When will the brass finally learn that saying interesting things to reporters will lead to interesting quotes in widely distributed articles that can very easily get one fired? Maj. Gen. Peter Fuller, a (former) commander in Afghanistan, provides us with a fresh example of how a military leader should not talk to reporters. Flagging McCrystal's pretty poorly received statements to Rolling Stone last year, Wired's Spencer Ackerman explains Fuller's predicament:
Gen. John Allen, the commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, just announced that he fired Maj. Gen. Peter Fuller, the deputy commander of the crucial mission to train Afghan security forces. Fuller, a recent arrival to Afghanistan, gave a surprisingly harsh interview to Politico criticizing Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the Afghan generals he mentors as "isolated from reality."
Allen is having none of it. "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 said in a statement.
By the way, that Politico report hit the web on Thursday morning, meaning Fuller was out of a job within about 24 hours. And how bad were Fuller's statements to Politico? Let's just say it didn't exactly promote constructive public diplomacy efforts. Politico's Tim Mak quotes directly:
The two-star general flashed irritation when he brought up Karzai's recent remarks that Afghanistan would side with Pakistan in a war against the U.S., blasting the president’s comments as "erratic," and adding, "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'?"
"When they are going to have a presidential election, you hope they get a guy that’s more articulate in public," Fuller said during a visit to Washington for a conference.
Getting fired from his post in Afghanistan doesn't necessarily mean that Fuller's military career is over, but it's certainly not going to get him any closer to being promoted to Lieutenant General. If McChrystal is any example to follow, however, Fuller might just want to apply for a job with Obama administration.