Obamacare: Why Obama’s Buddies At Anthem Insurance Should Be Investigated

You may recall that the President singled out the Anthem Healthcare Insurance Company for criticism at a critical time in the health care debate.

Anthem is a young company as far as insurance companies go. Anthem began its journey as a “spin-off’ of American General Insurance in the 1980’s. In 2001 Anthem became a “publicly traded” “publicly owned” stock company. In 2004 Anthem merged with Blue Cross Blue Shield and later in 2004 Anthem merged again, this time with WellPoint Insurance Company. Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield is well known for its management of UAW related Health Insurance Programs, programs recently referred to as “Cadillac Health Plans”.

Just days after the President “negotiated” a “partial waiver, modification and delay” of “Obamacare” taxes to be levied on the Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield “Cadillac Health Care Plans”, Anthem Insurance filed a rate increase request in California, a rate increase that would have resulted in up to a 40% price increase for some policy holders. (None of whom participated in the “Cadillac Plans”).  

President Obama was quick, surprisingly quick in fact, to criticize Anthem for the requested rate increase. When one considers how slowly the President responds to things, one might think he had advance notice of Anthem’s plans.

Sample Chrysler/UAW ID Card

Anthem prepared all of the necessary financial reports to support its request to increase “rates” or prices” and those documents were submitted to the regulators for review.

President Obama “rode this horse home” during the Obamacare debates, regularly referring to Anthem’s requested rate increase.

Today, during the President’s speech on the “Patient’s Bill of Rights”, Obama  noted two things relating to Anthem Insurance;  First,  that Anthem was prohibited from increasing rates on its own, that it was governed by regulators and that the regulators noted that Anthem had misstated their claim costs in the “rate increase” request and second; that Anthem subsequently withdrew the request that the President had so thoroughly publicized. I’d venture a guess that Anthem’s rate request is the best publicized rate request in the history of insurance.

Let me recap: Days after getting a “partial waiver, modification and delay” of Obamacare taxes to be levied against “Cadillac Healthcare

Plans”, plans Anthem manages for the UAW, Obama’s buddies at Anthem request a “rate increase” which cannot be supported by the

Obamacare Supporters Protest At Anthem Headquarters

required regulatory filings. Obama uses this “rate request” to demonize all insurance companies during the Obamacare debate and after Obamacare passes, it is noted, incidentally, that the Regulators who oversee requests to increase rates have caught Obama’s buddies at Anthem red handed and then Anthem simply withdrew their request.

During his speech today, the President implied his Administration deserved credit for Anthem withdrawing their rate increase request when he said, “We met with Anthem and convinced them to withdraw their request after they realized the numbers they submitted were wrong”.  

First, I suspect that Anthem knew the numbers were wrong from the beginning. It takes an enormous mistake to submit a filing that would result in a request for a 40% rate increase. Second, by using the word “we” when Obama refers to the requested rate increase discussion he is referring to State insurance regulators in California, not members of his Administration. Obama and members of his Administration met with Anthem prior to the requested rate increase, his Administration did not participate in the “review” of that request.

What a charlatan. 

The new Obamacare regulations had nothing to do with calling out Anthem’s “bogus rating plan” or Anthem’s “unsupported” request to increase prices – existing regulation and the existing regulators in California did so.

The Obama Administration would like you to think that it was just a “coincidence” that Anthem & the UAW received “special treatment” for the Cadillac Health Plans just prior to Anthem’s “requested rate increase” which was “filed” just as final negotiations on Obamacare began.

A complaint media went along without reporting on this scandal even once.

The timing of when “mandatory rate plans” must be filed are set by statute, but has anyone investigated whether Anthem’s rate filing was mandatory or “voluntary”? Wouldn’t you think that an Insurance Company, specially one with such close ties to the President, would double check the “facts and figures” before asking for a 40% rate increase, never mind asking for a rate increase while Obama traveled the Country demonizing insurance carriers?

How fortunate for the President that this despicable request for a 40% rate increase fell into his lap at just the right moment. The fact that the request came from such a close political ally is amazing.                

How stupid do they think we are!

Update: 07/21/2010

State of Colorado’s Review Of Athem Rate Increase Request Continues

A state review of insurance premium increases by Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield that was to end this month is now expected to drag on for several more weeks, officials say.

