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Adm. William McRaven on botched Afghanistan withdrawal and war with China

Brian Kilmeade Show / Brian Kilmeade
The Truth Network Radio
April 5, 2023 1:23 pm

Adm. William McRaven on botched Afghanistan withdrawal and war with China

Brian Kilmeade Show / Brian Kilmeade

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April 5, 2023 1:23 pm

Author of the new book "The Wisdom of the Bullfrog: Leadership Made Simple (But Not Easy)."

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That's slash Brian Kilmeade. And we've got some real issues to face in this country and nobody knows that better than Admiral William McRaven. We're privileged to have him back in our studio if you're smart enough to have gotten Fox Nation. And Admiral, I don't want to put you on the spot, but have you ordered Fox Nation yet? Of course.

All right, good. The name of this brand new book that is now out, The Wisdom of the Bullfrog, leadership made simple but not easy. Admiral, it was always great to see you. That's why I was excited when I heard you had a book out of my...

I hope he tours with this. Well, it's good to be back with you, Brian. Thanks. And I saw your interview on CNN with Fareed Zakaria. It was good. So I understood where it was coming from. When they gave me your book electronically, because I don't have an end of the book business, I went right through it. I mean, it's one story after another and it's military and how it relates to all of us on a daily basis.

Yeah, and that was the intent. Obviously, it's based on my military experience, but the fact of the matter is leadership is fungible across everything, whether you're the CEO of a big company or you run a burger joint or a coffee place. You need to know how to be a good leader. And so I draw these lessons from my time in the military and my time as the chancellor at the University of Texas.

I do want to get into it, but if I could just talk about the world right now, because you're wearing a suit, but you also wear a uniform and you also wear face paint and go on missions. So what is at stake today with Speaker McCarthy meeting with the president of Taiwan? Yeah, this is obviously not unusual in terms of the president of Taiwan transiting through the United States. This is always a little bit of the carve out as we continue to maintain the one China policy. Now, the fact of the matter is the Chinese are never happy about this, never have been. And so you're seeing a lot of bluster coming from China. What do you think with that like ever before?

I've never seen anything like this. They've actually predicted war against us. Yeah, but this is part of the rhetoric, I think, Brian. You know, the Chinese don't want to go to war with us. We don't want to go to war with China. We need to hold China accountable. We need to hold them accountable on the Uyghurs. We need to hold them accountable on Hong Kong, on violating the WTO. But frankly, we also need to find ways to find some common ground with them. But right now, the best thing to do is to deter them. So this is why we are building up bases in the Philippines.

We are working with the Japanese and the South Koreans to make sure the Chinese understand we're still the big dogs on the porch when it comes to Asia Pacific. Right. Do you know General Spalding? I don't. Okay.

I just thought everybody knows everybody. Brigadier General Spalding weighed in this morning on, he's a former China strategist and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He cut 30. A lot of people are focused on the southern border, but the balloon showed that we have problems up in the northern border as well. Essentially, we've failed to invest in protecting the homeland. We spent a lot of money on deploying military overseas. But when it comes to border security, when it comes to understanding our airspace, when it comes to understanding the area around the United States, we've done a very poor job in investing in that. And I think we need to, over the next, you know, five to 10 years, invest more.

The balloon clearly showed that we have problems in detecting these things. So he went on to say that we have not invested heavily in homeland. We have not, the northern border, the southern border, we see the Chinese coming by the thousands, all of a sudden. Are they refugees or that part of the process? China says, well, hit them on the southern border.

It's wide open. We'll get our students in here into colleges. We'll fly balloons over the country. We'll continue to try to spread the Belt and Road program. Looking at us is the problem. The military should be the last line of defense.

Are we doing enough at home? Yeah. So, you know, from the homeland security standpoint, particularly as we watch the Chinese, the balloon, the spy balloon come into the U.S., we do need to go back and find out, you know, how did that happen? And I think, you know, from a technical standpoint, I have an understanding.

