laughable. And this guy is in charge of our forces? I'm sure glad he isn't my commander. In fact, his words sound remarkably like something Obama would say.

    November 7, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
    • luvUamerica

      David, I don't see the connection. Obviously you hate the President and has nothing to do with this. Coming to the point, If I was General Allen, I would have fired this General too., It is the military. You don't go out and say something that is contradictory to what your leadership is trying to achieve against a command structure. If General Fuller is out of the army, he is definitely welcome to air out his grievances anywhere he wants. I love Wolf Blitzer, but Mr. Blitzer, you are wrong on this one.

      November 7, 2011 at 8:11 pm |
  28. Thomas

    Give Maj. Gen. Peter Fuller a pay increase and send him over to the State Department !

    November 7, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
    • Matthew C. Tedder

      A general needs to understand political sensitivities. Regardless of how true it was, this certainly doesn't help it become less true. Confrontation yields stiffer walls. We need to weaken those walls and erratic statements like Karzai's serve that end poorly. In the same way, so did General Fuller's. You don't have to lie, but it is often wise to remain silent. His actions hurt the American cause. On a side note, Karzai might be making these kinds of statements to shore up a base of support and thereby strengthen himself politically while telling U.S. officials something different behind closed doors. Such things are often done in international relations. Of course, I don't really know. That's an important point.

      November 7, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
  29. John

    Reminds me of Gen. Patton stating his opinion about the Russians to the press during WWII and getting relieved of his command. I gotta hand it to Gen. Fuller for stating his opinion no matter how politically incorrect our elected officials may think it was. But then again, how many of our elected officials have their boots on the ground there. With all the money our government is dumping into these foreign countries, to hear a statement like that makes you wonder how precious our troops really are to the elected officals holding office. I personally feel that we should seriously take a very hard look at these countries that our men and women in the military are bleeding and dying for and what they really think of the United States.

    November 7, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
    • Calvin Miller

      I so agree with you John.

      November 8, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  30. marstomr14

    I'm quite underwhelmed by this post...a people that doesn't believe in freedom doesn't care about our sacrifice and is just waiting for us to leave. And, someone who speaks the truth instead of the State fed garbage is booted from his political post (and yes, being a General is a political post). If this surprises you, you're probably part of the problem in this country.

    November 7, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
  31. John

    As a military officer, it wasn't proper for him to speak out about the civilian leadership of the country he was assigned to defend. Political leaders in the U.S. set the policy and its his job to follow it. If he thought he could make the same kind of comments that got Gen. McCrystal fired last year and get away with it, he was either delusional or was deliberately trying to influence domestic politics. For those in this forum who thought his commanders "approved" his comments beforehand, you obviously don't know how the system works. There are plenty of ways to let the press (or Congress) know what the Army brass thinks about an issue without having a Deputy NATO Commander conduct a one-on-one interview at his post with as obvious a source as "Politico". No flag officer is assigned to NATO without understanding what a delicate balancing act it is when asked to make a public statement about his "allies".. I think its obvious that he knew exactly what he was doing.and the likely result.

    November 7, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
    • Chuck in Jasper, Ga.

      Wrong. As a military officer he is supposed to tell the truth. He is supposed to lead his subordinates, not coddle to political banter and butt kissing. He is responsible for the lives of thousands of his subordinates, our military personnel, but you think he should not be truthful when it comes to reality? Instead of continuing feeding America a crock of crap he had the backbone to call it as he sees it. He is not running for office in case you had not noticed.

      November 7, 2011 at 8:03 pm |
      • luvUamerica

        Wrong, As a military officer, you are supposed to respect the command. Lot more lives gets lost when a command structure is violated. In any case, he should have found a better avenue to make his statements. I think what general Allen did was fully justified.

        November 7, 2011 at 8:14 pm |
    • WoodyM90

      The military does not make policy. The president makes policy and is the Commander in Chief of the military. The military may be consulted while in the development of policy. However when policy is made it is the duty of the military to carry it out. If this policy is not approved by the nation’s voters the president may be removed at the next election.