The analysis into whether individual policy premium hikes of more than 30 percent were justified — despite state approval of the increases months earlier — took a turn, officials said, when investigators questioned whether they had looked at the issue thoroughly enough.

As a result, though the state had closed the bulk of its inquiry in June, state insurance and Anthem officials agreed to continue the analysis, Colorado Division of Insurance spokeswoman Cameron Lewis said.

That means thousands of Colorado consumers who’ve stomached the increases since January and hoped the state review would bring relief must continue to bear the higher premiums.

The review was expected to take eight weeks but is now pushing twice that. Still, it is “very close” to being finished, Lewis said, and it’s not uncommon for some reviews to take nearly a year.

But the regulatory process of allowing Anthem time to respond to any findings and a right to appeal any final action could add four more months — meaning it could be the end of the year before the case is closed.

Additionally, there’s no guarantee the analysis — called a market conduct examination and being handled by a Denver-based consulting firm — will result in a denial of the increase or refunds to more than 100,000 affected consumers.

Anthem, owned by Indianapolis-based WellPoint, has been the focus of several other inquiries across the nation after public outcries over its premium hikes, some as much as 39 percent. The Colorado average was 25 percent, Anthem said.

Three weeks ago, WellPoint agreed to dial down increases to its California customers in response to the criticism, opting for an average 14 percent hike rather than the 25 percent it had announced earlier. The rates could become effective Sept. 1.

The move came just after a California analysis found numerous errors in the company’s rate plan.

The insurer said the increases were necessary to keep it competitive, the result of heathier people dropping coverage in a tough economy. The hikes caused angry reactions nationwide over rising health care costs and turned the provider into the reform debate’s lightning rod.


Obama Annouces “Patient Bill Of Rights” – Why It Means An End To Private Health Care

Obamacare Update: Why you will lose your “private healthcare”. How we will end up with a “single payor“ government managed healthcare system and when you can expect rationing to begin.

Posted on June 22, 2010 by mcauleysworld |
The President was on T.V. again today, repeating the same old tired Obamacare campaign commercial.

Here are facts that the President refuses to admit.

1). Obamacare does not target “healthcare”. Obamacare targets health care “insurance”. That is why Obama met with the heads of Insurance Companies and not with our Country’s doctors. Our Country’s doctors are being ignored.

Obamacare does not “reform” the practice of medicine.

Obamacare does not improve medical care or medical care delivery.

Obamacare does not decrease the costs of medical care, in fact Obama care does not even decrease the cost of medical insurance.

2). Health Insurance Companies do not have the authority to set the “rates” or prices that they charge. Insurance companies have no  authority to set the prices of their policies, let alone to set those prices  wherever they would like.

The process for setting “rates” or “pricing” healthcare insurance policies is one of the most heavily regulated areas of  American business.

President Obama has intentionally and dishonestly misled the American people with his statements concerning medical care, Obamacare and Healthcare Reform.

A). All health care insurance premiums or charges are “pre-approved” by State or Federal regulators. Insurance Companies are required to submit rating plans (pricing plans) to these regulators on an annual (Once a year) or semi-annual basis. (Once every 6 months).

B). Let me repeat, the rating plans must be submitted to State or Federal regulators at least once year. The ratings plans “must be submitted” regardless of whether the healthcare company is requesting a “price” or “rate” increase.

C). Healthcare insurance companies are not allowed, legally, to operate at a financial loss. Let me repeat that statement, “Healthcare insurance companies are not allowed, legally, to operate at a financial loss.” This is true whether the healthcare insurance company is publically owned (public stock), privately owned or a “not for profit company”.

Healthcare insurance companies must, by law, maintain sufficient funds (called reserves) to pay the known and anticipated costs associated with its policyholders medical claims. A failure to maintain a “sufficient” amount of money (or, sufficient reserve levels) subjects the Company’s Executives to both civil and criminal prosecution.

EXAMPLE OF PRESIDENTIAL DISHONESY – Healthcare Reform:  You may recall that the President singled out the Anthem Healthcare Insurance Company for criticism at a critical time in the health care debate. Anthem is a young company as far as insurance companies go. Anthem began its journey as a “spin-off’ of American General Insurance in the 1980’s. In 2001 Anthem became a “publicly traded” “publicly owned” stock company. In 2004 Anthem merged with Blue Cross Blue Shield and later in 2004 Anthem merged again, this time with WellPoint Insurance Company. Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield is well known for its management of UAW related Health Insurance Programs, programs recently referred to as “Cadillac Health Plans”.

