“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. In February, the day before the doomed offensive in Marja, McChrystal even drove over to the president’s palace to get him to sign off on what would be the largest military operation of the year. Rolling Stone Author Michael Hastings: McChrystal Knew Comments Were On the Record. The general stands and looks around the suite that his traveling staff of 10 has converted into a full-scale operations center. “All these men,” he tells me. McChrystal was also open to new ways of killing. The Washington Post publishes a long list of fact check requests sent to Gen. McChrystal before the Michael Hastings’ interview occurred. Pat Tillman, the former-NFL-star-turned-Ranger, was accidentally killed by his own troops in Afghanistan in April 2004, McChrystal took an active role in creating the impression that Tillman had died at the hands of Taliban fighters. One aide calls Jim Jones, a retired four-star general and veteran of the Cold War, a “clown” who remains “stuck in 1985.” Politicians like McCain and Kerry, says another aide, “turn up, have a meeting with Karzai, criticize him at the airport press conference, then get back for the Sunday talk shows. McChrystal, they felt, was trying to bully Obama, opening him up to charges of being weak on national security unless he did what the general wanted. But the experience was so unsettling to McChrystal that he tried to prevent detainee operations from being placed under his command in Afghanistan, viewing them as a “political swamp,” according to a U.S. official. “If Americans pulled back and started paying attention to this war, it would become even less popular,” a senior adviser to McChrystal says. When it comes to Afghanistan, history is not on McChrystal’s side. During a recent visit to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Karzai met three U.S. soldiers who had been wounded in Uruzgan province. “We have two KIAs, but that hasn’t been confirmed,” Flynn says. He systematically mapped out terrorist networks, targeting specific insurgents and hunting them down – often with the help of cyberfreaks traditionally shunned by the military. He didn’t care when his teenage son came home with blue hair and a mohawk. A contributing editor to Rolling Stone, Hastings leaves behind a remarkable legacy of reporting, including an exposé of America’s drone war, an exclusive interview with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at his hideout in the English countryside, an investigation into the Army’s illicit use of “psychological operations” to influence sitting Senators and a profile of Taliban captive Bowe Bergdahl, “America’s Last Prisoner of War.”, “Great reporters exude a certain kind of electricity,” says Rolling Stone managing editor Will Dana, “the sense that there are stories burning inside them, and that there’s no higher calling or greater way to live life than to be always relentlessly trying to find and tell those stories. Don’t let the frustration get to you.” The session ends with no clapping, and no real resolution. Rolling Stone article by Michael Hastings in 2010, documented the widespread contempt for civilian government officials exhibited by the general and his staff and ultimately resulted in McChrystal’s resignation. The “Prison on the Hudson,” as it was known then, was a potent mix of testosterone, hooliganism and reactionary patriotism. (In the month I spend around the general, I witness him eating only once.) The class, filled with what Barno calls “huge talent” and “wild-eyed teenagers with a strong sense of idealism,” also produced Gen. Ray Odierno, the current commander of U.S. forces in Iraq. 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. Though it is his and Annie’s 33rd wedding anniversary, McChrystal has invited his inner circle along for dinner and drinks at the “least Gucci” place his staff could find. Kennith Hicks. McChrystal was not disciplined in the scandal, even though an interrogator at the camp reported seeing him inspect the prison multiple times. 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. “Throwing money at the problem exacerbates the problem,” says Andrew Wilder, an expert at Tufts University who has studied the effect of aid in southern Afghanistan. The night after his speech in Paris, McChrystal and his staff head to Kitty O’Shea’s, an Irish pub catering to tourists, around the corner from the hotel. “Some French minister,” the aide tells me. JFM is a small encampment, ringed by high blast walls and guard towers. The maelstrom sparked by its publication concluded with President Obama recalling McChrystal to Washington and the general resigning his post. (“There are no limits. “Unfortunately,” he adds, “no one in this room could do it.”