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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. Chris Goldfinger

    Allen is the on the should be fired.

    November 7, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
  2. heavyhorse

    The militay is no different than the corprate sector..you tow the company line ..truth is not a luxury to be tollerated..saving Karzai face is more important than the lives and money of the US

    November 7, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
  3. Mr. Wolf

    From personal experience, telling the truth in the military will always get you censored or relieved of duty. Of course, when you are at that level in the military command structure, you are more a politician than a soldier at that point. Either learn to keep you mouth shut, or accept the consequences of your actions. Pentagon politicians know exactly which side their bread is buttered on, and it's not the side of the American troops.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
  4. James Lenon @chuckey TN

    Mr. Blitzer, thank you for having the decency and courage to support the actions of Gen. Fuller. I was outraged at his dismissal. You can read my commentary at http://slenon.blogspot.com/2011/11/5-november-2011-changes-in-latitude-no.html

    Since I don't have to follow anyone's dictates but my own, I beat you by a couple days in commenting on this.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
  5. ex-navy

    What you civilians, like Wolf, do not understand, is that officers serve at the discretion of their superiors. It may have been the truth in what the general said, but he should also know better than telling it to a reporter from a newspaper. He was relieved of his command not for telling the truth, but to whom he told.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
  6. Alternate Wolf

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

    Undiplomatic publicized opinion, however true, from a general may be enough to cost lives, or at the very least demoralize troops. Thus dismissal by senior commanders or the Commander-In-Chief is justified.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
  7. GrampZ

    Gen. Allen cannot recind his decision, the decision was most likely not his. This action came squarely from the Offal Office – the administration cannot tolerate criticism of it's policies or of it's "allies". But, the election is only one year away (if only the voting public can remember that long what has happend the previous seven plus years).

    November 7, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
  8. Rod Lipsscomb

    Maybe it is Gen Allen who should be replaced? Because it seems he does not have the true Guts to stand up for America and it men in harms way, This Gen Fuller has what it takes, keep people like him in the Front running the troops because he is true Army, and No Game player,
    The President has the power to over turn his release, Now lets see how Mr Obama handles this. Keep in mind election time is growing near,

    November 7, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
  9. patriot

    He should run for office. We need honest people like him.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
  10. John

    Ya it's a sad day in hell when youhave some one that high in the food change calling it like it is and then get repermanded for his words of truth he should be listed to by the scum in dc and promted to 4 star General
    Oust are corrporate govermante

    November 7, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
  11. jack

    General Fuller is 100% correct and its to bad that General Allen is acting like a politicion instead of a general backing up one of his commanders. The last ten years have shown us that the people of Afghanistan and Karzai are far from
    honorable. Same can be said of Pakistan. We need to be out of there and leave them on their own.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  12. James

    In the US military you do not have freedom of speech. Saying what he said, though true was not in line with official US policy and our soldiers including our General Officers know they cannot do this. They cannot make statements to the press unless those statements have been approved.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  13. Maryann

    Welcome to America – where the truth gets you fired, and a lifetime of hard work gets you nothing. What has happened to us?

    November 7, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  14. A hard working American

    Well said Wolf, well said. Everyone is thinking this, knowing this is true, and it shows how out of touch Gen. Allen is with the American people, who make up his soldiers. Should Fuller have opened his mouth? Probably not, but there is no way I can understand the level of stress the man is under, trying to deal with that "government". To fire a man over this is just over the top. Move him, give him a vacation; you don't fire him over this.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  15. HFM17

    Just shows the not surprising narrow military mentality, where more care is shown towards a country that harbors terrorists, and a willingness to toss anyone under the bus who dares blurt the truth...but then, the military complex at large has always had a difficult time telling the truth....they just don't know how to do so. Then, they act surprised when no one believes a word they say....it's just a shame....but not a surprise.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
  16. Les

    Sometimes the truth really hurts and those that are appointed in charge just can't handle it, (look to the White House and Company to start). Kudos to Fuller. Takes somebody that knows the truth to be an effective leader. Sorry, Allen, you lost when you said the realtionship was current solid, otherwise, Karzai wouldn't choose Pakistan over the United States, would he?