      As to the general being entitled to an opinion, he has that right. The right he does not have is to question that policy in a manner that is public. When one becomes a member of the military, they give up certain rights that civilians may have. As an example, the right to join a union. If he wants to express his disagreement with a policy, he can complain thru channels or he can resign and express them as a civilian.

      It is the duty of the military commanders to do nothing that makes a proscribed policy harder to accomplish.

      November 7, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
  32. Bob H

    What is the mission and why are we still in Afghanistan? Bin Laden is dead and the Taliban, what's left of them, are hiding in caves or in Pakistan. If you think our mission is about democracy, think again. That has nothing to do with it. I have not heard one single politician clearly articulate our current mission in Afghanistan. Give them the keys to the car and let's bring our troops home. Haven't our carrier politicians made enough money from all of the "out source" contracts by now?

    November 7, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
  33. Darth Cheney

    Fuller is right, and he is wrong. He is right in the content of what he says, but the difficult thing here is the interplay between military, political, and diplomatic dimensions of the conflict. One of the many difficult things we ask of good soldiers is not to undermine diplomacy.

    November 7, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
  34. Jim, Louisville, KY

    Troops are paid to follow orders not make news. He had to go for his stupidity

    November 7, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
  35. MC in TX

    Though I partially agree with Wolf I think this is somewhat of a half-truth. Certainly Karzai should not be making statements about siding with Pakistan in a war against us and obviously the leadership in Afghanistan has had some serious problems (then again, so has ours). But as much as we may complain about American lives lost, the Afghan people have lost far more lives in a war they never even asked for (and to be frank, such a long engagement would not have been necessary had we had a rational plan from the outset). The Afghan people should recognize that we genuinely have wanted to help them. But we should recognize that even today it is difficult to argue that the country is actually better off. For some Afghans it is better; for others it is much worse. For many it is just different.

    Fuller was certainly telling a lot of truth but he was glossing over a lot too.

    November 7, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
  36. Bob

    The man should be commended for telling the truth. At some point conscience dictates that men of integrity spell it out, whether or not their superiors ( in rank – not courage ) like it or not. What he had to say is obvious to anyone paying the slightest attention, which brings into question the entire strategy of the US in the area. We have already been given our marching orders from Nuri al Malicki in Iraq, it is obvious we have equally nothing to gain in Afghanistan. Bottom line a total geopolitical loss which we are compounding by continuing to essentially drain our resources into. For me it is stunning the lack of understanding and decisiveness displayed by those above this general who should be acting in the national interest and cutting our losses.

    November 7, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
  37. Jim

    It might be a refreshing change of events if our politicians were as honest as the General. It probably would do more to advance the interests of not only our own country, but the world itself. Why are our leaders so afraid of the truth?

    November 7, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
  38. blake

    Blitzer is rarely right. But this time he is. This was a shameful action that NATO took.

    November 7, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
    • Dave

      We need to fire the people that keep giving billions of dollars, not to mention all the blood, guts and pain of our servicemen to Irag and Afganistan. Both countries continually belittle us and support the terrorist that keep attacking our troops. We should make an immediate withdrawel from both countries and cut off ALL foreign aid to both. The missions we set out to accomplish are COMPLETE!! We can use the money here at home and we sure don't need to see any more of our servicemen and women come into harms way. Semper Fi!!!

      November 7, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
      • Cranston

        No, he's wrong again. Fuller is factually correct of course, but he knew better than to speak out this way. At minimum, he had to be taken to the woodshed. He has to leave most of the political elements to the theater commander.

        November 7, 2011 at 8:05 pm |
  39. Michael Rae

    now folks know why we have the political mess we have, Gen Fuller is correct. let's face he mr fuller was a commander in the field and who better than him to give an overall assesment of the situation. With all the billions the Karzi government gets from the USA im sure he oblivious to the situation on the ground. I fell that the day Bin Laden was killed that was the day military operations in Afganistan should have concluded. That way mr Karzi would get a full understanding of the overall situation. Then his mind would be right.