. Matt Gallagher reviews Michael Hastings’s 'The Operators.' McChrystal, like other advocates of COIN, readily acknowledges that counterinsurgency campaigns are inherently messy, expensive and easy to lose. “I’d die for them. By Brian Montopoli June 22, 2010 / 5:06 PM / CBS News Two officers do an Irish jig mixed with steps from a traditional Afghan wedding dance, while McChrystal’s top advisers lock arms and sing a slurred song of their own invention. He was raised in New York, Canada, and Vermont, and he attended New York University. Rolling Stone author—and NEWSWEEK alumnus—Michael Hastings explains how he got such good access from General McChrystal's camp, whether he expected such … He regularly apologizes to Hamid Karzai when civilians are killed, and berates commanders responsible for civilian deaths. He has ordered convoys to curtail their reckless driving, put restrictions on the use of air power and severely limited night raids. He was irascible in his reporting and sometimes/often/always infuriating in his writing: he lit a bright lamp for those who wanted to follow his example. 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. Michael Hastings’s notoriety was the piece he did for Rolling Stone that “took down” General McChrystal. In March, McChrystal traveled to Combat Outpost JFM – a small encampment on the outskirts of Kandahar – to confront such accusations from the troops directly. “So many lights shining brightly.” So it is to the language of the Iraq War that the Obama administration has turned – talk of progress, of city lights, of metrics like health care and education. All they needed was a general with enough charisma and political savvy to implement it. “The dinner comes with the position, sir,” says his chief of staff, Col. Charlie Flynn. As McChrystal leaned on Obama to ramp up the war, he did it with the same fearlessness he used to track down terrorists in Iraq: Figure out how your enemy operates, be faster and more ruthless than everybody else, then take the fuckers out. This was the creature at work in Gen. McChrystal’s career-ending decision to give a tape recorded interview—over drinks no less—to Rolling Stone reporter Michael Hastings. “I never know what’s going to pop out until I’m up there, that’s the problem,” he says. “Michael was no stranger to trying to make sense this kind of tragedy nor was he unfamiliar the emptiness felt in the wake of a senseless, random death. “Who’s he going to dinner with?” I ask one of his aides. McChrystal entered West Point in 1972, when the U.S. military was close to its all-time low in popularity. McChrystal may have sold President Obama on counterinsurgency, but many of his own men aren’t buying it. “I would love to kick McChrystal in the nuts. “In reality, that position needs to be filled by an American for it to have weight,” says a U.S. official familiar with the negotiations. In June, the death toll for U.S. troops passed 1,000, and the number of IEDs has doubled. “You better be out there hitting four or five targets tonight,” McChrystal will tell a Navy Seal he sees in the hallway at headquarters. During the Iraq surge, his team killed and captured thousands of insurgents, including Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq. Stanley McChrystal Rolling Stone man who brought down Stanley McChrystal Journalist Michael Hastings reveals how he got to write article that was praised by … Michael Hastings was really only interested in writing stories someone didn't want him to write — often his subjects; occasionally his editor. But they are especially angered by Ingram’s death. “Who’s that?”, “Biden?” suggests a top adviser. McChrystal comes here, explains it, it makes sense. While McChrystal and his men are in indisputable command of all military aspects of the war, there is no equivalent position on the diplomatic or political side. ” The Washington Post quoted anonymous “officials close to McChrystal” claiming Hastings had broken agreed-upon ground rules and used … “We are knee-deep in the decisive year,” he tells them. The Taliban, he insists, no longer has the initiative – “but I don’t think we do, either.” It’s similar to the talk he gave in Paris, but it’s not winning any hearts and minds among the soldiers. Sign up for our newsletter. “The Taliban have a jackboot on the city,” says a military official. The untimely and violent death of award-winning journalist Michael Hastings sparked rumors for years that the CIA was somehow involved in the car crash that claimed his life. Still, the session represents the most forceful commitment that Obama has made to McChrystal’s strategy in months. The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America's War in Afghanistan: Amazon.de: Hastings, Michael: Fremdsprachige Bücher His rules of engagement put soldiers’ lives in even greater danger. The city has been rocked by two massive car bombs in the past day alone, calling into question the general’s assurances that he can wrest it from the Taliban. . There aren’t going to be doors kicked in.” Other U.S. officials insist that doors are going to be kicked in, but that it’s going to be a kinder, gentler offensive than the disaster in Marja. His loyal staff liked to call him a “rock star.” During a spring 2010 trip, journalist Michael Hastings looked on as McChrystal and his staff let off steam, partying and openly bashing the Obama administration. Hastings rose to prominence with his coverage of the Iraq War for Newsweek in the 2000s. Send us a tip using our anonymous form. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”) He went out on dozens of nighttime raids during his time in Iraq, unprecedented for a top commander, and turned up on missions unannounced, with almost no entourage. No way I can tell you not to feel that. “Oh, not another e-mail from Holbrooke,” he groans. Only two days earlier, he had received an e-mail from Israel Arroyo, a 25-year-old staff sergeant who asked McChrystal to go on a mission with his unit. There is a reason that President Obama studiously avoids using the word “victory” when he talks about Afghanistan. Ingram. “How’s the company doing? While other embedded reporters were charmed by McChrystal’s bad-boy bravado and might have excused his insubordination as a joke, Hastings was determined to expose the recklessness of a man leading what Hastings believed to be a reckless war. Hastings was best known for a 2010 Rolling Stone article which led to McChrystal’s resignation and retirement. 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. For a soldier who has traveled halfway around the world to fight, that’s like telling a cop he should only patrol in areas where he knows he won’t have to make arrests. In the course of his reporting he figured this lesson out again and again in Iraq, Afghanistan and in the United States, and part of his passion stemmed from a desire to make everyone else wake the fuck up and realize the value of the life we’re living. I get all that. To put pressure on the Taliban, he has upped the number of Special Forces units in Afghanistan from four to 19. Maybe that’s challenge to continue to use it to write the truth. “We’ve shot an amazing number of people,” McChrystal recently conceded. He introduced mixed martial arts, required every soldier to qualify with night-vision goggles on the rifle range and forced troops to build up their endurance with weekly marches involving heavy backpacks. In 2010, Rolling Stone reporter Michael Hastings thought he would write a profile of Stanley McChrystal, then the commander of the U.S. war in Afghanistan. Furchtlos spürte der US-Journalist Michael Hastings heikle Themen auf, brachte sie an die Öffentlichkeit – und so den US-General McChrystal zu Fall. “If the circumstances of Corporal Tillman’s death become public,” he wrote, it could cause “public embarrassment” for the president. He’s a brilliant guy, but he just comes in, pulls on a lever, whatever he can grasp onto. the sacking of Gen McChrystal as a message to the military generals and industrial mafia from US President Obama, and added that Obama talked about the withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan and resolution to the Kashmir issue. COIN calls for sending huge numbers of ground troops to not only destroy the enemy, but to live among the civilian population and slowly rebuild, or build from scratch, another nation’s government – a process that even its staunchest advocates admit requires years, if not decades, to achieve. You got to work together with these guys.’ ”. Journalist Michael Hastings, whose 2010 Rolling Stone magazine profile of the U.S. military chief in Afghanistan, Stanley McChrystal, led to the … Anybody feel like you’re losing?” McChrystal says. We want to hear from you! “It’s not going to look like a win, smell like a win or taste like a win,” says Maj. Gen. Bill Mayville, who serves as chief of operations for McChrystal. Winning, it would seem, is not really possible. 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. When Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld made his infamous “stuff happens” remark during the looting of Baghdad, McChrystal backed him up. Cadets repeatedly trashed the mess hall in food fights, and birthdays were celebrated with a tradition called “rat fucking,” which often left the birthday boy outside in the snow or mud, covered in shaving cream. But we’re fucking losing this thing.”. “Even as a young officer he seemed to know what he wanted to do. During the question-and-answer period, the frustration boils over. Michael Hastings tells Huffington Post in a phone interview from Afghanistan, where he is embedded with U.S. troops: “Over … His loyal staff liked to call him a “rock star.” During a spring 2010 trip, journalist Michael Hastings looked on as McChrystal and his staff let off steam, partying and openly bashing the Obama administration. The now-infamous report was leaked to the press, and its conclusion was dire: If we didn’t send another 40,000 troops – swelling the number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan by nearly half – we were in danger of “mission failure.” The White House was furious. 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. His class was the last to graduate before the academy started to admit women. He sent this eulogy to Rolling Stone: “My friend Michael Hastings died last night in a car crash in Los Angeles. The COIN doctrine, bizarrely, draws inspiration from some of the biggest Western military embarrassments in recent memory: France’s nasty war in Algeria (lost in 1962) and the American misadventure in Vietnam (lost in 1975). “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. Send us a tip using our anonymous form. General Stanley McChrystal. “I’d rather have my ass kicked by a roomful of people than go out to this dinner,” McChrystal says. You want to wipe the population out here and resettle it?”, A soldier complains that under the rules, any insurgent who doesn’t have a weapon is immediately assumed to be a civilian. But however strategic they may be, McChrystal’s new marching orders have caused an intense backlash among his own troops. The Boss was pretty disappointed.”