McChrystal: Americans need to engage with world
Retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal says the Afghan war is winnable.
January 22nd, 2011
12:18 PM ET

McChrystal: Americans need to engage with world

Retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who was replaced as the leader of U.S. forces in Afghanistan last year after a damaging magazine profile, says Americans need to stay informed about world events and engage with other cultures.

"The reality is that most of us have a very limited understanding of most of the parts of the world where we're invested," McChrystal told an audience Friday in Portland, Oregon, according to The Oregonian. "We have an absolute need to build relationships at the personal level, the organizational level and the regional level."

Less than 20 percent of Americans speak a second language, while nearly of half of Europeans do, he said.

Failure to understand Afghan culture and attitudes undermined U.S. efforts to gain influence in Afghanistan after the Soviets were driven out, he said, according to the Oregonian.

While Americans expected Afghans to be grateful for U.S. backing in that fight, the Afghans felt Americans failed to appreciate their sacrifices against America's greatest rival, he said.

Despite foreign armies' long history of failure in Afghanistan, McChrystal told the audience he believes the current war is winnable.

"In reality, most wars have nobody win," McChrystal said. "What we're trying to do now is have the Afghans win the war in Afghanistan."

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Gen. Stanley McChrystal • Military • Oregon • U.S. • World
soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. banasy

    Oh, for goodness sake, it's come down to "my sacrifice is bigger and better than your sacrifice?" America's ego is too large and Afghanistan thinks we're not appreciative of what they've lost? I get the gist of what is trying to be said, but can't they do better than making it sound like a pi$$ing contest?

    January 22, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Azrael

    I'm still disappointed that Obama allowed this man to be pressured into resigning over that article, personally I would have promoted him. We need leaders like him who speak his mind not Petreus. He was a butt kissing yes man under Bush and then as soon as Obama was in office changed all his opinions so he could still be a butt kissing yes man. All that butt kissing appears to be good for his career but I bet it's hell on his knees. McCrystal was the right man for Afghanistan, I can't beleive we replaced him with a guy whos policies allowed Iraq to turn so ugly.

    January 22, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jim Brieske

    Hey idiot writer! You can't compare the fact 20% of Americans speak a second lanquage to 50% of Europeans speaking one! Geography makes it far more easier for Europeans to learn a second languages. The different language speaking countries are right next to each other! If you are screwing a French woman and you are an Englishman, there's a much higher probability the Englishman will learn French and vice versa..
    You oughta be happy it's only 20% here because we have the oceans separating us from them. Otherwise, we could all be possibly speaking German as a second language.

    January 22, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      20% Americans that able to speak foreign languages are "FOREIGN BORN" citizens. How can Americans learn other languages? Everytime they hear others speak foreign languages, they laugh and make fun of them. Well, who is the looser now?

      January 22, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Azrael

      @Jim Geography makes it easier? Wow and all this time I just thought I had trouble learning languages like some people every culture has is because I have a hard time with foreign languages. Guess I'll just fly to europe and pick it up easy. *L* oh and if geography makes it easier to learn and thats our excuse for not knowing foriegn languages than how come there are so many hispanics who are bilingual? By your reasoning if only geography makes europe easier to learn in does that simply mean that hispanics are smarter than us?

      January 22, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim Brieske

      Jack and Azrael. First Azrael, you fukung moron. do not EVER address me again. Europeans can jump on a train and be in another country in an hour. Not have to fly 8 and 15 minutes or have the 3 to 4 hours time preparing to aboard. That's over 12 hours to Europe and it's longer depending where you live in the USA. Twelve hours or one hour, who is going to enter another country and socialize with foreigners more? Be proud to be an American, you piece of sh/t. That includes you too, Jack.
      Oh and I speak, German, some Spanish, some Russian, some French and some Korean. Also Mexico is not a foreign country. It is a departing area used by the Mexican Elites to rid themselves of their poor by putting them off on us. The best thing to do is machine gun illegal aliens from bunkers as they attempt to cross our border. This will quickly stop them from wanting to enter our country illegally.

      January 22, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim Brieske

      corrections: Not have to fly 8 hours and 15 minutes. And it's board not aboard.