    November 7, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
  17. steamroller

    Incredible that our military leaders cannot speak out without being forced to abrubtly resign.
    He did not speak negatively against our military leaders or the U.S. government.
    This is a very bad precedent.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
  18. Outof Bounds

    The general WAY overstepped his position; he would have held any underling to the same that he himself was held.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
  19. Brenda Gio

    If the administration thinks that many Americans need the absolutely dead-on observations from Gen. Fuller to understand the situation in Afghanistan, they are sorely mistaken. Many Americans recognized this truth before the general's comments. Billions of dollars, and dead and maimed Americans – for what? The moment we withdraw, whether today, next month, or five years from now, Afghanistan will revert to the tribal wasteland it is. The British were defeated there, followed by the Russians, and now we are the latest. The general is being tragically scapegoated here.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
  20. Max

    There are two sides to a story and in reality he answers to a boss like everyone else. While it is a tragedy this happened he most likely violated some chain of command that got him to this point and anyone ever involved in any way with the military can tell you how important the chain of command can be.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
  21. MM

    Tell the truth...how dare he?!
    Shameful what has happened to this man and how his career is over, not to mention the collateral damage that will no doubt occur as a result. America has lost a true and honest hero who is only telling the American people what ALL military members think and say behind the backs of their commanding officers. General Allen, MAKE IT RIGHT!!!!!

    November 7, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
  22. Lt Col Robert Brooks

    Unfortunately, there is no such thing as freedom of speech in the military, especially when you wear stars on your uniform. You're exactly correct in that MG Fuller was telling the truth. However, when you bring the political and diplomatic sides into the Afghan equation, honestly and logic often times flies out the window. Personally, I think we should withdraw all our general purpose forces out of Afghanistan, and let the CIA and Special Forces types do what they do best. Afghanistan is of no strategic value to the United States, and neither is Pakistan. I've been to Pakistan, and it's scary that a third world country like that supposedly has nukes. Wouldn't be that big of a deal to blast them back to the stone age, because they've barely passed it.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
  23. truth

    I say we pull out of Afghanistan tomorrow. To hell with the 'government' that is there. If Karzai’s really does feel he would side with Pakistan then he should get them to put the money into his country! BRING OUR TROOPS HOME!

    November 7, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
  24. steve buck

    should have been fired. you would think after 30 years he would understand chain of command. but hey, after 30 years he was only a 2 star so obviously not that smart.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
  25. Xerxes_2011

    I don't think he was technically fired by the military. I think he was fired by the CEO's of Big Steel plants and those who are getting rich off the blood, sweat & tears of our american troops. Let anyone with common sense give somone $20 and that person says if that country that you're an enemy were to go to war, I will back them up instead. GIVE US OUR MONEY BACK AND LIBERATE YOURSELVES! YOU CANNOT KEEP SACRIFICING USA LIVES TO SAVE SOMEONE FROM THEMELVES, ESPEICALLY IF THEY DON'T WANT TO BE SAVED OR DO NOT SHOW APPRECIATTION FOR IT!!!!!!

    November 7, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
  26. Holden

    If Karzai said that, he needs to go. Right now.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
  27. Mark Gräfenberg

    edit: Neither their actions nor their intentions are honorable by my standards.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
  28. JAYG

    Who are the people sleeping in the back? A fiction of my imagination. Yesssss! THEY ARE THE ONES WHOM SHOULD BE FIRED! MG Fuller, Thank you for telling like it is!. You hit the nail right on the head! $11.6 billion to then tell me that you would fight me and kill me if necessary? Sickening!

    November 7, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
  29. Jeff S

    If Gen Peter Fuller had been a diplomat, then it would have correct to say that he "made a major mistake" by putting truth ahead of expediency.

    Yet given the fact that he is a solider – a man who has put his life on the line for his country for more than 30 years – how on earth can being truthfully blunt about a life-and-death situation be considered a mistake? On the contrary, he should be commended for it!

    It should sicken the American people that Gen Fuller has been fired for speaking the truth, regardless of how unpleasant it may be.