Just days after the President “negotiated” a “partial waiver, modification and delay” of “Obamacare” taxes to be levied on the Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield “Cadillac Health Care Plans”, Anthem Insurance filed a rate increase request in California, a rate increase that “requested” up to a 40% price increase. President Obama was quick, surprisingly quick in fact, to criticize Anthem for the requested rate increase. When one considers how slowly the President responds to things, one might think he had advance notice of Anthems plans.

Anthem filed all of the necessary financial reports to support its request to increase “rates” or prices” and those documents were submitted to the regulators for review. President Obama rode this horse home during the Obamacare debates, regularly referring to Anthems requested rate increase. Today, President Obama noted two things relating to Anthem Insurance;  First,  that Anthem was prohibited from increasing rates on its own, that it was governed by regulators and that the regulators noted that Anthem had misstated their claim costs in the “rate increase” request and subsequently withdrew that request.

Let me recap: Days after getting a “partial waiver, modification and delay” of Obamacare taxes to be levied against “Cadillac Health care Plans”, Obama’s buddies at Anthem request a “rate increase” which cannot be supported by the required regulatory filings, Obama uses this “rate request” to demonize all insurance companies during the Obamacare debate and after Obamacare passes, it is noted, incidently, that the Regulators who oversee rate increases, caught Obama’s buddies at Anthem red handed and they withdrew the request. How stupid do they think we are!

When Federal and State regulators consider rate increases they specifically consider Executive and Non-executive salaries and expenses. The President implied today that “his actions” will result in Healthcare Insurance Companies will spend between 80% and 85% of their income on claim payments. The truth is that the Healthcare Insurance companies have traditionally paid 80% to 85% of their income on claims payments.

If a Company spends more than 85% of its revenue on claims payments, it will, coincidently, be entitled to a rate increase, because, the Company is not acting in a prudent manner to ensure the payment of future claims.  


The Government will regulate “Private Healthcare Coverage” out of existence.

President Obama met today with Healthcare Insurance Company Executives, State and Federal Healthcare Regulators.

It is the goal of the Obama Administration to end private healthcare insurance in this country and replace it with the President’s stated “preferred healthcare system”, a single payor government run program.

Private Healthcare Insurance Companies will be regulated out of existence.

The Obama Administration will mandate that additional medical services, treatment, surgery and medications be provided by the Private Healthcare Industry.

Then the insurance regulators will decline the rate increases that the Companies must submit, according to Federal and State Law. Without the requested rate increases and with unchecked and escalating medical costs the private healthcare companies will be forced to close their doors.

The Obama Administration will have achieved its goal and only the Government will remain in the Healthcare Insurance arena.


Healthcare rationing will be directly tied to “total healthcare costs”.

Obamacare adds millions of additional bureaucrats to the healthcare system without adding a single doctor or nurse. Obamacare calls for the creation of 26oo new “regulatory bodies” without adding a single diagnostic testing machine. The costs of American Healthcare will skyrocket, without adding a single procedure or healthcare professional to provide medical care.

On May 11, 2010 the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) revised it early estimate of costs associated with Obamacare. The CBO now says that Obamacare will cost over $1 Trillion Dollars and that the $1 Trillion dollars includes a $500 Million Dollar reduction in payments to Medicare and Medicaid. If we, as a Country, are to maintain Medicare and Medicaid spending at today’s levels, Obama Care will cost, at a minimum,  $1.5 Trillion dollars. http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/114xx/doc11490/LewisLtr_HR3590.pdf

As the Government runs out of money to pay for the treatment of the American people, doctors and hospitals will be forced to provide less treatment, pharmacies will dispense fewer drugs and fewer diagnostic tests will be given.  

President Obama stood in the Capital Building and promised the American People:

“First, you can keep your healthcare, keep your doctor ……”

“That my healthcare proposals won’t add a dime to the deficit”


Then the resident swore to the American People that he would not sign any bill that did …….

Mr. President, would you know the truth if it walked up and kicked you in the ass ……

Have you considered that the Government’s estimates of the costs associated with Obamacare are no more accurate than the Obama Administration’s estimates of oil flowing into the Gulf?

Judge blocks Obama moratorium on deepwater drilling: Secretary of Interior Threatens New Regulation

(CNN) – A federal judge in New Orleans, Louisiana, has blocked a six-month federal moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf.

