The general’s option

Polish Land Forces Commander Lieutenant General Waldemar Skrzypczak resigned his command after lambasting the government for not providing Polish troops in Afghanistan with needed equipment. Defense Industry Daily reports:

“It is shameful that we haven’t given soldiers needed equipment  We’ve been fighting for equipment [like UAVs and fully armed helicopters] for over two years, but no one is listening to commanders. We’re asking for arms but everything is drowning in procedures.”

As one might predict, those comments touched off promises of a major equipment purchase, along with a political firestorm. One that only got worse when Poland’s Defense Minister Bogdan Klich told a press conference that the general had admitted his comments were a mistake .

The general quickly responded that the minister was being dishonest, adding that the only mistake he accepted had been making the comments the day before the funeral of Capt. Daniel Ambrozinski, 32, killed by a Taliban sniper on Aug. 10. Four soldiers were wounded in the clash, and initial inquiries found that the unit had not received prompt back-up owing to equipment shortages. Gen. Skrzypczak added that he stood fully behind the substance of his remarks, and resigned in protest.

Kudos to General Skrzypczak for taking a principled stand and jettisoning the remainder of his career to stick up for his troops. If a general truly believes his soldiers are not receiving the support to get the job done on the ground, he has an obligation to do what is required to get that support, as Defense Industry Daily smartly notes:

If the soldiers on the front lines must put their lives on the line, however, the senior officer’s highest ethic calls for honest advice and fidelity to their soldiers, even if that results in the sacrifice of their careers. Lt. Gen Waldemar Skrzypczak has fulfilled that duty as he saw it.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

Are you a dedicated reader of FDD's Long War Journal? Has our research benefitted you or your team over the years? Support our independent reporting and analysis today by considering a one-time or monthly donation. Thanks for reading! You can make a tax-deductible donation here.



  • KW64 says:

    Of course, now the soldiers lack the equipment and their commander since the general quit. Speaking out was good, quitting maybe was not so good.
    Sometimes you can do more good on the inside than the outside. Would the Polish government have fired the General for speaking out about the soldiers needs? Probably not immediately anyway. By quiting in anger, he indulged his indignation but may have reduced his ability to influence the situation. OTOH in the private sector he could have spoken out more forcefully; but now what kind of man will be put in charge? Perhaps a sheep rather than a roaring lion.

  • Render64 says:

    I would suspect neither General Skrzypczak nor the Polish government (had) have the ability to influence the situation regarding equipment, or any other logistics support.

  • Piotr says:

    To my knowledge the general used all the regular ways to bring the lack of equipment to the attention of the politicians before he made his statement. His term as Commander of the Land Forces was nearing its end. It was unlikely he got some new meaningful post as he was appointed by the previous government. So it seems to me his action was well thought-out and his last possibility to do something for his troops. It also worked – the government decided to send some additional equipment to Afghanistan.

  • redc1c4 says:

    good for the General, and it took the sort of fortitude you don’t see to often in the upper ranks to do that.
    of course, my view is based upon 20 years as a junior enlisted, so i have a rather jaundiced view of the leadership. this guy reminds me of BG Zisk, who was taken from us all too soon.
    too many choose ‘career’ over ‘duty’, or think they are one and the same.

  • Render says:

    Wassup old son? Come over to The Bunker for a visit some time soon?

  • KW64 says:

    Re Piotr
    Well if his term was up anyway, I withdraw my criticism. Glad the government provided more support.


Islamic state



Al shabaab

Boko Haram