    This is just another example of truth being a casualty of war.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
  30. Mark Gräfenberg

    "The Afghan people are an honorable people." Are you serious? I'm sure they're not all dis-honorable but you'll have a hard time selling me on this statement to cover even a modest majority of the Afghan population. Neither their actions nor their intentions are not honorable by my standards.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
  31. No

    Nope. Once you reach an officer position you have a responsibility to keep your opinions to yourself. Some many feel it’s disrespectful to the officer or that it silences just points and they’re not wrong. But a soldier first and foremost has a responsibility to follow the chain of command. And at the officer level, where your opinions create rules, it’s critical that you’re not making rogue comments (ideas not backed by the chain of command) to the public. Behind closed doors is where they belong so that the command policies are solid in so far as those outside the conversation are concerned.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
  32. Jon

    He only told half the truth. We are wasting our blood and treasure in Afghanistan. All the drones in the world won't make Afghanistan prosperous and free. You can't make people want to live like you want them to.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
  33. Oodoodanoo

    1) My sympathies for the general, but why is he giving an interview to Politico? I would have thought the McChrystal/Rolling Stone fiasco would have been a lesson.

    2) Generals should not have to be diplomats.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
  34. socalgal

    I do not condone Maj. Gen. Fuller providing individual assessments to the public without approval from his superiors. I do, however, feel his firing is wrong. Lastly, you really must be kidding if you think any democratic party politician would even conceive of the idea to apply $100B in war savings to paydown of debt as they know only how to spend, spend, spend on new entitlements and useless programs.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
  35. Mit

    I Agree. We've gone from a Country of "results" to a Country of "feelings".
    God forbid, the Maj. General tell the truth if it hurts someone's feelings. What he said was true. Where's the wrong in that?

    Why do you think we are in this whole OWS predicament? Giving kids sports trophy for "trying their best" and now All these young people don't have high paying jobs and they want their trophies.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  36. Jeff S

    If Gen John Allen had been a diplomat, then it would have correct to say that he "made a major mistake," by putting truth ahead of expediency.

    Yet given the fact that he is a solider – a man who has put his life on the line for his country for more than 30 years – how on earth can being truthfully blunt about a life-and-death situation be considered a mistake? On the contrary, he should be commended for it.

    It should sicken the American people that Gen Allen has been fired for speaking the truth, regardless of how unpleasant it may be.

    This is just another example of truth being a casualty of war.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  37. Dr. Tim Ackley

    I know that people give up some rights when they join the military, but being able to speak the truth to the American people should not be one of them. This shameful treatment of an American military hero is reminiscent of the Viet Nam War era when anyone in uniform who dared question the Pentagon's party line about U.S. "successes" in that war ran the risk of having his/her career ended. A democracy can only function properly when its people know the truth about world and national events.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  38. Do we not get it...

    Afghanistan is starting to look like Vietnam all over again. Fortunately, we are not taking it on on individual soldiers. Our Military leadership is living in a dreamworld. Every Afgahn I know of any means takes their money (at least) and puts it in Dubai. The Afghans do not care about Afghanistan – it is a economic wasteland and nothing but US Military spending or foreign aid drives the economy – because there is nothing.

    Time to go!

    November 7, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  39. Disgusted

    It's amazing that Fuller was fired for essentially stating facts that most of the American public already knew.

    This just goes to show how ignorant of some of our military leaders really are.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
  40. jon

    A lot of people in the United States are fired, ostracized or have their careers ruined for speaking the truth. This may be a "freedom of speech" country, but except for not being put in prison for telling the truth, you can be in a world of hurt.
    Yet, the "spin doctors" on the radio and TV get away with saying just about every kind of lie imaginable. What a country!

    November 7, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  41. Cajun55

    Sounds like Gen. John Allen is THE liar in this exchange.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  42. Chas. Montange

    If, as the commentator says, the General spoke the truth, then the question is why are we in Afghanistan at this time, or better yet, why are we not getting out as fast as possible. Land wars in Asia in general are a mistake, and much more so if one is trying to prop us an "erratic" leader, when one's "ally" next door (Pakistan) is best known for concealing Osama bin Ladin, which is why the United States entered Afghanistan in the first instance. Since the US government wants to be in Afghanistan, then it has to disavow the General. Claiming this is an error is to claim that the US being in Afghanistan is an error.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
  43. trexonu

    This man is a HERO. This man is EXACTLY what this country needs in a military leader, honesty, integrety, and strength. We need to tell Karguy that we are his country's best hope, and anything less than that true belief will cause us to leave asap.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
  44. Jeff Anderson

    I could not agree with Wolf Blitzer more! It is Gen. Allen who should be fired for spinelessness unbecoming an officer of his rank. POTUS should get personally involved and re-instate Gen. Fuller immediately, apologize to him and and his family for Gen. Allen's "erratic" comments, and praise him before the American people for conduct expected from its ranking military officers. Does POTUS have the backbone?