      January 22, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • No name calling necessary

      Why is it some people can't disagree without calling the other person an idiot? Also, are you it wasn't McChrysta who made that point? Maybe he's the "idiot" who dared have an opinion different from yours

      January 22, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      German as a second language,Jim? Yes,I'd love the idea! After all,it's much pretter than Spanish and one of the most beautiful languages there is!!!

      January 22, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      And I forgot to mention that any language is far prettier than that filthy Tea Party lingo spoken by so many Americans these days in this country!!! But I guess that you just don't see it that way,do you Jim???

      January 22, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • fishfry001

      Many of those Europeans are speaking English as their second language. Hah!

      January 22, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim Brieske

      Daniel. Yes, German as a second language a**hole. Out of respect for our neighbor, Mrs. Flood. She found me knocked out on the side of our street while walking to the store. I had crashed my Gold Schwinn 5 speed and hit the curb with my head. I awoke in the hospital.
      I would provide my teacher's last names but it is obvious you are an a**hole who is much less intelligent than most people and probably wouldn't know a German name if you'd seen one. So go fuk yourself.

      January 22, 2011 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • emily

      Jim, even your English isn't all that great. Perhaps you should take a bit of time to review it before you go ranting on the internet about language and insane biblical holy war strategies.

      January 23, 2011 at 12:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      Spoken like a true,hateful,ingorant Tea Partier. Thanks for showing your colors,Jim!

      January 23, 2011 at 2:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      Sorry folks,I meant to write ignorant not "ingorant" in the post above. That was a missprint.

      January 23, 2011 at 2:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Jim Brieske

      Sorry Daniel,I don't know what got into me. That stupid comment I posted above was truly uncalled for and especially that Tea Party salute I gave you. I may not know German but I do know some French. I must have had a little too much Jim Beam's whiskey as I often take a snork before I blog. I again apologize for the Tea Party lingo.

      January 23, 2011 at 3:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Jerry

      This Jim Brieske is a national disgrace for blogging in here with his filthy language. Has he no decency in him and doesn't he know that women and read these blogs,too??? Not only should CNN block his comments here,but the government needs to prosecute this creep!

      January 23, 2011 at 7:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Jim Brieske

      To you whatevers. The comment posted at 330am is not written by me. Obviously, one of you liberal idiots decided if you can not beat me (out argue me) then you myswell join me. Thanks for the compliment.
      Emily. My English is fine. It's your reasoning skills that are way underdeveloped. I never used the term holy war. Because there would not be a holy war. The enemy is about to defeat us. The goal of war is to win. Im saying, we can win. We don't have to lose and the result is forever. There won't be a holy war because we have the ability to annihilate them.
      But President Obama and the General in charge have decided to let the enemy and Karzai decide how the war is fought. That's how you lose to a far less superior opponent.

      January 23, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      If you consider Tea Party lingo to be "fine" English Brieske,you're right. But the English language is extensive enough that one can find the words without using the filthy ones like you do. But what disgusts most of all is the pride you seem to take in using them!

      January 23, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jack

    USA has been egaged around the world. However, the arrogant, and look down on other cultures are immense. What can I say, Americans still hate and racist among their fellow Americans. Therefore, forget about getting along with others outside the good old USA.

    January 22, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      Quite true,Jack. We Americans are very arrogant and self righteous and that's why so few of us speak a second language. We as such need to get over our superiority complex!

      January 22, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. banasy

    Uh...not if he hispanics don't bother to learn English. And may don't. Not fluently, anyway.
    Anyone visiting or residing in another country can learn enough of that language to get by.

    I don't equate that with speaking the language fluently. Or, more precisely, speaking a second language.

    January 22, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Azrael

      I'm sorry to say but if you break it down by race their probably a higher percentage of bilinguals among hispanics then there is among caucasians in this country.

      January 22, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • fishfry001

      A bilingual country is a recipe for social disaster and divisiveness. It works in Europe because you have so many different countries with different languages all jammed together like the states here. It's a completely different situation. Conversely, look at the tensions in Canada between the French and English speaking factions. It just doesn't work on a national level. If we don't have the balls (falling prey to totally stupid PCism) to pass a law making English the official language of this country and demand without exception that those who want to live here learn the language and assimilate into OUR culture, then we are doomed to be a fractured nation. I'm an American citizen, born and raised. I don't speak Spanish and as such I'd likely find it next to impossible to get a job in Miami. There's something supremely wrong with that picture and I'm fed up with the Liberal Politically Correct Left that facilitates the destruction of our country and out culture.