    November 7, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
  40. ashrakay

    He also happens to be telling up what most of us have already known from the beginning. If you don't drink the Washington coolaid, it's pretty obvious to see how occupying Afghanistan would never be a successful strategy.

    November 7, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
  41. TJM

    What a brilliant reminder of why I don't watch cable news. This is the most shallow, unsophisticated, and ignorant analysis that I have seen on this issue.

    First, Wolf states that MG Fuller has "often risked his life in battle for the United States." Really? I just checked his bio. What is his combat experience, aside from entering and leaving Afghanistan in the past 30 days?

    Next, he then adds that MG Fuller "has effectively fired Fuller for telling the American people the truth." That's kind of like saying that someone arresting following a high speed chase "has effectively been arrested for driving a vehicle on a public street."

    Wolf is also stunned that "Fuller’s comments were clearly undiplomatic and blunt, but they were true." I mean, how can we expect a Major General to understand that avoiding comments like this might be important? Right? Let's hold him to the same standard as the most inarticulate Private, I guess.

    It is also bizarre that Wolf regards MG Fuller as an "American war hero" when all evidence suggests that he is no more or less of a hero than a million other men and women who served. Why is this "American war hero" status so significant? He has spent his career managing logistics and materiel issues – surely an important job, but not exactly Audie Murphy stuff.

    But I'm sure General Allen will take the sage advice of Wolf Blitzer to heart. General Allen has a long career of commanding units made up of thousands of servicemembers and possessing billions of dollars of equipment and munitions, whereas Wolf Blitzer commands a news room and gets paid talk about what other people do.

    9 percent unemployment, yet Blitzer gets paid for this crap.

    November 7, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • Gokou

      And you spent 10 minutes reading this General's bio, and you now know enough to completely discredit this general and this story? Perhaps you should take a good hard look in the mirror, no?

      November 7, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
      • TJM

        What? Where do you see an attempt to discredit Fuller? Taking issue with him being catapulted to hero status = discrediting?

        November 7, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
    • luvUamerica

      TJM...you are right on the money. I love Wolf, but Wolf is very wrong on this one.

      November 7, 2011 at 8:16 pm |
    • John Smith

      I'm with you TJM...Wolf dost protest too much. such passion and indignation on behalf of a big mouthed general. Where is all that passion and indignation when the topic turns to the state of affairs right here at home? Where is Wolf's outcry as we continue to spend billions upon billions of dollars a day in "wars" (better called occupations) halfway across the world? Makes one wonder.

      November 7, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
  42. Clif

    The title of the article is a little misleading; there is a difference between telling the truth and offering your opinion. They were just trying to get hits on this article.

    November 7, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
  43. Ralph in Orange Park, FL

    He was not the first and will not be the last.

    November 7, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
  44. mark

    He showed brass balls telling the truth, how many of you are able to sacrifice everything for the truth?, hat off for you General, you should be the president and not those who put flowers in their words and it's impossible to get clearly their message.

    November 7, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
  45. Old Corps Marine Officer (ret)

    General Fuller wasn't "fired" because he told the truth. He was relieved of command because he screwed up on part of his responsibility.....being diplomatic with the press, congress and our "allies". Unfortunately, it's part of his job description. Gen. Allen would have been sacked had he not taken that action. The fact that Fuller told the truth, as he sees it, doesn't change a thing. Obama's Pentagon would have had both their heads. Remember a guy named Douglas MacArthur's public tit -a- tat with Harry Truman? Oh, yeah, then there was George Patton. Having said all that, I'm on Fuller's side in this one.

    November 7, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
    • josh

      Everyone in the military knows you don't talk about you opinion to the press. Specifically when it deals with foreign policy.