    November 7, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  45. us1776

    Wolf, I was shocked when I read that Fuller was fired for essentially expressing what the American people already knew. It was ridiculous.

    .

    November 7, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  46. jonjon

    General Allen's comments are pure boot licking. It appears that he might be the one out of touch with reality. This politically correct BS is what has gotten us into innumerable foreign policy blunders around the world. It is about time that we stand up for what we stand for and choose the harder right rather than the easier wrong.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  47. Harry Wortz

    It wasn't his duty to say anything and he should have kept his mouth shut. It's obvious that Wolf was never in the military.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  48. RS

    About time the truth is coming from the top. He should be promoted, not fired.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
  49. Stephen Meyers

    I fully agree. When I read of this general's firing, my first thought was that the PC police have reached a new level of veneality. Blitzer may know that Allen is honorable, I have only this one action by which to judge him and on that basis he seems to place being on message over truthful reality. This action is disgraceful and we will never reach our goals by lying to ourselves.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
  50. Kevin

    I too find it sad that in today's world the truth is taboo. While serving in the military, you cannot tell the truth to the public. The truth is almost forbidden.......I spent 27 years serving our country and have seen the truth hidden many, many times!!! Those who do tell the truth usually pay the price.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
  51. Roger in Florida

    Well Wolfgang. He was a soldier. And he talked out of tyrn and put egg on his superiors faces. That will always get you fired, demoted or locked up in the military. Like they say already in bootcamp. If you need an opinion we will give it to you.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
  52. marrod

    I have a relative in the military that has been deployed a number of times to Afghanistan and says the same thing. For this high ranking officer to put it out there takes a lot of courage. It is time for us to get out of there and focus on this country. We cannot be the gestapo of this world forever.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
  53. Inciteful

    MISTAKE???? Are you kidding? Karzai is not erratic. He's out of his ever-loving, delusional mind! Fuller should be lauded for his assessment. Firing him for this innocuous and accurate comment is absurd! This level of politically correct CRAP is beyond the pale!

    November 7, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
  54. JJ

    Active duty members of the military are forbidden to comment on political matters, even if they are the truth. That's always been the policy, and it's there for a good reason. It's the same reason as why elected officials are at the top of the chain of command. It's unfortunate that someone like Fuller who was just telling the truth has to go, but it's certainly not Allen's fault, nor Obama's, nor Panetta's - it's just the code of conduct, there since "forever."

    November 7, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
  55. Jim McDonald

    He wasn;t necessarily fired for speaking the truth, but possibly for insubordination, violation of diplomatic policy. This is reminiscent of the alleged problem Eisenhower had with Gen. Patton throughout the second world war and the early occupation of Germany after the War. The issue of whether the General was telling the truth is irrelevant in the political and diplomatic context of our occupation of Afghanistan. Also, I wish our Generals and politicians would stop berating Afghan and Iraq politicians for not "appreciating our sacrifices for their countries. No one asked us to invade and occupy those places. If we feel unappreciated we can just leave.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
  56. Sid Prejean

    Wolf, I spent 22 years on active duty, with not nearly the rank or resume of MGen Fuller, but even this old lieutenant colonel knew that, "just 'cause it's true, don't mean you can say it out loud". Jeez, If I blew the whistle on every careerist, self-serfing bozo commander I ever had, I'd still be waiting for a line number to first lieutenant.
    The general's commenrts were, indeed, undiplomatic, blunt, and (undeniably) true. They should, however, never have been made in an on-the-record interview such as this. The guy has the experience to know this and he, not General Allen, made the fatal error.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
  57. John Galt