      January 22, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Azrael

      @Fishfry Linguistics has nothing to do with the anymosity between the french areas of canada and the english areas of canada. It has more to do with how one side (english regions) treat the other side (french regions). In a lot of cases they are treated like second class citizens and thats enough to make anyone upset.

      January 23, 2011 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. banasy

    Ah, you may be correct, but there is a who segment of caucasians that refuse to speak anything but the mother tongue in this country...even if they know English.

    I'd really like to know how they've arrived at their figures; I wonder what protocols they used? Margin of error? You know, all the hyperbole they like to throw around?

    Again, I don't feel knowing a few words in a foreign language counts as bilingual.

    January 22, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Azrael

      I agree they use a lot of hyperbole, they love it. I also agree there are a lot of caucasians in this country who refuse to learn anther language but I think thats a big part of what Gen McCrystal is addressing with the article and that statement in particular. To many people in this country have no desire to be part of the "world". I for one would love to learn languages but simply have no knack for it.

      January 22, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim Brieske

      It's going to be an American who saves the world, again. Could it be because our country consists of people from all nations? That we are free and the opportunity to work hard to improve your children's futures exists.
      I had sympathy for Illegal Alien's plight. Noone decides where they are born. Now I say, shoot the Illegal Aliens before they cross the border. I changed my position because I realized, Americans are being used by the Mexican Elite. Our Miss USA fell at the beauty pagent in Mexico City and the Mexican Elite (who were basically the entire audience) laughed.
      The Mexican Elite are ungreatful pigs. Killing Illegal Aliens and sending them to Heaven by the thousands is permitted.

      January 22, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      And I'm getting sick and tired of reading your vulgar posts,Brieske. You ought to be in jail for posting on this page were women and children can see your posts. Were you raised in a barn or what???

      January 23, 2011 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Jim Brieske

      John. We should teach American children that Freedom of Speech does not exist in this country anymore? That thinking outside the box in responding to a question is not good. That's what you are saying.
      Your post is ludicrous and pathetic.

      January 23, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      And yours is filthy and uncalled for, Lowlife!

      January 23, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim Brieske

      John. Fuk you. You haven't presented an argument whatsoever. From the beginning, you decided that attacking my cuzz words and intelligence level evaluations like a pu/ssy is better than sticking on subject. I literally have a very special ability.
      Apologize to me and you best be quick about it or I will use that God given ability.

      January 23, 2011 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
  7. VStarGuy

    I don't know if McCrystal was "coaxed" or payed to make that asinine statement. The only way to defeat the guerrilla enemy in Afghanistan is to
    eliminate all who support the guerrilla faction. Fortunately, our Judeo-Christian culture will not allow that to happen! IE. Since they are guerrilla fighters and use their advantage of being guerrilla fighters, IE. control the situation, how can McCrystal make such a statement.
    The Vietnam war should have taught these military geniuses that guerrill tacticts far surpass conventional tacticts. Don't forget, we defeated the British, a mighty power, in 1775. In that war, the enemy of the British were the Colonists...another victorious guerrilla force! In Afghanistan,
    we are the same as the British redcoats! We are trying to destroy an enemy we can't identify...until they attack us! Can someone explain how we beat an invisible enemy? Does McCrystal give a detail plan? I didn't think so. His statement is a psychological attempt to bolster the moral of our troops with total disregard for reality.

    January 22, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim Brieske

      VStarGuy. One million soldiers and you sweep the country killing every male age 13 and over. Starting with Karzai. At the same time, you bomb villages and towns.
      Total control will be achieved eventually. All you have to do is believe in Heaven and understand what you are trying to achieve is forever. This allows the killing of millions and millions of Afghanis.

      January 22, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jim Brieske

    NameCallingNotNewhatever. The General has not posted an absurd comment in rebuttal, like those two dou/chebags Jack and Azrael did.

    January 22, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Jim, you need to get back on your meds, dude!

