Stanley McChrystal, the former commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, recently told Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that he did not know what to do in Afghanistan but offered his "best suggestion" was for a small number of troops to remain and "muddle along" in the country, the retired four-star Army general told a small group last month during his book tour.
It was near the end of the evening commander’s update briefing on 6 June 2010, and her audience included dozens of staff officers in various combat uniforms. Hundreds more joined via videoconference from the regional commands in Afghanistan and NATO bases around the world. ISAF commander General Stanley McChrystal sat solemn-faced at the hub of a U-shaped array of plywood tabletops arranged to give him eye contact with his closest advisors. The woman called up the first slide of her presentation: the impact of civilian casualties on insurgent violence across Afghanistan. Many in the audience were skeptical. What could a young academic with no operational or field experience tell them about civilian casualties — a challenging and sensitive topic — that they didn’t already know? In a crisp, professional tone she presented the key finding: On average, civilian deaths caused by ISAF units led to increased attacks directed against ISAF for a period that persisted fourteen weeks after each incident.
You know how every so often you’ll stumble across some ridiculous nostalgia bait like “50 Child Stars You Forgot Existed” in your Facebook News Feed? It happens to us all the time, and it got us thinking: what have all our favorite generals been up to since the Global War on Terror began?
With the White House mulling a new troop surge in Afghanistan, “War Machine,” a dark comedy about the last time we tried this, is exactly what we need right now. On the surface, the feature-length film from writer-director David Michôd — streaming on Netflix starting today — is an examination of post-colonial hubris. Brad Pitt stars as an eerily familiar four-star general tasked with doing what no other foreign military leader could: winning in the storied Southwest Asian graveyard of empires.
In March, we were treated to the delightful vision of Brad Pitt as a four-star general tasked with rebuilding Afghanistan in "War Machine, the “politically charged military satire" adapted from the late Michael Hastings' book “The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan" that ended the career of said general. But while it was pretty clear from the brief 45-second teaser who, exactly, Pitt's channeling with his jovial smile and aw-shucks attitude, we didn't get a good taste of his portrayal.