Gen. Philip Breedlove

Hard to stop someone when you’re cowering in fear.

Via Daily Beast:

Late last month, as the world was still reeling from Russia’s annexation of Crimea, the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO was warning Congress that Moscow was preparing to make another move.

During classified briefings on March 26 and March 27, Gen. Philip Breedlove painted for members of the House Armed Services Committee a bleak picture of Russia’s actions—and warned that the United States was not taking steps it could to help Ukraine better defend itself. On several points—from estimates of Moscow’s troops to intelligence-sharing with Russia’s likely adversaries—Breedlove’s briefing directly contradicted the message coming from other branches of the Obama administration.

Breedlove, a four star Air Force general, was careful not to tell members of Congress anything that directly undermined the authority of the Commander-in-Chief during his March briefings. But lawmakers and Congressional staff members who attended these sessions say it was clear that Breedlove felt he was stifled to respond adequately to the crisis in Ukraine.

The quiet protests from one of Obama’s most important generals at the moment reveal an important policy rift inside the administration. While President Obama, the joint chiefs of staff and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel have hesitated to provide too much assistance to the interim government in Ukraine, Breedlove has wanted to do more.

In a statement for The Daily Beast, Breedlove acknowledged that he met with members of both parties in Congress in the last week in March. “I provided my estimation of Russian capabilities and that estimation was well-received by the Members. As these sessions were classified, I can only get into generalities.” Breedlove added that he discussed a number of issues including the U.S. consideration of non-lethal aid to Ukraine. “I was clear that our efforts were aimed at reassuring our NATO Allies and European partners of our commitment and resolve,” he said.

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