Several dozen plaintiffs had sued President Barack Obama’s administration, arguing the ban would create long-term economic harm to their businesses. Obama ordered the moratorium after the April 20 explosion of an oil rig off Louisiana that killed 11 people and triggered an underwater oil gusher.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says the government will immediately appeal the ruling to the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.


Federal Judge Blocks Obama’s Offshore Drilling Moratorium in Gulf of Mexico

A federal judge in New Orleans on Tuesday blocked a six-month moratorium on new deepwater drilling projects imposed in response to the massive Gulf oil spill.

The White House promised an immediate appeal. President Obama’s administration had halted approval of any new permits for deepwater drilling and suspended drilling of 33 exploratory wells in the Gulf.

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama believes strongly that drilling at such depths does not make any sense and puts the safety of workers “at a danger that the president does not believe we can afford.”

Several companies that ferry people and supplies and provide other services to offshore drilling rigs asked U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman in New Orleans to overturn the moratorium, arguing it was arbitrarily imposed.

Feldman agreed, saying in his ruling the Interior Department seemed to assume that because one rig failed, all companies and rigs doing deepwater drilling pose an imminent danger.

“An invalid agency decision to suspend drilling of wells in depths of over 500 feet simply cannot justify the immeasurable effect on the plaintiffs, the local economy, the Gulf region, and the critical present-day aspect of the availability of domestic energy in this country,” Feldman wrote.

The moratorium was imposed after the April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that killed 11 workers and blew out the well that has spewed millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf.

The Interior Department said it needed time to study the risks of deepwater drilling. But the lawsuit filed by Hornbeck Offshore Services of Covington, La., claimed there was no proof the other operations posed a threat.

Company CEO Todd Hornbeck said after the ruling that he is looking forward to getting back to work.

“It’s the right thing for not only the industry but the country,” he said.

The moratorium was declared May 6 and originally was to last only through the month. Obama announced May 27 that he was extending it for six months.

In Louisiana, Gov. Bobby Jindal and corporate leaders have said the moratorium will force drilling rigs leaving the Gulf of Mexico for lucrative business in foreign waters.

They say the loss of business will cost the area thousands of lucrative jobs, most paying more than $50,000 a year. The state’s other major economic sector, tourism, is a largely low-wage industry.

In its response to the lawsuit, the Interior Department said the moratorium is necessary as attempts to stop the leak and clean the Gulf continue and new safety standards are developed.

“A second deepwater blowout could overwhelm the efforts to respond to the current disaster,” the Interior Department said.

The government also challenged contentions the moratorium will lead to long-term economic harm. Although 33 deepwater drilling sites were affected, there are still 3,600 oil and natural gas production platforms in the Gulf.

Catherine Wannamaker, a lawyer for environmental groups that intervened in the case and supported the moratorium, called the ruling “a step in the wrong direction.”

“We think it overlooks the ongoing harm in the Gulf, the devastation it has had on people’s lives,” she said. “The harm at issue with the Deepwater Horizon spill is bigger than just the Louisiana economy. It affects all of the Gulf.”


Update: Salazar seeks to reimpose drilling moratorium

By ERICA WERNER Associated Press Writer © 2010 The Associated Press

June 22, 2010, 7:24PM

WASHINGTON — Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says he will issue a new order imposing a moratorium on deepwater drilling after a federal judge struck down the existing one.

Salazar said in a statement Tuesday evening that the new order will contain additional information making clear why the six-month drilling pause was necessary in the wake of the Gulf oil spill. The judge in New Orleans who struck down the moratorium earlier in the day complained there wasn’t enough justification for it.

Salazar pointed to indications of inadequate safety precautions by industry on deepwater wells. He said he would issue a new order in the coming days showing that a moratorium is needed.

The White House also is appealing the judge’s ruling.


McAuleysworld Comments: Just another example of how the Obama Administration is trying to create an Imperial Presidency. An Imperial Presidency is one where the President assumes the power of an Emperor – A single ruler with unlimited power and unlimited authority. Power and authority taken from the people not granted by the people.The Obama Administration views itself as an Imperial Presidency – with President Obama as the omnipotent autocrat – possessing unlimited power, unlimited authority and unrestrained by Constitutional limitations. An autocrat free to ignore his oath to “protect and defend the constitution”, free to selectively enforce or ignore the laws of the land as he chooses, free to implement his policies without the advise or consent of the Congress or the American people.

