– U.S. General Fired for Verbal Attack on Afghan Leader (FOX News, Nov. 05, 2011):
A top U.S. general in Afghanistan was fired Friday for making disparaging remarks about Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his government.
Maj. Gen. Peter Fuller, deputy commander of the NATO training mission in Afghanistan, made the remarks in an interview with Politico that was published Thursday.
Fuller told Politico that major players in the Afghan government are “isolated from reality.” Fuller reacted angrily to claims from Karzai that Afghanistan would side with Pakistan if it were to go to war with the United States.
Fuller called Karzai’s statements “erratic,” 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’?”
Gen. John R. Allen, the commander of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), released a statement Friday saying Fuller was to be relieved of his duties, “effective immediately.”
“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.
“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.”
Pentagon officials who spoke to Fox News on the condition of anonymity agree that Fuller seemed to go off the rails in the Politico interview, admitting he showed extremely poor judgment. The fish line didn’t help his cause:
“You can teach a man how to fish, or you can give them a fish,” Fuller said. “We’re giving them fish while they’re learning, and they want more fish! [They say,] ‘I like swordfish, how come you’re giving me cod?’ Guess what? Cod’s on the menu today.”
Fuller is not the only loose-lipped general to sink his own ship. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, once the commander of ISAF, was fired by President Obama himself after the Rolling Stone published disparaging remarks he and his staff made about members of the administration.
IT’S THE PIPELINE, STUPID
Murray asserts that the primary motivation for US and British military involvement in central Asia has to do with large natural gas deposits in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. As evidence, he points to the plans to build a natural gas pipeline through Afghanistan that would allow Western oil companies to avoid Russia and Iran when transporting natural gas out of the region.
Murray alleged that in the late 1990s the Uzbek ambassador to the US met with then-Texas Governor George W. Bush to discuss a pipeline for the region, and out of that meeting came agreements that would see Texas-based Enron gain the rights to Uzbekistan’s natural gas deposits, while oil company Unocal worked on developing the Trans-Afghanistan pipeline.
“The consultant who was organizing this for Unocal was a certain Mr. Karzai, who is now president of Afghanistan,” Murray noted.
Murray said part of the motive in hyping up the threat of Islamic terrorism in Uzbekistan through forced confessions was to ensure the country remained on-side in the war on terror, so that the pipeline could be built.
“There are designs of this pipeline, and if you look at the deployment of US forces in Afghanistan, as against other NATO country forces in Afghanistan, you’ll see that undoubtedly the US forces are positioned to guard the pipeline route. It’s what it’s about. It’s about money, it’s about oil, it’s not about democracy.”
The Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline is slated to be completed in 2014, with $7.6 billion in funding from the Asian Development Bank.
Murray was dismissed from his position as ambassador in 2004, following his first public allegations that the British government relied on torture in Uzbekistan for intelligence.