Why I admire Admiral William McRaven?

Retired US Navy Admiral William McRaven. Courtesy Staff Sgt. Sean Harp/Defense Department

“Good men and women don’t last long”,- Former US Navy Admiral William McRaven

William Harry McRaven was born in November 6, 1955 is a retired United States Navy four-star admiral who last served as the ninth commander of the United States Special Operations Command from August 8, 2011, to August 28, 2014. From 2015 to 2018, he was the chancellor of The University of Texas System.

Admiral McRaven Leaves the Audience SPEECHLESS

Admiral McRaven previously served from June 13, 2008, to August 2011 as commander of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) and from June 2006 to March 2008 as commander of Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR). In addition to his duties as COMSOCEUR, he was designated as the first director of the NATO Special Operations Forces Coordination Centre (NSCC), where he was charged with enhancing the capabilities and inter-operability of all NATO Special Operations Forces. McRaven retired from the U.S. Navy on August 28, 2014, after more than 37 years of service. Former US Navy Adm. William McRaven, the Navy SEAL who oversaw the raid that took out al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in 2011. Two years later, he said he would leave that job, citing health concerns.

William McRaven, then head of US Special Operations Command, speaks to members of Special Operations Task Force-Southeast in Camp McCloskey, Logar province, Afghanistan, November 28, 2013.

McRaven warned that “as Americans, we should be frightened – deeply afraid for the future of the nation.”

“When good men and women can’t speak the truth, when facts are inconvenient, when integrity and character no longer matter, when presidential ego and self-preservation are more important than national security – then there is nothing left to stop the triumph of evil,” he added.

mcraven mattis
Courtesy Evan Vucci/AP

McRaven has written several bestselling books about leadership, including “Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life … And Maybe the World” and “Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations.”

McRaven has taken issue with Trump’s policies and demeanour throughout his presidency, writing several striking opinion columns and criticising him in interviews. While it is not uncommon for retired military officers to speak for or against a sitting president, McRaven’s comments have attracted significant attention due to his seniority and service.

McRaven told CNN he is a fan both of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, having served under them. “I admire all presidents, regardless of their political party, who uphold the dignity of the office and who use that office to bring the nation together in challenging times,” he said pointedly.

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“A good leader sets the example for others to follow,” McRaven added. “A good leader always puts the welfare of others before himself or herself.”

The retired Navy SEAL said he was “not as concerned” about escalating conflict with Iran as other officials appeared to be.

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McRaven said that the US military has a “sworn obligation to follow the commander-in-chief,” but said that its officers “have an obligation to resign” if they are unable to perform their duties.

“It’s that simple,” McRaven said. “As long as it is a lawful, legal order, we have an obligation to follow it.”

President George W. Bush stands with firefighters on a burnt fire truck in front of the World Trade Centre during a tour after the 9/11 attacks, September 14, 2001.

During a CNN interview in June, McRaven admitted he and Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush “didn’t agree … on every issue.”

But McRaven said that despite their differences, the two presidents displayed intrinsic qualities that kept him from questioning their character.

“They were men of great integrity and great character and were always trying to do what was right for the nation,” McRaven said.

Situation Room (photograph) - Wikipedia
Situation Room during the raid on OBL den in Ahmedabad, Pakistan.

“One retired four-star general, grabbed my arm, shook me and shouted, ‘I don’t like the Democrats, but Trump is destroying the Republic,’” McRaven wrote. “Those words echoed with me throughout the week.”

McRaven pointed out what he said were examples of the US neglecting its duty to be the “the protectors of the less fortunate.”

“If our promises are meaningless, how will our allies ever trust us? If we can’t have faith in our nation’s principles, why would the men and women of this nation join the military,” McRaven wrote. “And if they don’t join, who will protect us? If we are not the champions of the good and the right, then who will follow us? And if no one follows us – where will the world end up?”

Former US Navy Adm. William McRaven, the Navy SEAL who oversaw the raid that took out al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in 2011.

Admiral McRaven is not your average admiral. As commander of the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) from 2008 to 2011 and US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) from 2011-2014, McRaven oversaw the Navy SEAL mission in Pakistan that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and its impact.

Admiral William Harry McRaven

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