Ancient Rome started as a Republic.  Like the United States, the Roman Republic was founded after the overthrow of a monarchy. The Roman Republic was based on a Constitution which honored the principles of separation of powers, of a need for a system of checks and balances within the Government.

The end of the Roman Republic was brought about by the Roman leaders who “transitioned” Rome, leaders who “fundamentally transformed” Rome from a Republic to an Imperial State. A state ruled by autocratic Emperors. The Emperors were men who subverted the Roman Constitution for their own power, for their own political gain. The Emperor’s usurped the powers granted to the Roman Senate and Legislative Assembly and after consolidating their power proclaimed themselves perpetual dictators.

Obama acted unilaterally in imposing his “drilling moratorium”. The people of the Gulf States successfully challenged Obama’s actions in the Federal Court, remember the Court or Judiciary is a Branch of Government with power equal to the President and his Executive Branch. In our system of checks and balances the Executive Branch is free to “Appeal” the Federal Court’s decision to a higher Court or to ask Congress to enact a law implementing a moratorium, however, our Constitution not empower the Executive Branch to ignore the Federal Court decision as the Obama Administration is intent on doing.

In stating that the Administration simply intends to issue “A new regulation to replace the old one” the Obama Administration is saying, we don’t like the Court’s decision, so we won’t obey it. We don’t acknowledge that we are governed by the separation of powers enumerated in the U.S. Constitution, that this Administration’s powers supersede those of the Congress and the Judiciary and we will not be bound by the Constitutional limitation of powers imposed on our Administration by the Constitution.

Obama’s Imperial Presidency. America’s 1st Reich or America’s 3rd Reich?

Reich  –noun – 1. (with reference to Germany) empire; realm; nation. First Reich – The Holy Roman Empire until its dissolution in 1806. Second Reich: the German Empire 1871–1919. Third Reich Germany during the Nazi regime 1933–45. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/reich

To Read My Post Discussing Obama’s Imperial Presidency and Border Security/ Open Borders / Amnesty See: https://mcauleysworld.wordpress.com/2010/06/20/fathers-day-reflections-our-childrens-future-in-america-republic-or-imperial-presidency/


DAY 64 In The Gulf: Stopping The Flow Of Oil Into The Gulf – Mr. President, You Need A Better Plan

The current status.

The current plans.

What if the plans don’t work? 

Alternate suggestions for today ….. should we just sit and wait … or should we be working on alternate plans today ……


I don’t care for the title I originally used for the post last night, however, I don’t want to disturb the links already attached to that “title”.

Obama Summons General McChrystal To Explain Remarks Critical of The Administration & Afghan Rules of Engagement

(Reuters) – The White House has summoned the top U.S. general in Afghanistan to Washington to explain controversial remarks critical of the Obama administration, U.S. military and Obama administration officials said on Tuesday.

General McCrystal criticizes "Rules of Enegagement" that put American Troops at unneccessary risk

The move comes a day after General Stanley McChrystal, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, apologized for comments by his aides insulting some of President Barack Obama’s closest advisers in an article to be published in Rolling Stone magazine.

The controversy comes at an inopportune time for Obama, who already is dealing with huge BP Plc oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, trying to get financial industry reform legislation through Congress and hoping to prevent Republicans from taking back control of Congress in November elections.

An Obama administration official said McChrystal had been directed to appear in person at Wednesday’s Afghanistan meeting at the White House “to explain to the Pentagon and the commander-in-chief his quotes in the piece about his colleagues.”

The military officials said McChrystal would be flying from Kabul on Wednesday. It was not immediately clear whether McChrystal would be ousted.

The Rolling Stone article, to be published on Friday, also quoted an aide describing McChrystal’s “disappointment” with his initial one-on-one meeting with Obama last year.

Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke to McChrystal late on Monday and “expressed his deep disappointment with the article and with the comments expressed therein,” a spokesman for Mullen said.

Mullen is the top U.S. military officer.


“I extend my sincerest apology for this profile. It was a mistake reflecting poor judgment and should never have happened,” McChrystal

Commander Addressing The Troops - Afghanistan

 said in a statement on Monday.

The Rolling Stone article, which quoted several McChrystal aides anonymously, portrays a split between the U.S. military and Obama’s advisers at an extremely sensitive moment for the Pentagon, which is fending off criticism of its strategy to turn around the nearly nine-year-old Afghan war.