You know, we are, our radars are arrayed to be looking at fighters and bombers and things that are moving quickly, intercontinental ballistic missiles, not a slow moving Chinese balloon. So I think the military is going about, you know, tweaking that. However, when we look at things like, you know, the Chinese, the influx of Chinese researchers, the intellectual property that is being stolen, this is a serious issue. And the good news is you've got bipartisan support on the Hill. I mean, there are a few things where you are getting the kind of bipartisan support, except as it pertains to China.

But once again, and I know, you know, a lot of viewers don't want to hear this, or listeners don't want to hear this, but I would offer that we still need to find some common ground because here's why. If we continue to push China away, where will China go? They will build this alliance with Russia and they will strengthen it.

They did it. Right. So our goal should be to separate China from Russia. And the way you do that is once again, you hold them accountable, but you also have to find some common ground, find common ground in trade, find common ground in climate, find common ground somewhere where we can engage with them so that if we do have a, you know, a dust up in the South China Sea, all of a sudden it doesn't escalate into war. And then by building a little bit of this contentious relationship, we can start to separate them from, you know, their buddies there in Russia. See, Admiral, and I feel weird saying this to a guy like you who actually fights in wars, but how you go into that conversation has everything to do with how you want it to come out.

Of course. And if we go in at a point of weakness, they fly the balloon over here, they taunt us with it, they go through all the military bases, we shoot it down, they say, we want it back. And then we say, we'll call it off our visit. And then two weeks later, we're asking for a visit and they say no. That perception of weakness at home and reality is not a time it seems you want to talk to China.

No, no, I agree. My point is our long term strategy has got to be deterrence in the Pacific. So this is how do you show strength? Well, one, if you take a look at the defense budget, both for 2023 and the proposed budget for 2024, it is all about China. It's about, you know, building more F-35s, more submarines, more ships.

It is about making sure we are incredibly strong in the Pacific. At a pace in which you're comfortable with? Well, it's never at a pace at which you're comfortable with. This is the nature of, you know, dealing with Capitol Hill. There are, you know, there are pork issues, there are strategic issues, there are your ship building issues.

No, I'd like to see more ships, more planes quicker. Have you heard a good explanation of why we have not delivered the weapons and defense systems to Taiwan, some of them waiting three years? Have you heard an explanation that would be acceptable to Admiral McRaven?

Yeah, I have not. That's not to say there's not an explanation, but I haven't heard it. The you know, the issue is we have always had this policy with China, with Taiwan of strategic ambiguity. Now, it's one of these political science terms that basically says, look, we are going to say publicly that we support China, the one China policy, but we are also going to provide assistance to Taiwan. Now, President Biden has on four separate occasions, backed by his own staff for the first two times.

You're right. He came out and he said, we're going to defend Taiwan. And of course, the staff said what the president meant to say. And then he said it a second time. And finally, the third or fourth time, they're like, you've heard what the president said. But he has caveat of this.

Does that bother you? You know, having worked in the White House, let me tell you, having worked under presidents, both the Republican and Democrat, it happens all the time. Presidents are presidents, they're going to get out and say things that the staff would say, gee, Mr. President, I wish you really hadn't said that.

And it happens often. And yes, the staff has got to kind of walk it back a little bit. But at some point in time, the president sits down and says, no, boys and girls, let me be very clear, this is where we need to go. Now, once again, I think we are focused heavily on China from the military standpoint, all you have to do is take a look at the budget.

And and again, bipartisan support in Congress. So this is a good direction. But it can't be the only direction. It can't be about a we are preparing for war against China.

You always have to prepare for the worst case scenario. But you also want to be in a position to find, again, this common ground so that we don't have to go to war with China. You know, they say people in Washington, you've been been there. The State Department is on a different page than the administration. And you need the State Department to be on the same page and respect their secretary of state, regardless of who it is, because it's usually the policy which was elected.

That's not happening. I can't tell you. Many people have told me Democrat Republicans, State Department's the problem. Yeah. Yeah. You know, I'm not really in a position to comment on the State Department, but you'd like to. You're right.

