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.