It quotes a member of McChrystal’s team making jokes about Vice President Joe Biden, who was seen as critical of the general’s efforts to escalate the conflict and who had favored a more limited counter-terrorism approach.

“Biden?” the aide was quoted as saying. “Did you say: Bite me?”

Another aide called White House National Security Adviser Jim Jones, a retired four star general, a “clown” who was “stuck in 1985.”

McChrystal was quoted as saying he felt “betrayed” by the leak of a classified cable from U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry last year. The cable raised doubts about sending more troops to shore up an Afghan government already lacking in credibility.

McChrystal took command of all U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan in June 2009 after his predecessor General David McKiernan was removed for what most experts interpreted as a sign Washington was losing patience with conventional tactics that failed to quell mounting violence.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who fired McKiernan, said on Sunday that McChrystal and other military leaders are confident that the campaign against Taliban insurgents, particularly in southern Afghanistan, is moving in the right direction.

Gates also said on Sunday it was too early to be able to say how many U.S. troops would be withdrawn from Afghanistan and how quickly they would leave when a planned drawdown began in July 2011.

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said over the weekend that the July 2011 drawdown date was “firm,” adding that Washington was seeing signs that the Afghan government was making headway on security.


ABC News reports that:

“President Obama recalled the top U.S. general in the Afghanistan War, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, following a magazine interview in which

British PM David Cameron Meets With General Stanley McCrystal

 McChrystal criticized several top U.S. officials and said he felt betrayed by the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan.” 

 In a profile by Rolling Stone titled “The Runaway General,” McChrystal is characterized as an outsider who did not relate well with the administration, and as a military leader who was “disappointed” with his first meeting with the president.

 The subhead of the story by Michael Hastings reads: “Stanley McChrystal, Obama’s top commander in Afghanistan, has seized control of the war by never taking his eye off the real enemy: The wimps in the White House.”

One of the article’s most disparaging remarks comes from an unnamed adviser to McChrystal, who described the general’s first meeting with Obama.

“Obama clearly didn’t know anything about him, who he was,” the aide said. “Here’s the guy who’s going to run his [expletive] war, but he didn’t seem very engaged. The boss was pretty disappointed.”

 In the article, McChrystal said the president criticized him for speaking too bluntly about needing more troops last fall.

 “I found that time painful,” McChrystal said in the article. “I was selling an unsellable position.”

 McChyrstal also said he felt betrayed by U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry for the ambassador’s criticism of Afghan president Hamid Karzai in a leaked cable.


McAuley’s World Comments:

The General is reported to have been strongly critical of the Obama’s Adminstration’s “rules of engagement”. Congress’s rules of engagement in the Vietnam War led to victory for the Communists in that Country. I posted the following in June 2009.

How Long Will It Take For Obama & The Democrats To Lose The War In Afghanistan & Iraq?

Posted on June 15, 2009 by mcauleysworld

US Gen. McChrystal takes command in Afghanistan


KABUL – Gen. Stanley McChrystal, a four-star American general with a long history in special operations, took charge of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan on Monday, a change of command the Pentagon hopes will turn the tide in an increasingly violent eight-year war.

McChrystal took command from Gen. David McKiernan during a low-key ceremony at the heavily fortified headquarters of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in central Kabul. McKiernan was fired last month by Defense Secretary Robert Gates one year into a two-year assignment.

McChrystal will command the largest international force ever in Afghanistan. A record 56,000 U.S. troops are in the country, alongside 32,000 forces from 41 other countries.


[The Vietnam War was lost by the Democratic politicans in control of Washington, DC, at the time. We are about to see history repeat itself]

U.S. troops battle both Taliban and their own rules

By Sara A. Carter     Monday, November 16, 2009

KASHK-E-NOKHOWD, Afghanistan | Army Capt. Casey Thoreen wiped the last bit of sleep from his eyes before the sun rose over his

Afghanistan - MASH Airlift

 isolated combat outpost.

His soldiers did the same as they checked and double-checked their weapons and communications equipment. Ahead was a dangerous foot patrol into the heart of Taliban territory.

“Has anyone seen the [Afghan National Army] guys?” asked Capt. Thoreen, 30, the commander of Blackwatch Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment with the 5th Stryker Brigade. “Are they not showing up?”