I probably would like to. But but here's what I would offer. And I think Jim Mattis said it best when he said, look, you know, I'd rather you put more money in the State Department and less money into bullets if, in fact, we can get the State Department to to do the diplomacy, because better to have good diplomacy than find yourself in a position where you're having to go fight. Right. So we need to support the State Department, we being the administration, Congress, the American people. But we also need to demand of the State Department, you know, high caliber diplomacy. And and this will put us in a position where we don't find ourselves going to war. Here is what General Milley said about China's goals.

Cut 36. There might be some economic levels of power. There might be other things in the intelligence world, but for the most part, they're probably going to step out. They have a national goal to be a global to be the global co-equal with the United States and superior militarily by mid by mid century.

They're on that path to do that. And that's really disturbing. That's really bothersome. Your thought? I absolutely agree. You know, so right now and I'd have to check my facts, but I think China has more ships than the U.S. does. Right. There are 340 some odd vessels and quantity has a quality all its own. Now, we still have a superior navy. Make no mistake about we have more submarines and we have more submarines. We have much more sophisticated everything, I think, from our aircraft to our carriers. So, you know, China has three carriers and they're having trouble manning the airplanes because it's hard to take off and land on a carrier. Right. They've got three carriers.

We've got 11. That pulls me away with a country that size can't train pilots. Yeah, well, because it's hard. And, you know, we've been doing it since, you know, since the 40s. So recognizing that it's never easy to train quality pilots to fly on and off of a carrier and to get the people that want to do that. So we still have a superior military, superior navy, actually a superior military across the board.

But Chairman Milley is exactly right. They have a goal of surpassing us militarily in the Pacific by 2027. And globally, they want to build an incredibly strong military. So once again, we do need to invest.

We need to invest in our shipbuilding programs and our aircraft building programs. You know, the days of looking for more MRAPs are kind of behind us. True.

I think the American people were, if you explain to the American people, most of which don't serve in the military, why you need them and how you do them and what you're going to be using with them and who our enemy is, we get it. I'm telling you. And both sides get it. And it's how we're going to approach it would be the difference.

Hopefully we'll get to that. That's who gets elected. But General Jack Keane took that question on last week. And he says when they war game this out, this is what worries him. We don't fit right in terms of the kind of war that we're going to experience there. A high tech war, our surface fleet is very vulnerable. If it moves in where it can be effective, where its missiles and airplanes can range China's capability, those surface ships are going to be destroyed as high capital assets on a scale we have never even seen or experienced during World War II. The Chinese will swarm anti-ship missiles and hypersonic missiles at those ships. If we stand them off, where they're out of range, then our fighters cannot reach the coast and our missiles cannot range China either.

So they're not making any contribution. Back to the tabletop. That's tough. Not bad for an army guy. General Keane, I think has nailed it. I mean, this is the biggest concern is our hypersonic weapons. Can their weapons reach us before frankly we can reach them? But again, the Navy understands this, Brian. This is not something that all of a sudden the Navy woke up and went, oh my gosh, we are threatened from surface to surface missiles from the shore or from other ships. But we haven't solved it. Well, the Navy is not going to tell you whether they've solved it or not. So yeah, you can do tabletop exercises and you can look at, you know, missile X can get to our ship before we can stop missile X.

Or do we have technology that in fact is, you know, counter missile technology that'll work? Admiral McRaven is here and he's got this great new book out. And you got to grab it.

It just came out this yesterday. The wisdom of the Bullfrog leadership made simple. And as we go through the hour, I like to talk, I have anecdotes and we'll do a full segments on them.

But just on one in particular, you talk about leadership and working with people. You're on a mission. I hope I have this right. And it's in the San Clemente Islands. And you're in the back. And you're working and it's training. And you have an opportunity to wipe out the enemy.

And Admiral McRaven does, right? And you were the senior officer there? Yeah. Okay.

So you do it. And I'm reading this thinking, wow, this is an unbelievable move. Tell me about this story and what you took from it. So I was a young ensign, Navy ensign, going through SEAL training. This was the last three weeks of SEAL training. And we go out to San Clemente where we do a lot of our field training exercises. And this particular exercise was an ambush drill.

