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March 03, 2013

Stanley McChrystal Becomes "Something of a Leftist"

In the new Israeli documentary The Gatekeepers, one of the former heads of the Shin Bet says that for people like him who've seen Israeli foreign policy up close, "when you retire, you become something of a leftist."

According to a new interview with Stanley McChrystal, it looks like that's happening to him too:

MCCHRYSTAL: ...although to the United States, a drone strike seems to have very little risk and very little pain, at the receiving end, it feels like war. Americans have got to understand that. If we were to use our technological capabilities carelessly – I don’t think we do, but there’s always the danger that you will – then we should not be upset when someone responds with their equivalent, which is a suicide bomb in Central Park, because that’s what they can respond with.

Moreover, this is similar to what Colin Powell said in his autobiography in 1996 after he retired from the U.S. military:

McFarlane, now in Beirut, persuaded the President to have the battleship U.S.S. New Jersey start hurling 16-inch shells into the mountains above Beirut, in World War II style, as if we were softening up the beaches on some Pacific atoll prior to an invasion. What we tend to overlook in such situations is that other people will react much as we would... And since they could not reach the battleship, they found a more vulnerable target, the exposed Marines at the airport.

Who knows, at this rate John Brennan – who while in power can only hem and haw about how "al-Qaeda is just determined to carry out attacks here against the homeland" – may be saying this seven minutes after he retires from running the CIA.

Of course, McChrystal left out some pretty important things:

1. We already had the attempted car bombing in Times Square by Faisal Shahzad, which Shahzad explicitly claimed was revenge for "the drone strikes in Somalia and Yemen and in Pakistan" (plus other U.S. foreign policy).

2. Manhattan has already experienced some suicide attacks, though they were about five miles south of Central Park. It would be interesting to find out whether McChrystal believes there was some connection between those attacks and U.S. foreign policy. If so, he'd be more than just something of a leftist.

—Jon Schwarz

Posted at March 3, 2013 08:10 AM

I am wondering WHY this conversion has not taken place in John Bolton!! It is seven years since he left the UN. May be it will happen after he retires from AEI and similar neocon think tanks!?
I have to admit, I can not wait......conversion will be something to watch! I can not even begin to imagine, what will be his line...... may be, " Because Iranians have admired Americans and American culture ALWAYS, we should just forget about attacking them.... sanctions should be lifted and their President should be our "state guest"!! That will channel their energy to making friends with us and sell us oil ( at a discounted price ) instead of making nuclear bombs which they have every right to considering their neighbouhood is NOT a nulear free zone. What a relief THAT will be! The best person to analyse the conversion will be Prof Gary Sick....

ps I am wondering, what makes them do it? Are they drinking water from a different source??

Posted by: rupa shah at March 3, 2013 09:50 AM

I think that if the Bolton conversion were to take place, you wouldn't want to be anywhere nearby, as it would likely produce an explosion similar to the Einsteinian conversion of matter to energy.

Posted by: darrelplant at March 3, 2013 11:42 AM


Thank you! I have been forewarned...
In my excitement of anticipation of that day, I never thought of what "other consequences" could be!!

Posted by: rupa shah at March 3, 2013 12:31 PM

That Colin Powell autobiography seems to be a goldmine of material for lefties. I've never read it or even seen it, but maybe I'll see if the local library system has a copy.

McChrystal's comment was very carefully worded. "IF we were to use our technological capabilities carelessly"--but of course we haven't--"THEN we should not be surprised" if there are terrorist attacks against us. It's brilliant. He's said something that Chomsky could have written (and has) and really it's just common sense, but he's said it in plausibly deniable way, so he can't be cast out of respectable mainstream society.

Posted by: Donald Johnson at March 3, 2013 12:43 PM

What's interesting is how Americans cannot get over 9/11 despite the fact that very little has happened since then in the way of "revenge" except for a few completely incompetent attempts that failed miserably. I mean we can bomb the shit out of everyone for the last eleven years but one incident occurs and America falls apart at the seams. It seems clear we are as crazy as the Israeli are. Regarding people like the general and Powell I have no use for reformed murderers, don't want to know them, don't want to meet them. I don't care how lefty they become, whatever the "left" is, something I have left behind, happily.

Posted by: Rob Payne at March 3, 2013 01:04 PM

Meanwhile along the northern border of Pakistan, high over head, so high up as to be unseen, unheard, an eagle spies it prey. Two small rockets drop away and Granny thinks, " I'll need to pick up a quart of milk and a can of cat food for Tabby on the way home". "Whoops, better check to see if I'm on target. And yes, there goes the neighborhood."

Posted by: Mike Meyer at March 3, 2013 01:21 PM

Meanwhile along the northern border of Pakistan, high over head, so high up as to be unseen, unheard, an eagle spies it prey. Two small rockets drop away and Granny thinks, " I'll need to pick up a quart of milk and a can of cat food for Tabby on the way home". "Whoops, better check to see if I'm on target. And yes, there goes the neighborhood."

Posted by: Mike Meyer at March 3, 2013 01:21 PM

fear of hellfire

Posted by: frankenduf at March 3, 2013 01:54 PM

for mike meyer:

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at March 4, 2013 11:12 AM

mistah charlie ph.d. I failed to make the link. All I got was a picture of a Saint Bernard. I get the point. There's always the heart warming photo shoot.
One could wish the Afghanis could rescue their own cats without the help of U.S. Marines. Without seeing the article I just imagine Dad was in a diaper&hood, chained to the floor of a Globemaster headed to GITMO (or worse) is why he couldn't rescue his OWN cat and therefore, The Marines, being close by, stepped in to take up the slack.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at March 4, 2013 01:05 PM

I disagree with this. There are plenty of people who are willing to tell it like it is. I'll call them leftists when they suggest we should behave differently as a result.

I.e, the leftist is the guy who, in addition to saying, "If you do X, then Y happens," also tacks on "Maybe we shouldn't do X."

Posted by: saurabh at March 4, 2013 03:25 PM

HUNGER STRIKE AT GITMO, again. How's THAT for a foreign policy, stinking, festering, eyesore??? (only its in Cuba, not that foreign OR that far away) Those prisoners seem willing to starve to death, can't WE be HUMANE for once? Doesn't the military have a backhoe they can rent for an hour or so to dig a ditch to dump them in? Line them up along the edge and shoot them, cover them up and have the backhoe back in time for the discount. (sequester cut-backs)

Posted by: Mike Meyer at March 7, 2013 02:33 PM

There is noticeably a bundle to know about this. I assume you made particular nice points in features also.

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Posted by: Boorgonna at March 7, 2013 08:24 PM

I read Colin Powell's autobiography in August 2011. My predominate thought was "well, he's way dumber than I ever suspected".

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Posted by: red bottom shoes at March 9, 2013 12:10 PM

Susan: I see where Colin Powell was asking an interviewer why he is still called "African-American" instead of just "American". I'm absolutely sure he gets these ideas from dealing with people overseas instead or people here. He may ACTUALLY believe that racism is no longer relevant in the good ole USA. Like many, he's missed the boat on that one too.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at March 9, 2013 03:24 PM