In Afghanistan, loose lips sink careers, it seems: First, commanding general Stanley McChrystal got the boot for speaking too freely about his Commander in Chief. And now NATO has fired a colonel serving as a staff officer in Afghanistan for daring to criticize the most important tool we have in the fight against insurgents: PowerPoint.
Sellin clearly anticipated that his tirade, which NATO says he didn’t clear for publication in advance, would serve as a resignation letter. It opened with, “Throughout my career I have been known to walk that fine line between good taste and unemployment. I see no reason to change that now. Consider the following therapeutic.” He went on to excoriate the meaningless, self-serving, metastasizing military bureaucracy that holds sway in Afghanistan and justifies its existence via PowerPoint slide: “Little of substance is really done here, but that is a task we do well.”
Sellin was fired for failing to get permission to publish the op-ed in advance. But he told Ackerman that he’d tried, and failed, to get someone in the chain of command to listen to his concerns about the bureaucracy. “Sellin says he tried to send a critique up the chain before he typed out his UPI piece,” Ackerman wrote. “He gave his superiors a briefing on ‘proven organizational methodologies’ to streamline IJC, but it went nowhere. ‘It was only my rant that everyone read,’ he says. ‘My hope is that after they stop being angry at me, maybe they will take a serious look at how they operate.’”