      November 7, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • A Cubano

      I am with you Old Corps Marine Officer! My father is 84 and serve in the Korean (conflict) and two tours in Vietnam. He also says that a soldier is to follow lawful orders of his commander in chief and not involve him or herself in politics or public comment unless instructed to do so. If you (especially a career 30 year 2 star general!) feel compelled to speak without proper authorization to do so, resign your commission, retire honorably and then feel free to express your opinions to anyone who will listen. If one of your enlisted men Gen. Fuller, spoke to a reporter without your okay you would be screaming for his head. If you are a soldier, act like one!

      November 7, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
    • obsthetimes

      MacArthur undermined the president of the United States and the civilian control of the military.
      Fuller simply told the truth to a foreign people that America is pulling out all the stops to help. Big difference!
      Why is the US army expending soldiers in Afghanistan. Does america care of little about its young men & women?

      November 7, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
    • Junius Gallio

      You are quite correct .. but I have to admit, as imprudent as the general's comments were, I have to agree with his analysis.

      And by the way, thanks, Marine. People like you are the reason people like me can be disabled, not be allowed into the military, but can still be proud to be an American, and proud of our soldiers, sailors, and marines.

      November 7, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
  46. Frank Mondana

    It's the same old story. We expect our military leaders to be diplomats. You can't have it both ways. Yes, the military has to choose words carefully but that's not what their trained to do.

    It's like telling a General to describe exactly how an enemy was killed but make it sound "nice".

    Karzai is a multi-faced thug who only cares about his checking account and image. He also suffers from the same disease that pervades most of that part of the world. Nobody wants to lead, they only want to rule. They don't give a damn about "their people" only in the amount of power they can wield and show off.

    If it wasn't for the oil in that region it would be exactly like parts of Africa, Central and South America where leadership is something that nobody wants to attempt. Give 'em a 112 Mansion and a Swiss bank account and that's their definition of leadership.

    November 7, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
    • Junius Gallio

      > Yes, the military has to choose words carefully but that's not what their trained to do.

      Yes, actually, they ARE trained in diplomacy–especially officers, and most especially general officers.

      Promotion is a military act, but (especially that that rank) it is also a political act. There is both official training and unofficial "culture" to guide military officers in their dealings with foreign nationals and their leaders. There is also extensive training and guidance in dealing with members of the press, much of which falls under the category of "Keep your mouth shut whenever possible, because if you embarrass the USA, your service, your command, OR OUR ALLIES OR HOSTS, your career will suffer a quick and inglorious termination."

      November 7, 2011 at 8:10 pm |
  47. JoeT

    Gen. Fuller, like any soldier is entitled to his opinion. As a professional, he is not, however, allowed to share it, especially if it impacts negatively on his command or his mission. A general is not a simple soldier who can spout off what he will when he or she chooses; he, his commanders, and his subordinates know this. Is his opinion correct? Likely so, but his remarks carry significant weight that could adversely impact the mission.

    November 7, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
    • UmOkYea

      What mission is that? To continue to give them more billions of aid just so they can spend the money without improving their country? The mission to continue to have our men killed or maimed by the taliban? He could have been reprimanded, there was no need to fire him for telling the truth.

      November 7, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
  48. squalie2

    Isn't this America where we have not only a right to speak our opinions, but a duty to challenge our leaders in a free society? If we want censorship and to be a bunch of sheep, we can call ourselves China. It is an outrage and a shame that a branch of our armed forces would treat one of their own this way for speaking his mind, exercising his right to free speech. This administration and the commander of the blind should be ashamed and not surprised when he is fired next November.

    November 7, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
    • CertainPOV

      Perhaps you lack a clear understanding of the First Amendment, so let's review: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

      "Congress shall make no law..." And they didn't. I may have an opinion of the company that I work for that is less than flattering, and if I voiced that opinion in a public forum I would most likely lose my job. Same thing happens at Starbucks, McDonald's, IBM, and most businesses, churches and non-profits. We all have a responsibility to follow the rules that our employer's lay out in front of us, and we should not be surprised if we're fired when we don't. The military is no different; and nothing is more destructive to the chain of command and unit cohesion than failing to follow a lawful order.

