Rolling Stone Outs Another Rogue General


Caldwell Seen with McCain: Photo via Senior Airman Ybarbo

Rolling Stone magazine, most recently known for their scathing article on General Stanley McChrystal which later led to his resignation, has done it again. Michael Hastings, the author of both articles, has outed another “runaway General” who this time wasn’t criticizing the President and his cabinet but was actually breaking laws. Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, in charge of training Afghan troops, allegedly ordered the Army’s psychological operations (PSYOP) detachment to use its tactics on visiting American senators to coerce them into providing more war funding. Rolling Stone learned that when an officer tried to stop the illegal operation he and his unit were railroaded by Army investigators. These “operations” took place over a four month period last year at Camp Eggers, Kabul and targeted all VIPs who met with Caldwell. 

“My job in psy-ops is to play with people’s heads, to get the enemy to behave the way we want them to behave,” says Lt. Colonel Michael Holmes, the leader of the IO unit, who received an official reprimand after bucking orders. “I’m prohibited from doing that to our own people. When you ask me to try to use these skills on senators and congressman, you’re crossing a line.”

The list of those subject to the PSYOP tactics include,

  • John McCain
  • Joe Lieberman
  • Jack Reid
  • Al Franken
  • Carl Levin
  • Rep. Steve Israel
  • Adm. Mike Mullen
  • Czech Ambassador to Afghanistan
  • German Interior Minister
  • And many many more
Caldwell was looking for was more than the usual background briefings on senators. According to Holmes, the general wanted the IO team to provide a “deeper analysis of pressure points we could use to leverage the delegation for more funds.” The general’s chief of staff also asked Holmes how Caldwell could secretly manipulate the U.S. lawmakers without their knowledge. “How do we get these guys to give us more people?” he demanded. “What do I have to plant inside their heads?”

The misuse of the military’s psychological operators is being compared to a President ordering the CIA to do intense background checks into potential opponents. Of course that all comes at a price and as usual the taxpayers have paid for it. The total amount of money wasted profiling Americans over Holmes’ teams year deployment totals $6 million dollars. Funds that were supposed to be used to combat the enemy rather than sitting United States Senators. The operation was dubbed “Operation Fourth Star” as Caldwell seemed more eager to advance to the lofty position rather than combat the enemy.

In the General’s attempt to cover up his actions he attempted to smear Holmes’ name by insinuating that he was having an inappropriate relationship with a female Major. They were both formally reprimanded and the female officer involved says it has likely ended her distinguished career. Even though Holmes had contacted JAG and the Defense Department’s Attorney General they decided that he wasn’t covered under the whistleblowers protection act since the initial JAG lawyer apparently wasn’t authorized to hear what he was hearing.

In less than a one year period Rolling Stone will have successfully ended the careers of two high ranking Generals. I’m not sure when they entered the investigative reporting arena but they’re dominating it. President Obama has very few options when it comes to dealing with Caldwell. Unlike McChrystal who disrespected his superiors, Caldwell actually violated laws passed by Congress that are attached to all military funding bills. The laws clearly state that psychological operations are not to be used on any Americans. The sole fact that the General wasn’t using the psy-ops team on the enemy like he was supposed to is grounds for removal. I do find it funny though that the military can’t use these tactics on politicians but politicians can use them on their constituents.

Full Article: The Rolling Stone

Author: James

I am the owner and main author of My Bloggity Blog. I started this blog on a whim and it grew faster than I ever imagined. I seriously enjoy debating politics and foreign policy as I'm sure you've noticed but I also enjoy a wide array of other things that I try to include here.

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