      January 22, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Azrael

      Hmmm swearing and name calling and preaching mass murder. Yeah you have nothing of value to contribute to this discussion. You preach proud to be an american at the same time as mas murder and telling me I don't have free speach rights. Yeah that sounds hypocritical your definately a tea partier or GOP member. I for one am proud to be an american but will never be proud of the america you want use to be.

      January 23, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Carlos

    Hah! Are any of yehs a General in the U.S Army? Have yehs even served IN the Army.....? The only people who are learning about different cultures are the men and women who put on the uniform every day. Arrogant yehs say? Well, we deserve to be arrogant, but we do so in a fashion that doesn't make us look ignorant. So keep on thinking of something witty to say when yehs finished reading this. That's all ya'll can do, THINK and not do a damn thing about the more pressing matters that plague this world. If it wasn't for the U.S, the whole world would be flung back into the dark ages.

    January 22, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      Quite wrong,Carlos. We Americans need to quit interfering in the affairs of other countries where we have no vested interests. Isolation is a very good idea whose time has come and it worked quite well for thousands of years!!!

      January 22, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |

    to bad we couldnt start up the crusades again.

    January 22, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. deej

    @ Jim Brieske:
    My goodness, you certainly are the hateful one, aren't you, sir?


    January 22, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim Brieske

      deej. Great another stupid person has confronted me! VStarGuy asked, Can someone explain how we beat an invisible enemy? I responded:
      "One million soldiers and you sweep the country killing every male age 13 and over. Starting with Karzai. At the same time, you bomb villages and towns.
      Total control will be achieved eventually. All you have to do is believe in Heaven and understand what you are trying to achieve is forever. This allows the killing of millions and millions of Afghanis."
      I gave the correct answer.

      January 22, 2011 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Azrael

      @Jim hmmm beleive in heaven? I assume this means your a chirstian of some denomination. Apparently you missed out on the whole Thou Shalt Not Kill part huh? Another good example of why I gave up on christianity, people just love to use religion as justification to kill. Tell me if beleiving in heaven and god whatever makes killing them off alright, how exactly are you any better than the Islamists like Bin Laden?

      January 23, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jack

    Unlike the vast majority of Europeans, I am fluent every single official language spoken within 1,000 miles of my home. Most Europeans would need to learn a half dozen languages to match that accomplishment. The fact that most of them can not simply speaks to their continent's inefficiencies.

    January 23, 2011 at 12:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Jim Brieske

      Jack. I apologize to you. Just read this post of yours and actually you are very smart. The Europeans 50% should be at least 66%.

      January 23, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  13. serialmom

    Hey, who is this "clown", can you say,"bite me." I thought the real enemy was "the wimps in the White House." What about the SCHMOTUS? These are all remarks from Mr. Gen. Diplomacy himself. He is a great one for advice on developing meaningful relationships. He should just stop discharging that weapon he has as a mouth.

    January 23, 2011 at 1:02 am | Report abuse |
  14. Jim Brieske

    I wish to apologize to everybody here for the Tea Party lingo I've been using and the right-wing mumbo-jumbo posted by me on this page. I know how uncalled for it has been and I'm sorry. Forgive me,please!

    January 23, 2011 at 3:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Jerry

      You can apologize by not posting any more of your obscene comments on this page. What's wrong with you anyway? Have you absolutely no decency in you at all???

      January 23, 2011 at 7:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Jim Brieske

      This is not my post either.

      January 23, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim Brieske

      Jerry. Fuk you. Present a reasonable argument on subject that is intelligent and I will have respect for you. You have alot of nerve coming on here and attacking me. Who the fuk are you? I know who I am.
      I will make an example of you if you attack me again.

      January 23, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jerry

      Thanks for the Tea Party salute,Brieske. Such is to expected from an unsavory person like you!

      January 23, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mr. X

    Someone is cowardly posting Jim's name. This person is not fooling everyone.

    January 23, 2011 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Joel2208

      Is that right,Mr. X? How do you know that this Jim just didn't sober up on his own and see the vileness of his remarks? Some people do wise up. I agree that his comments were quite obscene and like Jerry says,he needs to stop posting on this page. The English language is extensive enough that no one needs to use Tea Party lingo to make a point!

      January 23, 2011 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
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