So myself and 13 of my SEAL trainees, we're in a SEAL platoon. And we are told, we understand how the drill goes. We're told you're going to walk down this path and the instructors, and they're all Vietnam vets, right?

The instructors are going to be in a position somewhere. You don't know where to ambush you. And of course, we've done the drill. And the ambush drill is normally, hey, when all of a sudden you start taking fire, everybody drops down. You yell ambush right or ambush left. You get on full auto, and you've got to get out of the kill zone, right? That's what everybody understands from their time in Vietnam.

So we got it. I talked to the platoon, and away we go. And so we're patrolling through this kind of heavily dense area. And then all of a sudden, you know, the instructors open up with blank fire and grenade simulators. We all drop down.

Somebody yells ambush right. We all turn and start opening up. And then I get this brilliant idea.

Ensign McRaven says, aha, I know what I can do. I can circle around this hedge row where the enemy is, and I'll gun them down from behind. So sure enough, I get up from my position without telling anybody what I'm going to do.

And I run around the backside of this hedge row. And of course, they're all the instructors. They're lying down shooting us. And I pull out my M16 with my blanks, and I gun them all down. I'm like, yeah, we won.

And all of a sudden, you know, the instructors stand up and with some very choice words, you know, Mr. Mack, what are you doing? So what do you mean? We won.

Really? You do know, by the way, bullets go in both directions. So of course, I was running around into the bullets.

My guys were firing, if it had been real. But when I get back to my platoon, the guys tell me, sir, what did you do? Where did you go? I said, what do you mean, guys? Yeah, I did my John Wayne thing.

You know, I went around, but we won. They went, we had no idea what you were doing. And the point of the story is about communicating. And it's about communicating during a crisis. And of course, there's no bigger crisis than when you're literally being ambushed. And what it taught me at a very young age was, look, you've got to talk up and down the chain of command to make sure people understand what you're doing.

And you could do that in business and in life and with your family. Everything. Back in a moment. slash Brian Kilmeade. That's slash Brian Kilmeade. A talk show that's real. This is the Brian Kilmeade show.

I believe that we most certainly should provide the tools and resources to allow the Ukrainians to prosecute against the guy who's killed scores and scores of innocent civilians and has no intention of stopping at the Ukrainian border. This will become. That is Mike Pompeo just fresh off a meeting with Zelensky overseas, former secretary of state and director of the CIA. With me in studio, if you're smart enough to get Fox Nation, the wisdom of the Bullfrog leadership made simple but not easy.

Admiral McRaven in studio. Admiral, why did we have it so wrong in saying that Kiev would fall in three days? And what is the biggest surprise for you with the Ukrainian performance? Yeah, because when you look at Crimea, it fell in just a few days. And so I think the expectation was certainly from Putin's standpoint and maybe even Mars.

I don't think we thought he would fall in three days, but we thought Ukraine would fall in a couple of weeks. So what I think surprised everybody was, you know, the Russians have been on this modernization program for about 15 years. So they went from the T-72, the T-80, T-90 tank. They modernized their aircraft.

They modernized a lot of things. They didn't modernize their soldier and they didn't modernize their tactics. So, you know, when we think about, you know, how a Western Army works, it's a combined arms operation. So, you know, you start with artillery, maybe you come in with an airstrike and then it all synchronizes together. They have not done that. And of course, the Ukrainians have done a tremendous job of fighting.

And they were trained, Western trained, and they know how to fight and now they're Western armed. We'll see how it goes. More with the Admiral, his book, go grab it.

Especially if somebody's got a birthday coming up, the wisdom of the bullfrog. From the Fox News Podcasts Network, I'm Ben Domenech, Fox News contributor and editor of the daily newsletter. And I'm inviting you to join a conversation every week. It's the Ben Domenech Podcast. Subscribe and listen now by going to A radio show like no other.