A soldier, who looked ghostly in the reddish light of a headlamp, shook his head.

“We can’t do anything if we don’t have the ANA or [the Afghan National Police],” said a frustrated Capt. Thoreen.

We have to follow the Karzai 12 rules. But the Taliban has no rules,” he said. “Our soldiers have to juggle all these rules and regulations and they do it without hesitation despite everything. It’s not easy for anyone out here.”

“Karzai 12” refers to Afghanistan’s newly re-elected president, Hamid Karzai, and a dozen rules set down by Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal,


 the commander of U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan, to try to keep Afghan civilian casualties to a minimum. [Rules devised and delivered by Washington Bureaucrats to General McChrystal for his implementation in the field]

“It’s a framework to ensure cultural sensitivity in planning and executing operations,” said Capt. Thoreen. “It’s a set of rules and could be characterized as part of the ROE,” he said, referring to the rules of engagement.

Dozens of U.S. soldiers who spoke to The Washington Times during a recent visit to southern Afghanistan said these rules sometimes make a perilous mission even more difficult and dangerous.

Many times, the soldiers said, insurgents have escaped because U.S. forces are enforcing the rules. Meanwhile, they say, the toll of U.S. dead and injured is mounting.

By mid-November, Capt. Thoreen’s unit had lost five soldiers to suicide bombings and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Many more had been wounded and three of their Stryker vehicles had been destroyed.

In his Aug. 30 assessment of the situation in Afghanistan, which was leaked to the press, Gen. McChrystal said that the legitimacy of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) had been “severely damaged … in the eyes of the Afghan people” because of “an over-reliance on firepower and force protection.”

To succeed, he wrote, “ISAF will have to change its operating culture to pursue a counterinsurgency approach that puts the Afghan people first.” This entails “accepting some risk in the short term [but] will ultimately save lives in the long term.”

The Times compiled an informal list of the new rules from interviews with U.S. forces. Among them:

On The Move

• No night or surprise searches.

• Villagers have to be warned prior to searches.

• ANA or ANP must accompany U.S. units on searches.

• U.S. soldiers may not fire at the enemy unless the enemy is preparing to fire first.

• U.S. forces cannot engage the enemy if civilians are present.

• Only women can search women.

• Troops can fire at an insurgent if they catch him placing an IED but not if insurgents are walking away from an area where explosives have been laid.

The mission

Without Afghan army or police, Capt. Thoreen and his troops were about to scuttle their mission: a house-to-house search for weapons

"Tip of the Spear" - The War on Terror

 and insurgents in the poor Pashtun village of Kashk-E Nokhowd, combined with an effort to win over the village’s 200 residents by passing out toys, pencils and toiletries.

Finally, a small ragtag group of Afghan police arrived to accompany the Americans. The Afghan army was a no-show.

The police, some of whom who looked as young as 13 in their oversized uniforms, have a poor reputation in the local Maywand district for corruption and extortion.

“I’m guessing it was too early for the Afghan National Army to get up out of bed and help us out,” Capt. Thoreen said. “They’re probably still asleep. Unbelievable.”

“Is everyone accounted for?” he asked. “Let’s move — stagger your positions.”

As the sun revealed the Red Mountain of Maywand, the soldiers headed out the gate of combat outpost Rath with weapons ready.

They set up a security perimeter near a more than century-old British fortress, whose crumbling walls overshadowed the small outpost.

In 1880, British and Indian forces fought and lost a battle here against Afghan forces led by a girl named Mawali, a Pashtun interpreter told The Times. He asked that his name not be used to protect himself and his family from Taliban retribution.

“She told the men in the village that they were not men if they would not raise their arms to fight the enemy,” he said. “They were so embarrassed they went to battle and Pashtun farmers killed more than 6,000 British and Indian soldiers.”

The interpreter said this Pashtun Joan of Arc was buried not far from the village. On this day, however, there was not a woman in sight. Under the Taliban’s strict interpretation of Islam, women are discouraged from appearing in public and are supposed to be shrouded head to toe in burqas.

Because of the Karzai 12 rules, U.S. forces have had to bring in American women to conduct searches of their Afghan counterparts.

So Cpl. Amy B. King, 42, a medic from Springfield, Mo.; Spc. Dionalyn O. Bird, 29, a cook from Bloomfield, Conn.; Spc. Toni Winkler, 20, a medic from South Carolina; and Sgt. Frevette J. Skelton, 31, a cook, entered the village with Capt. Thoreen’s men.

