My reply: The jury is still out

In Sunday’s edition, of the Press-Register, there was a story about the BCA’s annual meeting held at the Grand Hotel, in Point Clear, AL. Saturday’s keynote speaker was General Stanley McCrystal. The P-R story follows: Gen. Stanley McChrystal: ‘Jury is out’ on U.S. efforts in Afghanistan. This email is addressed to BCA President and CEO William J. Canary.

August 1, 2011

My reply: The jury is still out.


Ted Burnett

Mr. Canary,

Originally, my email was intended for the eyes of former Chairman of the Business Council of Alabama (BCA) Sandy Stimpson, but I’m unable to locate his email address. I’m well aware of his past involvement and strong support of the BCA. After reading the story, I thought I would write to him. Maybe you can forward my remarks. Appearing in today’s Press-Register was a story on your annual meeting held at the Grand Hotel and it mentioned that retired 4-Star General Stanley McCrystal gave the keynote address.

His appearance seemed rather tasteless and it doesn’t speak well of the BCA or its board. I’m referring to McCrystal’s involvement in the cover up of Army Ranger Pat Tillman’s death due to a friendly fire incident while in Afghanistan, in 2004 . McCrystal’s troubles didn’t stop there as he signed off on awarding a Silver Star for Pat’s “heroics” in fighting the “enemy” before getting killed.

According to Wikipedia, the Silver Star is the third highest military decoration that can be awarded to any member of the United States armed forces “for valor in the face of the enemy.” Pat’s death didn’t qualify him for this honor. McCrystal knew this, but he signed off on it anyway as part of the U.S. Army’s fabricated story. This snapshot is a reflection in the character of, both, McCrystal and this military institution when a crisis arises. The truth always seems to be the first thing to get shot.

This event was widely reported in the media and hearings were held by Congress so I know your organization was well aware of McCrystal’s baggage before you even invited him to come speak. The decision shows a lack of character, consciousness and sensitivity by the dues-paying members of your organization and more troubling is how pervasive this same attitude is throughout the C-suite, in corporate America. If the problem interferes with profits or image then just sweep it under the rug.

For your board of directors to support his selection as the convention speaker is disturbing. You don’t get it. The general’s comments, during his speech, on how unstable Afghanistan’s government is and that the “jury is still out” on their future at the very moment our democracy is on the brink of collapse, in Washington, is laughable. Who’s government was he talking about? This man is brainwashed after too many years of playing Army like so many business and government leaders in America. He’s convinced of his remarks, were you? McCrystal has been allowed to live in a world that simply doesn’t exist and look at the consequences everytime he gets up before an audience and speaks. Did your members eat it up?

In 2008, capitalism stubbed its toe when it needed a $700b bailout and the economy has yet to recover. It won’t. Now, our “democracy” is staring death in the face. The root cause, to the downfall of these two cherished institutions, is widespread corruption, but no one will admit it. Your actions indicate that ‘all is well’ and that “character doesn’t matter”. I’m a political writer with a global audience that exceeds 8,000 contacts including heads of state, foreign ministers, ambassadors, business executives (including two billionaires Charles Schwab and Ted Turner), federal judges and lawmakers, Washington think tanks and over seven thousand professors and university presidents, in ten countries. Over eight hundred teach at Harvard University alone, plus faculty at Yale, Stanford, UC Berkeley, Princeton, Columbia, Penn, Cambridge, Oxford…

The graduate schools include the top 5 U.S. business and law schools, as ranked by U.S. News and World Report (2009). My work has been recognized by U.S. Representative Jo Bonner (AL-R), Senator Jeff Sessions (AL-R), Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren, ‘University’ Professor Michael E. Porter of the Harvard Business School, NYU Law Professor David Rosenbloom…joining them in my audience are many American notables from various fields. Since 2008, I’ve repeatedly said to my audience that our country is dead. Your actions only enforce this opinion. Everyone has gone AWOL.

biography —

blog —


Silver Star –

Ted Burnett
Daphne, AL

Copyright © 2011. All Rights Reserved. “My reply: The jury is still out.” by Ted Burnett.

My other essays can be viewed at my blog – I can be contacted via email at – My biography can be viewed at

I'm an American thought leader and pioneer on the subjects of human, organizational and societal development and health. I write about the role that integrity, dignity, sanity play, as well as, on the topics of spirituality, faith, freedom, happiness, problem solving and risk taking. I produce and deliver original, world-class commentaries on business, political, social and spiritual matters to a global audience of world leaders, chief executives and key decision makers, top faculty and notables in the fields of academia, banking, business, foundations, government (including heads of state, lawmakers and governors), healthcare, media, non-profits and policy institutes. Website: