Gen. Stanley McChrystal Assesses Afghanistan and Iraq

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, U.S. commander in Afghanistan, in May 2010. (Getty)

General Stanley McChrystal, former commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, senior fellow at Yale University's Jackson Institute for Global Affairs  and author of My Share of the Task: A Memoir, offers his assessment of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, neither of which he wants to call a victory, even agreeing that the invasion of Iraq may have been one of the biggest foreign policy mistakes in U.S. history. He is also a co-founder of the McChrystal Group, a leadership consulting firm, and says the same skills are needed to get employees to follow your lead as to get soldiers to obey orders -- first and foremost, empathy, and knowing what matters to people at every level of the organization. McChrystal also offered support for the idea of a draft, saying that the armed forces should reflect the US population.


General Stanley McChrystal

Comments [16]

Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

LOL, no doubt Barry is privately conveying one of his fierce RED lines to Putin.
Or maybe it's pink like all of the others.

Feb. 26 2014 01:26 PM

@ Sheldon from Brooklyn (10:48 AM):

"George H.W. Bush"?

George _H.W._ Bush was our forty-first president.

What you quote was said by his _son_, George _W._ Bush, our forty-third president.

Feb. 26 2014 01:07 PM

There is a risk if you're in enemy territory. Annihilating people from outside the "theatre of war" is not warfare;it's assassination and murder. Not that deliberately killing civilians while in the war zone yourself is necessarily more moral but that is a separate ethos.

Feb. 26 2014 11:22 AM
PHILIOR from Brooklyn

Dear Brian,

You expressed your moral reservations based on comparison between drones and computer games. This argument while emotionally obvious may not hold much water. Indeed, when you move from a fist or sword to a gun or cannon, there is the same step of separation between the shooter and the aim. Paul Tibbets, the pilot of Enola Gay was not confronting any of Hiroshimans. What difference does it make that today’s shooter sits not above the bombing site, neither does a conventional artillery commander sending a shell over several miles or a ballistic missile operator, for that matter.

Feb. 26 2014 10:56 AM

Alqada has become synonymous with Sunni Arabs, who rise up to resist dictators or oppressive regimes[like in Iraq and Syria today].What we did in Iraq was calculated and evil; we installed a Shia/Kurd government knowing full well these groups had been persecuted by Saddam's Sunni regime. We knew that once in power they would exact revenge on the Sunni Arabs. Which is exactly what has happened. The so called Alqada backlash started when Sunni Arabs peacefully demonstrated in the streets of Fallujah against the tyrannical oppressive Shia/Kurd government which persecutes them. We did not cover these protests and the government crackdown. The Sunnis resorted to violence as a result of the violent crackdown against peaceful protests by the Shia/Kurd regime which was already oppressing them . The same thing occurred in Syria. And so now all Sunnis who resist oppressive regime are labeled Alqada. In Iraq we created the conditions by deliberately installing a Shia /Kurd government knowing they wanted to exact revenge on the Sunnis as Saddam's regime was a Sunni regime. In Syria we label anti Assad resisters as Alqada. We have created the conditions of supporting and facilitating a holocaust against Sunnis.

Feb. 26 2014 10:54 AM


"..."flexibility" and leadership might soon be tested by his old BFF (he thought) Vladimir."

There you go makin' up stuff again. Your ability to forget that "Pooty Poot" was Dubya's BFF - "I looked into the man's soul." - is astounding.

Seek help. You really have lost touch with reality.

Feb. 26 2014 10:49 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

"I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be straight-forward and trust-worthy"' George H.W Bush on Vladimir Putin.

Just a reminder to some here that make up their own history with nonsense.

Now on to McChrystal. I thank the General for his service but his public ridicule of our civilian leaders in that Rolling Stone article, which he was rightly fired for, was bone-chilling. It reeked of personal and military hubris and reminded us all of why the commander in chief must be a civilian.

Feb. 26 2014 10:48 AM
mike from nyc

Wonder if Gen McCrystal will be HONEST enough t ADMIT the Iraq "surge" was all a STUNT to get Bush re-elected and never stood a CHANCE in HELL of lasting...

Feb. 26 2014 10:39 AM
NYC from New York City

To me this represents nothing more than a Global War on non-White people

Feb. 26 2014 10:39 AM

Ask about the Pat Tillman coverup

Feb. 26 2014 10:38 AM

Regarding the list of offenses/crimes that Mr. Lehrer just read-off:

Numerous people have pointed-out that most of them have been continued and even surpassed by President Obama, clearly a darling of Brian Lehrer as well as WNYC, NPR and many, if not most, of the audience. (And, of course, WNYC/NPR's compatriots in complicity, smugness and the promotion of cultural dissolution: the infamous New York Times.)

Feb. 26 2014 10:37 AM

@Independent_Noach and others: If you have comments or questions about WNYC programming, fundraising, or more, contact listener services at 646-829-4000 or through this site

-BL Producer-

Feb. 26 2014 10:34 AM
Mike from Brooklyn

Brian, the other issue with drones is the recent revelation that they were targeting a phone's location without knowing whether the target is still holding the phone. (And who's sitting next to that person, etc.)

Also, ask if he knows anything about the murder of Michael Hastings? JK

Feb. 26 2014 10:31 AM
Bonnie from NYC

This LOSER was FIRED by the president.
Like, who the hell are you kidding?

Feb. 26 2014 10:31 AM


How about just knocking it off already with these wars of choice that only benefit the military-industrial complex?

Feb. 26 2014 10:17 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Uh, oh, looks like the little Community Organizer's "flexibility" and leadership might soon be tested by his old BFF (he thought) Vladimir.
(This just in at the Wall Street Journal-)


"Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a test of combat readiness for troops stationed in a region that touches Ukraine's northern border. There have been worries in the West about possible Russian military intervention."

Feb. 26 2014 10:08 AM

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