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.
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