General Stanley McChrystal's legacy, writes Christopher Hitchens at Slate, will not be his proud service in Afghanistan and Iraq, but his final role as a "feather in the cap" of Rolling Stone. And that is something of a tragic conclusion to the career of this "serious warrior." His relationship with the media showed that the general had "no great political talent," but we should not underestimate the significance of his achievements fighting al Qaeda — or the impact of the services we have lost. An excerpt:
"Until last month, we only had two generals who could claim to have taken on al Qaeda and defeated it both militarily and politically. And this was when Gens. David Petraeus and Stanley McChrystal were working in tandem in Iraq. Afghanistan has proved much more resistant to their skills, whether exerted separately or together....
"Might it be salutary to ask Gen. McChrystal for one more mission? Send him back to Baghdad to help oversee the drawdown and also to continue the trouncing of those who are trying to disrupt the transition. Help pass on to the Iraqi army a cadre of battle-tested fighters, Arab and Kurdish, who have learned to take the measure of the enemy. Make it plain that further help from over the horizon is available if they ask for it. This would be a much more fitting career conclusion than the one currently offered, which has something small and dishonorable about it."
Read the entire article at Slate.