. 10/ Exit Bush Presidency, enter Obama years. (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. But as he moved up through the ranks, McChrystal relied on the skills he had learned as a troublemaking kid at West Point: knowing precisely how far he could go in a rigid military hierarchy without getting tossed out. We want to hear from you! “The fucking lads love Stan McChrystal,” says a British officer who serves in Kabul. When Barack Obama entered the Oval Office, he immediately set out to deliver on his most important campaign promise on foreign policy: to refocus the war in Afghanistan on what led us to invade in the first place. But this is COIN, and you can’t just have someone yanking on shit.”. He carries a custom-made set of nunchucks in his convoy engraved with his name and four stars, and his itinerary often bears a fresh quote from Bruce Lee. This diplomatic incoherence has effectively allowed McChrystal’s team to call the shots and hampered efforts to build a stable and credible government in Afghanistan. Michael Hastings entlockte Stanley McChrystal seine verächtlichen Äusserungen über die US-Regierung. “We aren’t putting fear into the Taliban,” one soldier says. By Marcus Baram. “The military cannot by itself create governance reform.”, Part of the problem is structural: The Defense Department budget exceeds $600 billion a year, while the State Department receives only $50 billion. Instead, an assortment of administration players compete over the Afghan portfolio: U.S. For Hastings, there was no romance to America’s misbegotten wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Rolling Stone profile of Stanley McChrystal that changed history. I can’t just decide: It’s shirts and skins, and we’ll kill all the shirts.”. But due to McChrystal’s new restrictions to avoid upsetting civilians, the request had been denied. “Bottom line?” says a former Special Forces operator who has spent years in Iraq and Afghanistan. “Patrol only in areas that you are reasonably certain that you will not have to defend yourselves with lethal force,” the laminated card reads. During the worst years in Iraq, when the Bush administration had no real progress to point to, officials used to offer up the exact same evidence of success. His father fought in Korea and Vietnam, retiring as a two-star general, and his four brothers all joined the armed services. McChrystal said he would try to make it down to pay his respects as soon as possible. In “Brinkman’s Note,” a piece of suspense fiction, the unnamed narrator appears to be trying to stop a plot to assassinate the president. You have to show strength here, you have to use fire. What I’m telling you is, fire costs you. You sit and ask yourself: What are we doing here?”, The rules handed out here are not what McChrystal intended – they’ve been distorted as they passed through the chain of command – but knowing that does nothing to lessen the anger of troops on the ground. “I get COIN. 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. “It jeopardizes the mission,” says Stephen Biddle, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who supports McChrystal. The doctrine of counterinsurgency requires a credible government, and since Karzai is not considered credible by his own people, McChrystal has worked hard to make him so. McChrystal steps away from the circle, observing his team. “I found that time painful,” McChrystal tells me in one of several lengthy interviews. The ambassador offered a brutal critique of McChrystal’s strategy, dismissed President Hamid Karzai as “not an adequate strategic partner,” and cast doubt on whether the counterinsurgency plan would be “sufficient” to deal with Al Qaeda. “For a while,” says one U.S. official, “the most dangerous place to be in Afghanistan was in front of McChrystal after a ‘civ cas’ incident.” The ISAF command has even discussed ways to make not killing into something you can win an award for: There’s talk of creating a new medal for “courageous restraint,” a buzzword that’s unlikely to gain much traction in the gung-ho culture of the U.S. military. “General,” he called out to McChrystal, “I didn’t even know we were fighting in Uruzgan!”. “A tsunami of cash fuels corruption, delegitimizes the government and creates an environment where we’re picking winners and losers” – a process that fuels resentment and hostility among the civilian population. Whatever the nature of the new plan, the delay underscores the fundamental flaws of counterinsurgency. It’s “insurgent math,” as he calls it – for every innocent person you kill, you create 10 new enemies. The cable was as scathing as it was prescient. 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. McChrystal and his team show up the next day. “He started to look up to you,” Arroyo wrote. (McChrystal would later claim he didn’t read the recommendation closely enough – a strange excuse for a commander known for his laserlike attention to minute details.) I don’t think his personality has changed in all these years.”. Modern war Story away from the right coat pocket of the military: perpetual war killed by enemy fire Bottom... 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