It's Brian Kilmeade. General Milley, it's your testimony that you recommended 2500 troops approximately stay in Afghanistan. As I've said many times before this committee and other committees, I don't share my personal recommendations of the president, but I can tell you my personal opinion and my assessment if that's what you want.

Yes, please. Yes, my assessment was back in the fall of 20 and it remained consistent throughout that we should keep a steady state of 2500 and it could bounce up to 3500 maybe something like that in order to move toward a negotiated gated solution. But as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, they didn't listen. Secretary of Defense Austin said something similar. They didn't listen and the result was the biggest disaster in American military history. It made Saigon look like a good idea. With me in the studio is Admiral Mcraven.

I'm going to get to his leadership principles, the wisdom of the bullfrog, leadership made simple. But Admiral, for somebody who fought so long in Afghanistan, who knew some of the people that fought, hearing General Milley make that statement on his recommendation and seeing the president do something else and him implement it, what are your thoughts? Yeah, it was hard. I mean, it was hard to obviously very difficult to watch the evacuation out of Afghanistan. I think Mark Milley at one point in time called it a you know, a political disaster.

And I think that's true. Military disaster. Well, but you know, when you take a look, when the 82nd finally got on the ground and really began to organize itself, you think about extracting 132,000 Afghans in a two week period of time.

That's pretty amazing. I mean, that's an amazing military feat. Obviously, you had the loss of the 13 Marines and sailors and a number of Afghans. But the first part of it, the issue really becomes, you know, why were we so late in getting there to begin the evacuation in the first place? And I and I think the American people have a right to know why that occurred that way. The State Department was in the lead. But when you're in the military, I understand we have civilian leadership.

When you give a recommendation like that and you know, it's being ignored and you know, we're getting out anyway. Well, this could be a disaster. All our stuff is there. All our people are there, our allies and Americans there. If we do this, sir, people are going to die.

They're going to be stuck there. And the president still ignores you. At one point, do you say, if you do this, I resign?

I can't have my fingerprints on this. Yeah, it's always the dilemma between do I resign or because I'm in the position I'm in, am I the best person to to manage this and lead this lead us through this difficult time? I can tell you across all my years watching senior officers grapple with this. At the end of the day, the president, whether Republican or Democrat, makes a decision. Your job as a military officer is to offer your best military advice, which clearly Chairman Milley did. And then it's up to the elected leader of the American people to make the decision. Once that decision is made, if you have had an opportunity to offer your advice, then you have to salute smartly and move out. Now, you can always resign.

If you are that passionate about it, you bet. But the dilemma, Brian, and again, I've seen this many, many times, is the leaders say, but if I resign, the next guy steps up, is that person going to be as capable of handling this challenging situation? And that's just it. If it's to walk away is one thing, but when you know the political reality and if you're a chairman of the judicial staff, you know politics, he could not have afforded to have Milley walk away because Milley was so firmly anti-Trump. If Milley walks away from Biden, you know it had to be something he would say, OK, I'll adjust. What does it take to keep you? If Austin said, man, I thought I have friends that died there.

I lived there for a while. This will be a huge disaster. If he walked away, if he says we're both leaving, the president doesn't make that decision. Do you agree?

Sure, but that's not what you do. That's not what good leaders do. But Mattis left? Well, Mattis was told to leave.

Let's be honest, right? No, he said I'm leaving. And then he was told to leave. OK, but but at the end of the day, yeah, so if you want, if from Jim Mattis's standpoint, he decided he couldn't continue to serve. But when you're in uniform, the easy way out is to say I'm no longer going to continue to serve. I mean, take a look at how Mark Milley worked with President Trump. The fact of the matter is Mark could have resigned, but he didn't, because when you're the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, you have an obligation to the men and women that you're serving to do the best by the commander in chief, whether that commander in chief is Trump or whether that commander in chief is Biden.

I'm thinking about your story of Billy Mitchell, 1925. So we don't have an Air Force. He thinks we need one.

And no one's listening to him. And if I have this story right, the Navy goes, I'll prove to you that we're better off carrying the bombs. He's like, there's going to be another war. We need an Air Force.