“We have the women say their names before we search them because sometimes it’s a man under the burqa,” said Cpl. King. “In some cases, there are weapons on them.”

“It’s OK for the insurgents to use their women to hide weapons but it’s not OK for us [men] to search them,” said Staff Sgt. Joshua Yost, 27, of Shelton, Wash. “So now, we have to break our own rules and bring women into combat just so they can search the women.”

Dusty little faces peered over ancient salmon-colored mud walls as the Americans entered the village. The children giggled and pointed at the soldiers.

“Stop, don’t walk any closer,” the Pashtun interpreter told a farmer and two boys who emerged from the back of the old British fort. “Stop where you are.”

They kept walking in the soldiers’ direction but the soldiers did not raise their weapons.

“Stop,” the interpreter yelled again. “Don’t move.”

He then asked the man and boys to lift their traditional tunics to show the soldiers that they were not carrying weapons or explosives. Eventually, they were allowed to pass.

The platoon members spread across and around the fields surrounding the village. An announcement from a dilapidated mosque alerted villagers of the impending search.

“Well, the bad guys know we’re coming,” said the interpreter, laughing. “They’re probably hiding their weapons by now.”

Some of the men squatting outside the mosque looked stoic. Others stared in anger.

In the mosque, the soldiers discovered a 9 mm handgun with clips.

A U.S. civil affairs officer, who asked that his name not be revealed because of the nature of his work, said only insurgents carry such handguns. “Everyone here has Kalashnikovs, very few have these,” he said.

The mosque’s imam, who gave his name as Sahed, walked alongside the U.S. soldiers down a narrow dusty road, followed by a gaggle of children.

“We need help getting clean water,” he told Capt. Thoreen through the interpreter. “Water is what is most important.”

Civilian aid workers and State Department officials rarely visit Maywand because of security concerns, so development work falls on the U.S. military’s shoulders.

“We have to be everything from the soldier to the engineer, water expert to medical care,” Capt. Thoreen said.

“We try to hire locals but first we need to secure the region,” he said. “We are not going to get the [nongovernmental organizations] out here until we do that.”

Imam: U.S. ‘needs to go’

Interviewed by The Times, Sahed the imam said U.S. troops were “respectful to his people and provided security.”

“I tell my people in the mosque to not become suicide bombers and to not kill those who want to help us,” he said.

However, asked about the presence of U.S. troops in his village, Sahed said they “need to go. Get out of Afghanistan or it will never be resolved. Between Islam and the infidel there can never be a relationship.”

“In my personal opinion, the Americans won’t be able to resolve this problem,” he added. “The longer they stay the more likely there will be another attack like Sept. 11. It’s only the Afghan people who will be able to resolve this problem.”

The next day, however, the imam visited the U.S. combat outpost for the first time, bringing a gift of homemade yogurt candy. He told Capt. Thoreen that he had asked his people to stop targeting the U.S. soldiers.


Capt. Thoreen said he appreciated the gesture but wasn’t sure whether the imam was telling the truth.

“To some degree we are trying to pull the people of Maywand back over,” he said.

“In some ways, we’re not just fighting for their security but our own and those of the ones we love back home.”

Then he added, referring to the rules of engagement that his forces try to observe, “For our guys, it’s tough. Sometimes they feel they have their hands tied behind their backs.”

Contacted by e-mail after The Times’ reporter and photographer had returned to the U.S., Capt. Thoreen described a clinic his unit had since hosted, which treated 75 locals including 20 women.

“It was a huge success. The people are becoming much more open and friendly,” he said. As evidence of that success, he cited a drop in IED attacks on his soldiers.


[We need to learn from the “true” lessons of  Vietnam, lessons that included the fact that the Communists  had inflitrated the South Vietnamese Government and disrupted supply, communication and cooperation between the U.S and South Vietnamese Armies. The National Afghan Army is only 5 years old and you can rest assured there are Taliban inbedded in its leadership. The politicians should confine themselves to the political questions, “Do we want to fight this war?”, Do we want to win this war?”. Let the Military Commanders devise the military strategy to achieve the desired political goals. Politicians have no business trying to devise specific military strategies …. The Politicians are not competent to do so ….. The choice is not between fighting this war or coming home, the choice is between fighting this war in Afghanistan or fighting this war at home] 

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