Opinion Brief

Should badmouthing Karzai have gotten a U.S. general fired?

An American general loses his job for criticizing Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Were the general's remarks irresponsible... or daringly honest?

U.S. military leaders have fired one of the top-ranking American commanders in Afghanistan, Major Gen. Peter Fuller, after he made disparaging comments about Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who recently said his country would side with Pakistan in a war with the U.S. Fuller told Politico that Karzai is erratic, out of touch, and ungrateful for the sacrifices Americans have made for Afghanistan. Fuller's boss, Gen. John Allen, said such "inappropriate public comments" could undermine efforts to stabilize Afghanistan. Should the remarks have cost Fuller his job?

Fuller deserves a medal, not a pink slip: Karzai "has openly said he will side with our enemies and has threatened to join the Taliban in the past," says Robert Spencer at Jihad Watch. He is not a true ally, and treating him like one is "foolish," the sort of "fantasy-based policymaking" that will get the U.S. ever deeper into trouble in Afghanistan. Eventually everyone will see that Fuller is a hero for being the "one U.S. official willing to tell the truth.""Top U.S. General fired for telling the truth about the Karzai regime"

Obama had to fire Fuller, even if he was right: "I don't blame Obama for firing Fuller," says Jonathan Turley at his blog. "No president can have military leaders making public comments in opposition to policies and political figures." But Fuller's right — Karzai has become like the "crazy uncle" we can't say anything about even though he's threatening to kill us and is stealing us blind. Obama's real mistake is continuing the war and pretending all's well."Obama administration fires General for calling Karzai 'erratic' and 'divorced from reality'"

Fuller's mistake was speaking out publicly: Fuller is not the first to complain about Karzai, says Mark Thompson at TIME. Other U.S. commanders have said far worse, albeit in private. But "it is not a good sign when what everyone is saying privately cannot be stated publicly." That means our leaders are trying to keep taxpayers and "the troops — the ones dying" in the dark. Maybe it's the U.S., not Karzai, that's really "isolated from reality.""Truth: A firing offense"

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