And he goes, and they go and they rig the, they rig the shell. And the Pentagon at the time just says, I'm going to go with the Navy. And Mitchell wouldn't back off. And he gets court-martialed. And only Douglas MacArthur votes against his court-martial, but he does. But by the time FDR takes over, he goes, we need an Air Force.

Mitchell's, Mitchell's right. So he took the heat to doing the things right. And he stared command in the face. Can you equate both stories? You know, I can't, I guess I can't equate both stories. You know, every leader has got to make a decision where you draw the line. Mitchell was- This is your book, by the way.

No, you're right. Yeah, this is in the bullfrog when I talk about Billy Mitchell. And my father was an Air Force officer. And of course, absolutely loved Billy Mitchell for both what he stood for and obviously how he changed the military. But every leader's got to, at some point in time, draw a line and say, okay, this is a line over which I won't cross. And yes, be prepared to put your stars on the table.

But in many cases, that's the easy way out. I mean, I can remember when I was a young officer and we had tail hook. And I had a chance to talk to the chief of naval operations. And it was like, you know, you were upset. Why didn't you resign? And he said, because that's not my job. My job is to lead the Navy through these difficult times.

Mark Milley's job, Lloyd Austin's job is to lead the military through difficult times, whether in Trump or Biden or whoever else. But sometimes by threatening to leave, your objective would be to change the policy. Yeah, but you know, you don't threaten when you're a military officer. You know, that's not the way you comport yourself. You know, you provide the commander in chief the best military advice you can.

You try to maintain a level of professionalism. But would the American people want a military officer threatening the president of the United States? I don't, that's not the sort of behavior we want. See, I look at it as a resourceful, because if you could image... But you just said threaten.

You said... Well, no, but using the threat, you could be resourceful. Because listen, my other option would be number one is try to explain it. Number two, try to find somebody to persuade President Biden that it's wrong that it's not me because I'm not working.

Number three is say, hey, Mr. President, just going to tell you, I know we're only a few months in. But if you do this, I'm going to have to resign. Because I know exactly what's going to happen. We are going to lose this country to a group of terrorists, which is exactly where we went in 25 years ago. And a bunch of women are going to lose all their rights and probably their lives. Yeah. My guess is... And then the Ukraine thing, you could explain the Ukraine thing ripples through too. Sure. Like I said, at some point in time, every leader's got to make a decision, you know, where that line is. Right. And just such a shame that it happened. I want to talk about your book.

First off, explain the title. Yeah. So the title and the term bullfrog is given to the longest serving Navy SEAL on active duty, which I received in 2011, after 34 years. But remember, as Navy SEALs, we are first and foremost Navy frogmen from our World War Two days.

And we take that very seriously. I mean, we are frogmen. And so when you are the longest serving frogman, you are the bullfrog. And that's what you were called.

I was called the bullfrog, right. So when you put this together, it was a bunch of leadership lessons, not just help military officers, they have enough of that, but it's to help everyday Americans. Oh yeah, absolutely. So you always talk about when you talk about building on that swim buddy, right? Does everyone out there need a swim buddy, somebody that they can count on to tell them the truth at all times? Did you have it? Yeah, I did.

You know what? I've been married for 44 years, going on 45. So that's probably my closest swim buddy. But in the military, particularly during my times in Iraq and Afghanistan, I had a command sergeant major named Chris Ferris, a great army special operator. And Sergeant Major Ferris was kind of my right hand man. He was the guy that always spoke truth to power. You know, told me when I was moving into uncharted waters or when I was walking into kind of a virtual minefield, so to speak, he never hesitated to give me his opinion.

But when I made the decision, he was the guy that stood beside me the closest. And bring him to the story, you get a call from your doctor. Right. You got cancer. And you're going to need treatment right away. He walks in. Yeah.

And tell us what you wrote about in the book. Well, you know, so I just get a call on a Zoom call from my doctor saying, yeah, you've got chronic lymphocytic leukemia, cancer. And of course, anybody that gets a cancer diagnosis- By the way, you look great. Well, thanks. I appreciate it.