      November 7, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
  49. Reality1

    Typical Obama policy. Fire those who tell the truth, and promote those who lie.

    November 7, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
    • keith

      It's not an Obama policy, it was an Army decision. Military officers give up political agency when they join. They follow orders. This sort of draconian rule actually protects you and me, by making them focus on doing the work our elected officials request, rather than making decisions in place of our elected officials.

      November 7, 2011 at 7:21 pm |
    • Paul

      Yea, just like the Bush admin where they always told the truth, right?

      November 7, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
  50. JoeBobcat

    I feel bad for the General. but the fact is "We" are not at war. The United States is *not* at war. A handful of our less affluent kids are, and the rest of us are supposed to pretend we care. Truth is: it doesn't affect us. We're busy trying to find jobs, trying to raise kids, trying to live our lives. A former administration got us into a war (or wars, I'm not sure) a few years back, and a bunch of kids have died and we've spent a ton of money. I think most Americans are at the point where they'd rather not be in the wars that they hear about occasionally on the news. Do those wars even have an effect our (America's) interests? Or are they just skirmishy things "over there"? I don't even know. Whatever. I gotta go. a Kardashian is on TV.

    November 7, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
    • steven

      You want truth? This comment has a lot of it and says a lot about who this "conflict" affects. It affects no one except those in the military and their families. America sees it on the news sometimes and may read a story in the paper, otherwise they go about their lives. Most of the people commenting on this article have no place in saying anything about military affairs. General Allen made a decision based on things we know nothing about. Gen Fuller made a mistake and should have known it and he paid for it.

      November 7, 2011 at 8:14 pm |
  51. EJ

    While I can understand the importance of maintaining the "company line" in most circumstances, this isn't one of them. If the American people fully understood what Karzai said, they'd be calling for instant withdrawal from Afghanistan. And thus, that's exactly why this soldier got into trouble for pointing out the inconvenient truth.

    November 7, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
  52. JJ

    Wolf, generals are not paid to talk to political outlets and spill their opinions. If they think that the American people need to know their political opinions, they need to QUIT their jobs and become politicians. Fuller should known better than to run at the mouth like that. He paid the price, and as a former Marine, I am fine with the consequences he got for doing that. And no, I don't care what your opinion as a journalist is about this. End of story.

    November 7, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
  53. the_dude

    No one wants to hear the truth especially war profiteers like pelosi and feinstein who are raking it in thanks to the military industrial complex. Truth be dammed.

    November 7, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  54. W Foster

    General Fuller should be thanked by the public for his honesty. As a retired military officer, I'm tired of hearing the four-stars continually tell us we're making progress. Come on, it's been ten years! It took us less than four years to beat the Germans and the Japanese at the same time. How can a loosly aligned band of ill-trained and poorly equiped Taliban keep us a bey for so long. And while they're doing it how can our military leaders keep telling us we're making progress. Honesty seems to be the first casualty our Generals require these days.

    November 7, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  55. jay scott

    telling the truth is above his paygrade.
    if he wants to tell the truth, he is welcome to find employment elsewhere.
    bradley manning told the truth. why isn't he a hero, wolf?

    November 7, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  56. Atilla Hunn

    The Afghan people are an honorable people?? You’ve got to be kidding...these species are nothing more than murderous garbage and only way you’ll be accomplishing your most critical and shared mission: bringing about a “stable, peaceful and prosperous” (BS) Afghanistan, is to kill them all one by one. The fired general deserved a medal of honor and you some harshasskicking-idiot....but you could care less as long as you can get volunteer idiots to join military forces and willingly go spill their guts for someone else’s glory and foreign interests. Hopefully people will see through this and stop joining military that does nothing (lately) more than fights other nation’s wars for our political interest.

    November 7, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  57. Willow

    Note to general public: The first amendment does not, apparently, apply to the military, ironic though that is.

