HOT TOPICS ▶ Honduras Elections     Target: Iran     The Real Baltimore     Reality Asserts Itself     United Kingdom    

  August 6, 2014

Afghan Soldier Kills US General, America's Highest-Ranking Fatality Since Vietnam

Fmr. chief of staff to Colin Powell Lawrence Wilkerson discusses the recent killing of a U.S. General by an Afghan insider and the mess America will leave behind after its withdrawal
Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here


Share to Facebook Share to Twitter

Finally, News that brings out Facts usually concealed or edited out for Nielsen Ratings-Bravo! - Rev. David
Log in and tell us why you support TRNN


Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Government and Public Policy Lawrence Wilkerson's last positions in government were as Secretary of State Colin Powell's Chief of Staff (2002-05), Associate Director of the State Department's Policy Planning staff under the directorship of Ambassador Richard N. Haass, and member of that staff responsible for East Asia and the Pacific, political-military and legislative affairs (2001-02). Before serving at the State Department, Wilkerson served 31 years in the U.S. Army. During that time, he was a member of the faculty of the U.S. Naval War College (1987 to 1989), Special Assistant to General Powell when he was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1989-93), and Director and Deputy Director of the U.S. Marine Corps War College at Quantico, Virginia (1993-97). Wilkerson retired from active service in 1997 as a colonel, and began work as an advisor to General Powell. He has also taught national security affairs in the Honors Program at the George Washington University. He is currently working on a book about the first George W. Bush administration.


JESSICA DESVARIEUX, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Jessica in Baltimore. And welcome to this edition of The Wilkerson Report.

Now joining us is Larry Wilkerson. He is the former chief of staff of U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, and he's currently an adjunct professor at the college of William & Mary. And he's also a regular contributor to The Real News.

Thanks for joining us, Larry.


DESVARIEUX: So, Larry, a lot of of news breaking over this general that was killed in Afghanistan. What do you make of this? What does this say about our ability to actually transition power over to the Afghans?

WILKERSON: General Greene was the deputy commander of the Combined Security Transition Command, which is the entity that is supposed to effect the transition of power from essentially the U.S. to the Afghan government, such as it will be, I hope. And he was an engineer by training. So here you have a specialist who is there probably to do the kinds of things that engineers do to make sure that the institutional infrastructure of Kabul and elsewhere as could be impacted was ready, ready for the new leadership in Afghanistan, ready for the UnitedStates to minimize its presence.

So the fact that he was killed, tactically speaking, doesn't say much, except that we still have an inability to weed out the security threats within the Afghan forces--forces, incidentally, of course, that we've trained. This individual I think we had had in the forces for a couple of years before he got into the bathroom with his service weapon and dispatched some 15 or 16 people, either killing them or wounding them. This is an indicator strategically that we have not, as we did not do in Iraq with Iraqi forces, train them very well or instilled in them the kind of patriotism, the kind of desire to protect Afghanistan and the central government in Kabul that should have been there, if it could in any event be instilled in them. I suspect it probably couldn't.

So this is going to be a difficult transition, to say the least. And it's up in the air, I think, as to what Afghanistan looks like in a year or so. My guess right now would be it will look a lot like Iraq does today--a real mess, a mess that in part we are responsible for.

DESVARIEUX: Yeah. And can you elaborate a little bit more about our level of responsibility there?

WILKERSON: We spent so much money, Jessica, in Afghanistan and in Iraq that we could probably have given every Iraqi citizen and every Afghan citizen somewhere in the neighborhood of a annual wage or better had we just handed it over and left. I daresay that might have made a more prosperous Afghanistan and people who are more interested in a central government. It could not have possibly done any worse than we have done. Much of the money we paid out, billions of dollars, approaching $2-3 trillion now, I'm told by people who ought to know, went to U.S. contractors, and U.S. personnel in general, who were more or less more interested in profit than they were in helping Afghanistan. So you combine that with a really poor strategy from the start with regard to any kind of counterinsurgency, where you'd need a density of forces that is so enormous, few nations could even afford to put them on the ground in any country with a significant population and you have a United States that has halfheartedly--foolheartedly, we might say--lingered in Afghanistan for a decade plus and who's going to pay for that by seeing not much change once it leaves. Sad though that prognosis might be, I fear it's closer to the truth than any optimistic prognosis.

DESVARIEUX: Alright. Larry Wilkerson, thanks you so much for joining us.

WILKERSON: Thanks for having me, Jessica.

DESVARIEUX: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.


DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at

latest stories

Paul Jay On Our Need For Monthly Donors
Undoing the New Deal: Roosevelt Created A Social Safety Net, Not Socialism (pt3)
The Only Peace Process is Palestinian Freedom
A Chicago Alderman Introduced A Water Affordability Ordinance. Does Baltimore Need One Too?
State of Emergency Declared in Southern California
To Fight Crime We Must Address Root Causes, Says Mayor of Compton, CA
DNC's Unity Commission Further Dividing the Party
Children's Health Insurance Program to Expire Under GOP Tax Bill
Hariri's Unresignation is Saudi's Latest Failure
Palestinians Resist Israel and its US Enabler
Coal, Lies and Renewable Energy, Australian Style
Bernie Sanders and Ben Jealous Hold Healthcare Rally in Baltimore
Mystery Surrounding Detective's Death Heightens Mistrust of Police
Unlike US Embassy, Palestinians Will Not Be Moved
Greece Emerges from Economic Crisis with Increased Inequality
Reporter's Harassment Sparks a #MeToo Moment at WNYC
The Argument for Closing Low-Enrollment Schools is Wrong, Advocates Say
Undoing the New Deal: Truman's Cold War Buries Wallace and the Left (pt2)
Trump's 'Criminal' Jerusalem Move Could Backfire
Is Saudi Arabia Destroying Yemen to Plunder It?
A Semblance of Justice For Walter Scott
Senator Al Franken Resigns
Mayor Chokwe Lumumba Wants to Make Jackson the Most Radical City on the Planet
Bankrupt Greece Becomes a Major Military Spender and 'Sales Agent' for NATO
Residents Say Police Lockdown in Wake of Cop's Death is Unconstitutional
The Whole Bushel: It's Hard To Tell From Your Bio
Ben Jealous: Maryland Needs Medicare-for-All
Preemptive Strike on North Korea: Is Trump Wagging the Dog?
Trump's Jerusalem Embassy Move Was Long in the Works
Brazil's Corruption Scandal Ensnares Anti-Corruption Judge,, The Real News Network, Real News Network, The Real News, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of Independent World Television inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and The Real News Network.

All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network. Click here for more

Problems with this site? Please let us know

Web Design, Web Development and Managed Hosting