    The General spoke out of turn but EVERYTHING he said was absolutely right. Sadly the war in Afghanistan AND especially the war in Iraq are absolute utter failures for the U.S. and achieved nothing of note. Also to the people who talk about Saddam Hussein I am a New Yorker and not stupid enought to believe he had anything to do with 9/11. These places know nothing of liberty and freedom and will return to their tribal ways less than 3 years after the last U.S. troops depart.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  58. JohnSlab

    Go figure. Another action taken by a higher ranking official in an attempt to silence the truth.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  59. Papa Chili

    True or not...the man is a two star General and his job is NOT to publically tell the American people what is "true". He is "in management" and as such is supposed to be diplomatic and not so "blunt" when addressing the public...and be very undiplimatic and blunt "in the board room".

    This man is a full blown American hero and desrves all good things that come his way. But politics is politics, managemnt is management and some of us are good at it...some are not. I suck at it by the way...I prefer blunt and undiplimatic...baut that doesnt work in delicate political situations. Just look at our own government. Political attack after political attack from the left and the right. The result is the most divided and hateful nation we've ever had.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  60. DJ

    My understanding is that the military does not have the "right" to speak openly about anything that they want. He didn't have to say any of this, whether it's the "truth" or not, and it may not have been his responsibility to give his opinions on these things.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
  61. Freygunnr

    General Fuller has not been fired for telling the truth, he has been fired for airing his opinion. When General Fuller, as a high-ranking servant of the government and the American people speaks his opinion in a public forum, he is speaking for the US Army and the American people even though this is not his official role. If he forgot this fact after years of discipline, he is now reminded. Put simply: do not shoot your mouth off when it is not your job or the forum to do so.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
  62. Olgaki

    Military leaders are not diplomats. They aren't authorized, nor should they be, to speak to the public or the media in their official capacity with respect to policy decisions or foreign relations. We are a democracy where a civilian controls the military, not the other way around. Smart people will know what I mean by that.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
  63. Jose Wan Sekiavich

    Who cares – what are we doing there anyway? Why are we giving money to them? Let us take care of our own rather than keep fighting all these needless wars! Let these countries kill each other until there is no one left standing. Let's take care of our own here first.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
  64. Epidi

    It's not surprising that those at the top want to keep up 'appearances' for the general public, trying to make tus think they are in charge & in control of the situation, when the reality is much darker. I'm used to being lied to by politicians, corporations, and those 'in charge'. But that doesn't mean I like it. I feel for the general. It's good to see not everyone is a "Yes" man when it isn't true.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
  65. Ernest W. Campbell

    Thank you for addressing this travesty and for suggesting that Allen move quickly to fix it..

    November 7, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
  66. Kathy Schofield

    Please do not let this story die. The General was correct and the American people know it. General Allen is the one who should be fired.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
  67. BoFo9090

    Allen should be fired for denying the truth.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
  68. Dan Bednarik

    Maybe they couldn't "handle the truth"..

    November 7, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
  69. Jesus

    More military personnel need to come out and tell it like it really is. Too many wind up getting killed because those in a position to speak out never do. You are a hero. Fuller!!!

    November 7, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
  70. Mike from Boise

    Sorry General Allen, but General Fuller's statements are true and yours are those of a politician. When the leader of a country that we have invested as much blood and money in makes a statement like that it's time for him to be held accountable for it.
    General Fuller; Thank you for your service and your candor sir.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
  71. Jason

    Well, he had to know that speaking out would get him in trouble. Other generals have been fired for roughly the same thing recently (i.e., not knowing when to keep their mouth shut). While his comments certainly lacked military dicipline, firing may be a bit harsh. I think he should be called into his bosses office and had a good butt chewing. However to fire a man with 30 years of service to his country for a momentary lapse of judgement seems overkill.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
  72. Ken

    A key part of his job was diplomacy... he failed to speak in a way that preserved his ability to work within the team that existed... we can't change out the Afghani-selected members of the team, but we can change him out. He comrpomised his own ability to do the job asked of him. It sucks, and I don't doubt he's speaking honestly, but sometimes tact matters just as much.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
  73. Tom

    Once again the wisdom of the new testament has been demonstrated: "The truth shall set you free"

    November 7, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
  74. AL in West Palm

    I don't remember who said this, "In this country we have the freedom of speech, but we should be prudent not to exercise it." (I'm paraphrasing here) but in this instance it rings true. Since when do we, as Americans, ask for and applaud our leaders to lie to our faces?