    November 7, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • Jeff

      Most folks that "sign the dotted line" are well aware that they give up this right. They also give up MANY civil liberties that normal civilians take for granted (right to gather, firearms possession, among others) This is not new and given the nature of the military, it's the right thing to do.(overall, though it goes too far in some instances, IMHO) Remember, they call 'em "GIs" (govenrment issue) for a reason; they become property of the US military. (granted it's not THAT simple, but it drives the point)

      Glad to see you learning someting new!

      November 7, 2011 at 8:14 pm |
    • legalbeagle

      Note to the general public: the first amendment does not protect you from losing you job, military or otherwise.

      November 7, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
  58. Randy

    How appalling that a General would tell the truth. Everyone knows that truth has no place in politics or the main stream media! What was this General thinking? Probably thinking about his conscience and his honor. Things that don't work well within government.

    November 7, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  59. tffl

    He was speaking out of turn (and at that level, he certainly should have been aware that he was and there would be consequences). To those who say "he was just telling the truth – he should have been promoted", imagine that he was a departmental director of a major (private industry) company who made a public statement (contrary to the wishes of his VP and the company president) that a joint venture partner company was run by incompetent and erratic management. You better believe he would be fired and quickly. In no circumstances do you publicly come out in opposition to your superiors and expect to walk away unscathed. He could certainly make such statements (directly and privately) to his superior officers and expect that to acceptable – his error (and it was a big one) was to do this publicly. He _should_ have been fired, as he displayed very poor judgement and you cannot have that from people who make life and death decisions for others.

    November 7, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
    • George

      First, this General is not an employee of a a private company that can "keep things private". He is a member of a government that is in power under the authority of "we the people".
      Second, if all military officers "follow the company line", then the excuse of "I was only doing what I was told" would be valid in court martials, of which several come to mind where they tried this excuse and failed.
      Is that what you want, "I was only following orders"? Certainly not me!
      Third, this General knew what the consequences would be and was willing to "step forward"... would you be?

      November 7, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
  60. Martin

    He wasn't fired for telling the truth. He was fired for making statements that he shouldn't have been outside of the command structure.

    BIG DIFFERENCE.

    November 7, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  61. Bill

    Congratulations to General Fuller on having the guts to tell it like it is instead of being a yes man like most of Obama's lackeys. My hat is off to you sir, and I hope you write a book about the whole thing and make enough to comfortably retire.

    November 7, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  62. Bill

    Congratulations to General Fuller on having the cajones to tell it like it is instead of being a yes man like most of Obama's lackeys. My hat is off to you sir, and I hope you write a book about the whole thing and make enough to comfortably retire.

    November 7, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  63. Kai

    Yes, he might have been more PC. But- at least he told the truth.
    Unlike the military high up's that basically lied about the Tillman "friendly fire" cover up. What, if any actions were taken against them???????

    November 7, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  64. Bill

    Congratulations to General Fuller on having the balls to tell it like it is instead of being a yes man like most of Obama's lackeys. My hat is off to you sir, and I hope you write a book about the whole thing and make enough to comfortably retire.

    November 7, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
  65. Jordan

    From an enlisted military perspective, relieving General Fuller was probably the appropriate way to go about the situation and it's nice to see that there is no double-standard. I'm a Sergeant in the Marine Corps and having been to Iraq twice and Afghanistan recently, having to work with locals there are always things that we are briefed on what not to say, and how to find the right approach to speak on certain subjects with the locals without creating friction with them or our Afghan security counterparts. Regardless of what we feel we must remember our objective and put our mission before our own personal feelings and what General Fuller did was let his own personal views come out publicly and it was inappropriate at that time. I would expect to be reprimanded if I spoke out of line, so should he. Besides, he's really not in Gen. McChrystals shoes...maybe just the same footwear store.

    November 7, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
    • David

      I agree that a reprimand was in order but General Allan went way overboard with his reaction and punishment. As a sergeant in the Marines you should be aware that excess or inappropriate punishment is very bad for morale.