Yeah, it's a manageable cancer. But, you know, all of a sudden, I'm stunned. I'm devastated by this. And I walk back into my office. And Sergeant Major Ferris, you know, could see something was wrong immediately. And he says, hey, boss, you know, what's going on?

And I finally said, well, I just got the diagnosis that I have cancer. And I could see him debating, okay, do I commiserate? And of course, I'm feeling sorry for myself.

You know, it's kind of a natural human tendency. And he's like, hey, boss, we got a briefing here in 10 minutes. Come on, you need to get ready to go. And of course, I didn't feel like doing any sort of briefing. But he walks me into our command center.

And I'm about to have a Zoom video with, you know, my folks around the world. And the first thing Sergeant Major Ferris says to the JOC NCO, the noncommissioned officer, he says, hey, what were our injuries last night? Who was wounded last night? And of course, immediately I start hearing about Rangers and SEALs that have been wounded. Some guy lost his leg. And Chris Ferris gives me that look like, okay, put it in perspective, boss.

I got it. But you know, these soldiers are out there, you know, dying in some cases and getting wounded. And it was the tough love that I needed. And Chris Ferris kept me on the straight and narrow, you know, for six years of my career. And my point is, everybody needs somebody like that. When you stumble, somebody that picks you up and dusts you off and says, it's going to be okay. When you're starting to feel sorry for yourself, somebody that says, hey, you know, suck it up. Life's tough. You know, keep moving forward. I was fortunate in my career to have a number of folks like that.

Pat Williams, the Orlando Magic, I think you might know him. So he had cancer, has it? Treatable. He's got to live with it.

It's going to be treated, but it's never going to be cured. And he walked in, he's all depressed. And finally, a nurse called him out. He said, you know, Pat, everybody knows you. You look depressed.

They're going to feel really depressed. Show some life. Show, you know, people look for you for inspiration. So with your rank, with his fame, and with his success, he went in there. And when he walked in, he was the life of the party because he felt the responsibility to the people and to the kids and whatever, I guess, very similar. And people listening right now might be going through things, you know, especially coming out of the pandemic. Well, this is one of the points I make in the book about leadership is that leaders can never have a bad day.

Now, the fact of the matter is, everybody has bad days, right? But when you go before your employees, when you go before the rank and file, when you go before the troops, if you're the leader, you better have your shoulders back. You better have a look of confidence in your face. You better look like you've got a plan because to your point, Brian, the people that work for you, they are looking for you to be their leader. They are looking for confidence. They are looking for inspiration.

And if you still feel sorry for yourself, if you come in and your shoulders are slumped and you're looking downtrodden, let me tell you, that spreads like wildfire. The other thing that you think is important is to learn about people. Yeah.

If you want to lead them, ask them. And you talk to different people. One guy, why are you in the army? Well, I had to. I had no choice.

I hate the army. But you found out more about him. And tell me about him. Yeah. So I used to, at the end of kind of the night, I would walk around and just talk to your soldiers that were on the, you know, that were in the- From Ohio, I think. Yeah, yeah, this guy. So I go up into one of the watchtowers.

So we had watchtowers around Bagram. And, you know, it's the middle of the night. This kid has no idea who I am.

You got to open a hatch to get up there. I don't think he can see who I am. And I introduced myself. But he's a young army, you know, private, doesn't know what an admiral is. And he's like, oh, cool, man.

And so I started talking to him. And he says, yeah, yeah, yeah, I really hate the army. But, you know, I could teach these soldiers a thing or two. Yeah, yeah, you know, I really hate the army. But, you know, my NCO is pretty cool. Yeah, yeah, I really hate the army.

But, you know, and every time he'd say I hate the army, then he'd come back and say, but I really love it here, you know. And it was just- But it also just every time you talk to somebody on the factory line, you know, working behind the counter, you as a leader, you learn something. Everybody has a story.