    November 7, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
  75. gelinote

    Please keep this story alive until Allen reverses his decision and Maj. Gen. Peter Fuller gets his job back.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
  76. OnTheRoad

    People need to learn and accept that even the 'Truth' will not protect you! If this general did not know that his 'Telling the Truth' was going to get him in trouble with the higher ups then he was not smart enough to be a 'General'!

    November 7, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
  77. Chuck Bettis

    Wolf,
    Honorable men don't punish others for telling the truth. Maybe if we had a few more generals like Fuller that were willing to talk in terms of reality, we wouldn't have thousands of dead soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
  78. Son of a Vet

    Thanks, Wolf, for shedding light on this cover-up. Diplomacy is good, but truth is better. We need to stanch the bleeding, and get out of Afghanistan NOW.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
  79. Cunnifer

    Regardless if it's true or not.

    A man of such of highly decorated service in the Military should know proper decorum. One does not go to some Media outlet as a Commander on the ground and bash the people of the country or administration of the country that is currently housing your military forces.

    To ignore the political incorrectness of his actions would give a bad image of the top commanders of our military, Friend or not.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
  80. Church

    This phony war will continue to bleed the American economy and line the pockets of the Military Industrial Complex as it has for decades if you count the Cold War and Iraq. Lies will prevail, as usual.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
  81. Michael SC

    The military and the Truth. 2 worlds collide. Thats a fact for every military in every country in the world.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  82. Sharon L

    Great, he "tells the truth" by giving his opinion to the press. But, as Deputy CC to NTM-A, part of his job includes daily engagements with leaders within the Afghan Ministries of Interior and Defense. Are you naive enough, Wolf, to think that his comments won't reach the leaders he's supposed to be working with? That they won't affect his working relationship with them? Afghans are a proud people, which you should know as a correspondent, and calling them out publicly like this is not productive – in fact, it hinders relations with them.

    It's nice that he has such an honest opinion, but let's be real, do you really think that any of the service members over there don't have the same take on Karzai's comments? They're just mission-focused enough to bite their tongues and keep matching forward to the objective. Fuller just let go of his ego long enough that he thought airing his opinion and frustration was more important than the mission, and for that, he was (rightly) removed from his post. As a 2-star, he surely knew better.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  83. Eugene Frank MD

    Sadly, despite pre-election promises of more transparency in govt, more candor to the American public, Pres Obama has yet, himself to support that promise. As he as yet to comment on the arrests and abuse of peaceful demonstrators against Wall Street greed, yet to defend WikiLeaks as a follow-up on the Pentagon Papers, suppressing more than ever dissent in his own party, he is out of touch, out of stride, lost in cloud politics and hoping that the GOP is so much more out of step with America's needs, that he will win by default: if he loses, it will be de fault of his leadership.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
  84. Felicia 123

    This is sad that a member of the US military cannot tell the American people the truth. We should get out of the Middle East, and leave all of them to fend for themselves. If the Afghanistan government want to side with Pakistan, then they should.
    This is another Vietnam. Thank you Bush administration for screwing things up in this area of the world.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
  85. Thimble220

    Wolf,
    New allegations by a woman on Herman Cain that you just aired. I don't know if this he said/she said is true. What I do know is that the attorney representing the woman that came public today is the same attorney that took down Meg Whitman for the Senate in California last year. You might remember that Whitman's housekeeper made the same type of appearance with this same attorney by her side. How about showing both announcements side by side. One can only wonder who is paying this attorney. I always say that a "good journalist" follows the trail before he/she reports anything.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  86. Paul

    Hero military leaders have been fired throughout history. They tell the truth, which always comes out in the end. When it happens, the general can say his comments fell on deaf ears. Here, here General...a man not afraid to waiver when the wind blows a different direction.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
  87. MikeyKitch

    Seriously, I wish the Army had more officers that acted like 1st Sgts and would tell it how they see it. As soldiers we are supposed to be the honorable ones (it includes telling the truth when it hurts). Soldiers are not diplomats and should never be, this is not to say they shouldn't be respectful. He isn't saying something that 90% of soldiers aren't thinking and while his comments were to Politico, it's not like he was standing at the UN saying these things.