      November 7, 2011 at 7:51 pm |
      • luvUamerica

        The millitary is a structured system with rules and discipline. I agree with the honorable Marine here. If everyone in uniform questions and starts negotiating, you will only get disaster. As a 2 star General, MG Fuller could have found a better channel. Maybe the punishement was too harsh, but he should be punished. MG Fuller was very stupid to do this.

        November 7, 2011 at 8:21 pm |
  66. JG

    Having served in the military for 25 years its a shame when you finally realize that your not allowed to have opinion if it sides against those in power. Our society is built on opinion, have you checked any subject, during any time with regards to politics? MG Fuller probably had enough of Washington continually thinking they knew right from wrong when they truly are far from the truth on the Ground. Another sad day in politics, and another show of our countries fear of hurting someones feelings. If they don't want to hear the truth, we should leave those countries and fix our problems at home!!!!

    November 7, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
    • steven

      You may have spent 25 years in the military but your comments show you did not learn much about the military's role. False or truth does not matter, being in the military and speaking out like that is not acceptable for a leader. Most of these comments show most have not spent time in the military and view things as a civilian.

      November 7, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
      • Patrick Lynch

        Correct. The Nazi had it perfectly right and should never have been put on trial. Keep your mouth shut and just follow orders so you can later say 'you were just following orders'. Because in American PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY is only for the honest, moral, and foolish Is that really what you want high level leaders in this country doing? People need to stand up and say enough is enough! The military are stuck in the middle and are obviously sick of the lies. Somebody please get us out of there!!!!!

        November 8, 2011 at 1:14 am |
      • T&E Key

        As as soldier/ Contractor that has spent over 4 years in this region I have nothing but respect for the General. He did not speak out against the Commander and Chief, policies in Washington, or the mission in our AO, he simply said what everybody over here sees on a consistent basis. The Afghan people (specifically the leadership) need their hands held... or paid, to do anything for themselves. Plain and simple, there is nothing to analyze about his morals. When you have a General that is as combat effective as him, you don't just let him go because he pissed off a shithead local national. Stop thinking like a "fobit", get some time on the roads, through the towns, have some friends get killed, then tell me what you think about the Generals remarks.

        December 14, 2011 at 3:50 am |
  67. Mary

    Maj. Gen. Peter Fuller should be reinstated into the same position he held and we should bring our troops home right away. We helped them rid themselves of the unwanted forces that invaded them so we did our duty, it's time to come home. I don't blame Fuller for telling us the truth–Thank you Mr. Fuller, you are a good human being and we're proud you are an american and have fought so hard for us all of these years!

    November 7, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
  68. Dave

    Any soldier who says what you suggested would be lying and deserved to be fired for that even more.

    November 7, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
  69. Joshua K.

    Yes, it's true that General Fuller is a hero. Yes, it's true that he was being truthful about his personal opinions concerning the situation in Afghanistan.

    But Wolf Blitzer's comment that Fuller's reassignment was a "mistake" that should be "fixed" is nonsensical. Now that how Fuller truly feels is a matter of public comment, how can we expect that he can effectively cooperate with the Afghan government, and receive their cooperation in turn, after essentially calling them all ungrateful traitors? As truthful as his comments were, they've compromised his ability to do his job; and the decision to transfer him was correct and in the interest of furthering NATO's mission in Afghanistan.

    November 7, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
  70. T3chsupport

    Yeah, we 'sacrificed for Afghanistan'. Is it still a sacrifice if it was forced on them? They don't want us there! It's not our country, let's get out! Of course they don't care about our sacrifices.

    November 7, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
  71. katincal

    That's what happens when politicians are in charge. They can slant the war in Afghanistan any way the want, but the General is boots on the ground in Afghanistan and I think he has the advantage of knowing what is really going on over those who remain at home, safe in their beds pulling the covers over their head (and the wool over our eyes).

    November 7, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
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