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Stupid Questions

Laleh Khalili: Battlefield to Boardroom, 24 February 2022

Risk: A User’s Guide 
by Stanley McChrystal and Anna Butrico.
Penguin, 343 pp., £20, October 2021, 978 0 241 48192 9
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... Arguably the most successful current practitioner of the genre is the retired four-star general Stanley McChrystal, who has never been shy about using his own achievements to show how a leader gets things done.McChrystal, who comes from a military family, attended West Point in the 1970s, where he was by all accounts ...

Short Cuts

Tariq Ali: Af-Pak, 19 November 2009

... to have been designed in order to provide cover for the military surge being plotted by General Stanley McChrystal, the new white hope of a beleaguered White House. McChrystal seems to have inverted the old Clausewitzian maxim: he genuinely believes that politics is a continuation of war by other means. It was ...

Social Work with Guns

Andrew Bacevich: America’s Wars, 17 December 2009

... the pre-existing character of US foreign policy. But by advocating ‘counter-insurgency’, the McChrystal report also represents a tacit acknowledgment that a decades-long military reform project has definitively failed. Understanding the contradiction at the heart of McChrystal’s report requires a quick survey of the ...


Jonathan Steele: Neo-Taliban, 9 September 2010

... US commander in Afghanistan, is more in tune with Afghan realities than his predecessor, General Stanley McChrystal. But both have been committed to the current ‘surge’ of extra US troops. Petraeus’s image in the US as a man who had success with the surge in Iraq may wed him even more closely to the strategy than ...

The Day After

Neve Gordon, 7 May 2015

... decentralised cells with significant autonomy to make executive decisions. In the words of General Stanley McChrystal, who headed the US Joint Special Operations Command from 2003 to 2008, ‘to defeat a networked enemy, we had to become a network ourselves.’ Each cell is made up of officers from different branches – infantry, artillery, air ...

The Fastidious President

David Bromwich: The Matter with Obama, 18 November 2010

... a Democrat has to: that was his line. Hillary Clinton also backed the generals, David Petraeus and Stanley McChrystal and the chief of staff Admiral Mullen, in their request for 40,000 more troops. Indeed she supported them more strongly than Gates did. Jones sought to help Obama by running interference with the Pentagon, but Obama preferred to work on ...

Like a Mosquito

Mattathias Schwartz: Drones, 4 July 2013

Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield 
by Jeremy Scahill.
Serpent’s Tail, 642 pp., £15.99, May 2013, 978 1 84668 850 8
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... that Cheney would travel to the White House with a biohazard suit within arm’s reach. General Stanley McChrystal likened the flow of intelligence about terrorist threats to ‘a stream of hot cinders … falling everywhere around us, and we had to see them, catch those we could, and react instantly to those we had missed that were starting to set the ...

The Most Corrupt Idea of Modern Times

Tom Stevenson: Inspecting the Troops, 1 July 2021

The Changing of the Guard: The British Army since 9/11 
by Simon Akam.
Scribe, 704 pp., £25, March, 978 1 913348 48 9
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... in Afghanistan was overseen by American generals who had directed major operations in Iraq. Both Stanley McChrystal and David Petraeus considered themselves experts in counterinsurgency – the respectable term for trying to suppress domestic resistance to a military occupation. British soldiers were supposed to fall in line with American thinking and ...

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