Joint Chiefs chairman launches YouTube channel

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, has launched a YouTube channel to answer questions from members of the military and a broad public audience.

The call for a video dialogue with the nation’s top military officer comes at a time when the American public is showing declining support for the war in Afghanistan.

Mullen is the first chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to use social media sites in an effort to open access to Pentagon brass.

Mullen, President Barack Obama’s top military adviser, already has a Twitter page and has joined Facebook. The Pentagon is also in the process of setting up a Flickr page for Mullen to store photographs, according to a spokesman.

The office of the Joint Staff released a YouTube video on Tuesday calling for video questions to be submitted to Mullen. The deadline for the submission is Aug. 31 at midnight and Mullen will answer selected video questions after Sept. 1 through a YouTube podcast.

The Obama administration and the Pentagon are facing diminishing public support for the war in Afghanistan. A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll showed that more than 50 percent of respondents said the war in Afghanistan is not worth fighting.

Mullen said that he welcomed debate about the war in Afghanistan, according to the Pentagon's News Service.

Speaking Tuesday to the American Legion's national convention in Louisville, Ky., Mullen said, “I’ve seen the public opinion polls saying that a majority of Americans don’t support the effort at all. I say, ‘Good, let’s have that debate.’ ”

Mullen added that he wants Americans to examine the country’s fight and the reasons behind it. “I’d rather see us, as a nation, argue about the war — struggling to get it right — than ignore it,” he said.

Mullen’s YouTube foray also comes after a busy day in the media spotlight. Mullen appeared on several Sunday morning news shows this past weekend.

And the Obama administration is expecting an assessment from its commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, in the next two weeks on the situation there.

Mullen said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” that he thought the situation in Afghanistan “is serious and deteriorating.”

Mullen also told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the military is focused on preventing another terrorist attack on the United States and that the strategy in Afghanistan is intended to disrupt and defeat al Qaeda, the Taliban and its extremist allies. Mullen did not want to speculate on whether more U.S troops will be needed in Afghanistan.