“All these men,” he tells me. Last fall, during the question-and-answer session following a speech he gave in London, McChrystal dismissed the counterterrorism strategy being advocated by Vice President Joe Biden as “shortsighted,” saying it would lead to a state of “Chaos-istan.” The remarks earned him a smackdown from the president himself, who summoned the general to a terse private meeting aboard Air Force One. I’m sad that I’ll never get to publish all the great stories that he was going to write, and sad that he won’t be stopping by my office for any more short visits which would stretch for two or three completely engrossing hours. “Afghanistan!” They call it their Afghanistan song. By far the most crucial – and strained – relationship is between McChrystal and Eikenberry, the U.S. ambassador. “I’d rather have my ass kicked by a roomful of people than go out to this dinner,” McChrystal says. (U.S. soldiers had taken to deriding ISAF as short for “I Suck at Fighting” or “In Sandals and Flip-Flops.”) McChrystal banned alcohol on base, kicked out Burger King and other symbols of American excess, expanded the morning briefing to include thousands of officers and refashioned the command center into a Situational Awareness Room, a free-flowing information hub modeled after Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s offices in New York. “We’ve shot an amazing number of people,” McChrystal recently conceded. That’s part of what makes this all so tough: exiting, he leaves us all with little more than questions and a blank sheet of paper. I don’t believe that’s true in this area. For the most part, it appears that the military's broad concept of Information Dominance refers to cyber-warfare, which we would expect there is a need. Hard-charging, unabashedly opinionated, Hastings was original and at times abrasive. 790 likes. General Stanley McChrystal, George W. Bush. “What’s the update on the Kandahar bombing?” McChrystal asks Flynn. Their first one-on-one meeting took place in the Oval Office four months later, after McChrystal got the Afghanistan job, and it didn’t go much better. He was 33. “I found that time painful,” McChrystal tells me in one of several lengthy interviews. Jared Pautsch. It was the third man the 25-member platoon had lost in a year, and Arroyo was writing to see if the general would attend Ingram’s memorial service. Taking the advice of both the Pentagon and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he also fired Gen. David McKiernan – then the U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan – and replaced him with a man he didn’t know and had met only briefly: Gen. Stanley McChrystal. The next morning, McChrystal and his team gather to prepare for a speech he is giving at the École Militaire, a French military academy. Even though he had voted for Obama, McChrystal and his new commander in chief failed from the outset to connect. “The conduct represented in the recently published article does not meet the standard that should be met by – set by a commanding general,” Obama said, announcing McChrystal’s departure. Freedom of the Press Foundation. “There’s no way I can make that easier,” he tells them. He will be missed.”. But I know perceptions depend upon your perspective at the time, and I respect that every soldier’s view is his own.” Then he showed up at Arroyo’s outpost and went on a foot patrol with the troops – not some bullshit photo-op stroll through a market, but a real live operation in a dangerous war zone. He leaves behind his wife, the writer Elise Jordan. Even those who support McChrystal and his strategy of counterinsurgency know that whatever the general manages to accomplish in Afghanistan, it’s going to look more like Vietnam than Desert Storm. “I’d come visit, and I’d end up spending most of my time in the library, while Stan was in the Area,” recalls Annie, who began dating McChrystal in 1973. I get all that. What people don’t know is that Michael Hastings was NOT simply a journalist, he was PART of the Intelligence Community. McChrystal was not disciplined in the scandal, even though an interrogator at the camp reported seeing him inspect the prison multiple times. This is one of the central flaws with McChrystal’s counterinsurgency strategy: The need to build a credible government puts us at the mercy of whatever tin-pot leader we’ve backed – a danger that Eikenberry explicitly warned about in his cable. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, Special Representative to Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke, National Security Advisor Jim Jones and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, not to mention 40 or so other coalition ambassadors and a host of talking heads who try to insert themselves into the mess, from John Kerry to John McCain. Or was it? Nine days after Tillman’s death, McChrystal was promoted to major general. It was supposed to be a decisive turning point in the war – the primary reason for the troop surge that McChrystal wrested from Obama late last year. Artlog. The tables are crowded with silver Panasonic Toughbooks, and blue cables crisscross the hotel’s thick carpet, hooked up to satellite dishes to provide encrypted phone and e-mail communications. It is McChrystal, not diplomats like Eikenberry or Holbrooke, who enjoys the best relationship with the man America is relying on to lead Afghanistan. Almost all of the soldiers here have been on repeated combat tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and have seen some of the worst fighting of both wars. “Afghanistan is not in our vital interest – there’s nothing for us there.”, In mid-May, two weeks after visiting the troops in Kandahar, McChrystal travels to the White House for a high-level visit by Hamid Karzai. “The entire COIN strategy is a fraud perpetuated on the American people,” says Douglas Macgregor, a retired colonel and leading critic of counterinsurgency who attended West Point with McChrystal. Appearing on CNN's "Reliable Sources" program, Logan cast doubt on Hastings's claim that his interviews with McChrystal and his team were all on-the-record. The general first encountered Obama a week after he took office, when the president met with a dozen senior military officials in a room at the Pentagon known as the Tank. “Even as a young officer he seemed to know what he wanted to do. A 23-year-old corporal named Michael Ingram – one of the soldiers McChrystal had gone on patrol with – had been killed by an IED a day earlier. In June, the death toll for U.S. troops passed 1,000, and the number of IEDs has doubled. “Unfortunately,” he adds, “no one in this room could do it.”. The Rolling Stone profile of Stanley McChrystal that changed history. This article was published by WhoWhatWhy July 14, 2013. Rhetoric that just a few years ago they would have mocked. “The idea that we are going to spend a trillion dollars to reshape the culture of the Islamic world is utter nonsense. Hastings memorialized that relationship in his first book, I Lost My Love in Baghdad: A Modern War Story. But then he goes away on his bird, and by the time his directives get passed down to us through Big Army, they’re all fucked up – either because somebody is trying to cover their ass, or because they just don’t understand it themselves. “It’s fucking gay.”. In Brinkman’s failure, I had succeeded.”. Winning, it would seem, is not really possible. Instead, an assortment of administration players compete over the Afghan portfolio: U.S. “Make sure you don’t get any of that on your leg,” an aide jokes, referring to the e-mail. Global Research, June 21, 2014. The Boss was pretty disappointed.”. In 2006, after Gen. David Petraeus beta-tested the theory during his “surge” in Iraq, it quickly gained a hardcore following of think-tankers, journalists, military officers and civilian officials. The Rachel Maddow Show. “He’s been locked up in his palace the past year,” laments one of the general’s top advisers. . “If Americans pulled back and started paying attention to this war, it would become even less popular,” a senior adviser to McChrystal says. What we need, for strategic purposes, is to create the perception that we didn’t get run off. “No way I can pretend it won’t hurt. Spending hundreds of billions of dollars on the fifth-poorest country on earth has failed to win over the civilian population, whose attitude toward U.S. troops ranges from intensely wary to openly hostile. Dispatching 150,000 troops to build new schools, roads, mosques and water-treatment facilities around Kandahar is like trying to stop the drug war in Mexico by occupying Arkansas and building Baptist churches in Little Rock. (“There are no limits. That’s what we do. Michael Mahon Hastings, American journalist, author, and contributing editor to Rolling Stone magazine, had no second gear.Described as a person who “talked fast, smoked fast” and “vibrated energy”, his aggressive demeanor and penchant for writing the truth with no regard for consequences may have prompted his untimely death. “I never know what’s going to pop out until I’m up there, that’s the problem,” he says. But we’re fucking losing this thing.”. I will tell you, you’re doing a great job. When Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld made his infamous “stuff happens” remark during the looting of Baghdad, McChrystal backed him up. Kennith Hicks. In March, McChrystal traveled to Combat Outpost JFM – a small encampment on the outskirts of Kandahar – to confront such accusations from the troops directly. But one facet of Information Dominance goes the next step. You guys feeling sorry for yourselves? Looking back on the past ten years is tough for anyone, but looking back on Michael’s past ten years and you begin to understand how passionate and dedicated to this work he was, a passion that was only equaled by his dedication to his family and friends, and how much more he lived in thirty-three years than most people live in a lifetime. June 18, 2013 “Michael Hastings, the fearless journalist whose reporting brought down the career of General Stanley McChrystal, has died in a car accident in Los Angeles, Rolling Stone has learned. He was 33. Maybe that’s challenge to continue to use it to write the truth. A week later, McChrystal sent a memo up the chain of command, specifically warning that President Bush should avoid mentioning the cause of Tillman’s death. His class was the last to graduate before the academy started to admit women. “You’d be out in Somewhere, Iraq, and someone would take a knee beside you, and a corporal would be like ‘Who the fuck is that?’ And it’s fucking Stan McChrystal.”, It doesn’t hurt that McChrystal was also extremely successful as head of the Joint Special Operations Command, the elite forces that carry out the government’s darkest ops. “There is no denying the progress that the Afghan people have made in recent years – in education, in health care and economic development,” the president says. A February 2011 article for Rolling Stone outlined one General’s use of an army Psycological Operations unit to manipulate the ... Michael Hastings was a … At times, Karzai himself has actively undermined McChrystal’s desire to put him in charge. In the first four months of this year, NATO forces killed some 90 civilians, up 76 percent from the same period in 2009 – a record that has created tremendous resentment among the very population that COIN theory is intent on winning over. Hastings’ unvarnished 2010 profile of McChrystal in the pages of Rolling Stone, “The Runaway General,” captured the then-supreme commander of the U.S.-led war effort in Afghanistan openly mocking his civilian commanders in the White House. Writing this feels almost ghoulish: I still haven’t processed the fact that he’s gone. If you’ve fucked up or disappointed him, they can destroy your soul without the need for him to raise his voice. It was the first time a top general had been relieved from duty during wartime in more than 50 years, since Harry Truman fired Gen. Douglas MacArthur at the height of the Korean War. He systematically mapped out terrorist networks, targeting specific insurgents and hunting them down – often with the help of cyberfreaks traditionally shunned by the military. WhoWhatWhy 14 July 2013. Michael Hastings, Author Of Rolling Stone McChrystal Profile: General's Decision To Talk To Me Showed 'Recklessness' (VIDEO) By Jack Mirkinson Michael Hastings, who wrote the profile of General Stanley McChrystal for Rolling Stone , said today that he wasn't quite sure why the general gave him the near-total access that led to the publication of explosive comments that brought about … In the last few days, news has emerged that Michael Hastings, the young war correspondent who wrote the Rolling Stone piece that resulted in … At one point on his trip to Paris, McChrystal checks his BlackBerry. Sign up for our newsletter. Paris, as one of his advisers says, is the “most anti-McChrystal city you can imagine.” The general hates fancy restaurants, rejecting any place with candles on the tables as too “Gucci.” He prefers Bud Light Lime (his favorite beer) to Bordeaux, Talladega Nights (his favorite movie) to Jean-Luc Godard. He’s also furious that McChrystal, backed by NATO’s allies, refused to put Eikenberry in the pivotal role of viceroy in Afghanistan, which would have made him the diplomatic equivalent of the general. In one tale, a fictional officer complains about the difficulty of training foreign troops to fight; in another, a 19-year-old soldier kills a boy he mistakes for a terrorist. In February, a Special Forces night raid ended in the deaths of two pregnant Afghan women and allegations of a cover-up, and in April, protests erupted in Kandahar after U.S. forces accidentally shot up a bus, killing five Afghans. Now With Alex Wagner. Information Dominance, Michael Hastings, and Rolling Stone We once thought propaganda was the ultimate form of organized lies and manipulation. He had little patience for flacks and spinmeisters and will be remembered for his enthusiastic breaches of the conventions of access journalism. “Holbrooke keeps hearing rumors that he’s going to get fired, so that makes him dangerous. “I ask you what’s going on in your world, and I think it’s important for you all to understand the big picture as well,” McChrystal begins. Today we all feel that loss: whether we’re friends of Michael’s, or family, or colleagues or readers, the world has gotten a bit smaller. Rather than one big battle, like Fallujah or Ramadi, U.S. troops will implement what McChrystal calls a “rising tide of security.” The Afghan police and army will enter Kandahar to attempt to seize control of neighborhoods, while the U.S. pours $90 million of aid into the city to win over the civilian population. “Bottom line?” says a former Special Forces operator who has spent years in Iraq and Afghanistan. The cable was as scathing as it was prescient. Then he’ll add, “I’m going to have to scold you in the morning for it, though.” In fact, the general frequently finds himself apologizing for the disastrous consequences of counterinsurgency. “Why do you bother to ask questions you’ve already decided you know the answers to?” Reines asked. Then, without ever using the words “victory” or “win,” Obama announced that he would send an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, almost as many as McChrystal had requested. McChrystal nods. 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