    Reprimanded sure, his command taken away no. Only thing that will do is have more soldiers lose respect for the higher brass. They are more interested in getting their bronze stars just for going overseas when the ones at the front are doing the job.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  88. YaNo

    "He made a major mistake and should move quickly to fix it." The mistake he made was telling the truth? How does one 'fix' telling the truth? Come on Wolf, you can't take both stances at the same time, in the same editorial piece

    November 7, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
  89. Aidan

    Sorry, but he's in the military. If you consider his comments "undiplomatic" then you understand that he behaved improperly. Hero or not, he's a member of the military and must act as such. There are plenty of men fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq who have opinions that differ from the official U.S. opinion. They, too, must keep their mouths shut. I also, like the author, agree with everything he said and believe that people need to hear it. That does not mean that he should not be responsible for what he CHOOSES to say as a member of a military.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  90. Joe Seattle

    If history has any lessont to offer, certainly one is that you must watch your tongue when you're a citizen of a fascist nation.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
  91. Erik Jensen

    What is with our military leadership and their inablity to admit the truth? Did Fuller say anything that hasn't already been reported in the past? Is there anybody who doesn't believe Karzai doesn't have a lose screw? We continue to support him because there is no one else. But that doesn't mean he isn't erratic. What a mess.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
  92. Mike

    This is why the American people are so PO'd. No matter where you look, our "leaders" are in CYA mode. It's infuriating.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
  93. James PDX

    “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.”

    But this one is:

    "...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..."

    Once a country's leader makes a statement like that, it's time to get out and take all of our toys and money with us.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
  94. mmaster

    I couldn't agree more Wolf!
    It's pretty bad when telling the truth is absolutely the
    'wrong' thing to do!
    This is one good reason why many Americans want this war to end.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
  95. Common Sense

    Hero gets thrown out too many times. This is one such time. Working up through the ranks in the military does not make one a hero.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
  96. Madison

    I'm sorry, but a 2-star general has a political as well as military role to play. In that regard, he has every right to make his opinions known to his superiors. He also has the right to resign his position and move the discussion into the public domain.

    He does not have the right to air his views on the political implications of international actions while he is a member of the armed forces. Unless he is in charge of resolving the political issues in Afghanistan (he isn't), he is merely making the job more difficult for those who are responsible.

    He was justifiably fired for his very poor judgment.

    A senior officer should know better.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  97. L. Taylor

    Seems to me that in order to keep your job it's in your best interest to be a liar. Hence, Obama being able to keep his. It is a sad day when an American hero does what the Constitution grants him the right to do (which he has fought to protect over the course of 30 years) and gets fired for it. Meanwhile snakes on Wall Street mismanage our economy and get billions in bonuses. Am I the only one that sees this as an issue? Maybe America will wake up b4 it's too late. Maybe...

    November 7, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
  98. ex af

    Blitzer, you're an idiot. You know NOTHING about the US military and the chain of command. If you are a general officer, you follow orders and ensure that others do what you tell them to do. You do not have authority or the right to discuss what you personally think about the country that you are assigned to. That is a career ender. Its been done before, Singlaub in Korea, MacArthur in Korea (but there were a host of other issues). IF he was too stupid not to know that, then he was clueless in his 30 years of service and that is irregardless of the medals and combat he was in. We have civilian control of the military. You want political comments, talk to the state department or talk to the President. And officer who makes comments like he did outside of the chain of command is going to be cashiered. And rightly so. You know better than to do this in the military.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  99. Stephen Pietropaoli

    Sorry, Wolf but you are dead wrong on this one. The accurachy or veracity of General Fuller's opinions are not the point. He had no business disparaging Afghan leaders in a public forum. Those who serve in uniform may need to vent from time to time ... but POLITICO is not the forum for venting. That's why we have chaplains ... spouses ... and trusted advisors. Military leaders have an important role in advising our civilian leadership on key issues ... but it is incumbent on them to do so professionally ... and privately. General Allen had no choice.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
  100. Henry Miller

    Shooting messengers is one of the favourite pastimes of politicians–a class that apparently includes General Allen.

    November 7, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
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