Everybody has a story. And that story's important. Right. And if you want people to lead, show you care. Absolutely. Right. Now the mix of vulnerability and leadership. You don't- you can't say- you can't act like you walk on water. No. Right.

So how do you mix the vulnerability with the leadership? Yeah, you know, you've got to find- it's a great point. You've got to find times to show your human side. For me, it was always on the basketball court. So we would always play basketball on Sunday at the motor pool. And you were very human. Yeah, and my hook shot sucked and my jump shot sucked and guys would push you around. And of course, you talk to them about your family because there's nothing that makes you more of a person than people understanding that you've got a wife and you've got children and you understand these young soldiers' sacrifice. And, you know, so you've got to be relatable.

But when you go before them in a challenging situation, you've got to show you're in charge and you've got to have a plan and you've got to look confident and decisive and inspire the men and women. And in football, I remember Bill Parcells, he was one of the guys. He was a linebacker coach and they called him Tuna. And then when he became head coach, he was realized the big mistake. Yeah, they were 3 and 11 or something like that. They all thought he was his buddy.

They were terrible. He had to separate. And no, I care about you, but I'm still the coach. Very similar. A little bit more with the author of the wisdom of the Bullfrog leadership made simple. Admiral William McRaven in studio. Don't move. The more you listen, the more you'll know.

It's Brian Kilmeade. And after we retaliated, Iran attacked us again, injuring another American, didn't it? They did. And have we retaliated for that attack on Friday? We have not yet, Senator. So what kind of signal do we think this sends to Iran when they can attack us 83 times since Joe Biden has become president? We only respond for. Maybe it's because they know that until that we will not retaliate until they kill an American, which emboldens them to keep launching these attacks which kill Americans.

So that's a little of the exchange. I wanted to get Admiral McRaven's take on handling Iran and how we're doing it. I could not believe our 900 guys have been attacked 83 times in Syria over the last two years. What are your thoughts on that? Well, you need to be concerned about, you know, the the Iranian proxies that are there, so mainly Hezbollah. But there are a number of other groups that are acting as Iranian proxies and they are getting support from the IRGC and the IRGC Quds Force with rockets and these sort of things. So absolutely, we need to again, you need to hold the Iranians accountable when they attack Americans. Are you worried when we don't? Yeah, of course.

You know, if you're if you're not strong in the face of an attack, then you can expect another attack. Now again, what's hard to know is what's going on behind the scenes. And of course, you know, Secretary Austin and General Milley are going to be reluctant to talk about other things that might be happening that isn't in the public forum. So and I'm not privy to that, so I don't know what that.

The name of his book is The Wisdom of the Bullfrog. And it's been 20 years since since Iraq, the invasion. You weren't for the invasion initially. You were with Saddam Hussein. You told me for 30 days. When are we going to do you believe that that war was worth it?

Yeah. You know, it's hard to tell at this point in time in history. You know, clearly removing Saddam Hussein was absolutely the right thing to do. He was about as vile and evil a human being.

And oh, by the way, his sons Uday and Qusay were not much better. So him being gone was absolutely the right thing to do. The fact that there weren't any weapons of mass destruction there, I mean, that'll be debated till the cows come home on this thing. But it will be interesting to see in 10 years or 20 years, if I say right, if Iraq is a better place, then hopefully the sacrifice of the men and women that serve both in uniform and in the intelligence community will have been worth it. But one of the things I used to tell my guys, you know, when you're in the military, you do the job you're asked to do. And at one point in time late in 2010, we knew we were leaving in 2011. And one of my SEAL senior chief said, sir, why are we still going out on missions?

Why? And the answer I could give him was, you know, we are in a position to save Iraqis, save Americans, and you never know the cascading effect of what one mission might do. So do your job.

But the performance of you guys was unbelievable. Adapting in the middle of a war the way you did. Fantastic. And thanks for all your service. Admiral, I'll talk to you on Saturday night on One Nation. But if you want to do something positive for yourself and your family, pick up the wisdom of the bullfrog.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-05 14:13:40 / 2023-04-05 14:30:43 / 17

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