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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

LTC Shaffer interviewed about LTG McCrystal

From Fox News:

With Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal taking over as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, the war there now will be led by a former head of the Joint Special Operations Command, a master of the kind of covert operations and counterinsurgency tactics that have become decisive in this age of asymmetric warfare....

"I actually briefed him at least three times," recalled U.S. Army Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, a former Army intelligence officer who served two tours in Afghanistan and now is attached as a reservist to the Center for Advanced Defense Studies in Washington.

Shaffer recalled working directly with McChrystal in support of Joint Task Force 121, an elite special-ops unit that excels in the capturing and killing of high-value enemy targets.

In that specialized realm, both men boast extraordinary experience: Units under McChrystal's command were credited with capturing Saddam Hussein and with killing Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the head of Al Qaeda in Iraq. And the records supporting Shaffer's Bronze Star, awarded to the Ohio native in 2004, state that "his actions contributed to [the] killing or capturing of more than 100 Taliban fighters."

"The press talks about [McChrystal] being adaptive, being able to adjust and make decisions which are practical," Shaffer said."And I saw that firsthand, where he was able to make an adjustment which he didn't want to make. But we were able to go in with the facts and lay out to him the issues, and he begrudgingly made the change. And by making the change, he allowed us to be successful. So I think he's a very pragmatic commander, from my experience."