Commentary: Lt. Gen. Caldwell makes good call on military and media

Winning in this context means getting an Afghan partner to stand on its own, underpinned by the sustainable systems of an enduring security institution. — Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV, From June 13 essay in Voices Online

After the now notorious Rolling Stone interview that essentially ended Gen. Stanley McChrystal's military career, it would have been easy for McChrystal's friend and West Point classmate, Lt. Gen. William Caldwell IV, to circle the wagons. Caldwell could have told his troops just to clam up and refer all media matters to superiors.

Instead, the Columbus native who leads both the NATO training mission and the U.S. Combined Security Transition Command did just the opposite. He encourages his troops to do interviews with journalists and use social media to tell the real stories of what is happening — good and bad — in the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.

Just as long as it's the truth, and the soldiers who tell that truth are ready to stand by it.

"My position," Caldwell said in a recent interview with military reporter Lily Gordon, "is very much about 'Continue to do it, do it responsibly, do it to inform and educate, always be the first with the truth out there and just keep pushing.' "The stories of what Americans are doing in Afghanistan," he said, are "just too important not to share."

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