Thursday, October 1, 2009

Stanley McChrystal: A Profile by Evan Thomas

The more I read the new Newsweek, the more impressed I am. It is quite substantive and balanced, and the articles are reported in more depth than in many current magazines. It seems that as The Atlantic is becoming more glossy and less substantive, Newsweek's going in the opposite direction (thankfully!).

In this week's issue, Evan Thomas has an interesting profile of General Stanley McChrystal - a mix of personal details (one meal a day!!) and policy analysis. Here's an excerpt:

McChrystal, 55, is a purebred warrior, the son of a two-star general, West Point class of '76, a former commander of the elite Rangers Regiment, and, from 2003 to 2008, the head of hunter-killer black ops in Special Operations. He eats one meal a day, works out obsessively every morning at 5, and is so free of body fat that he looks gaunt.

Lately, as commander of the war in Afghanistan, he has become a kind of Zen warrior, preaching that often "the shot you don't fire is more important than the one you do." He is a student of what he calls "counterinsurgency math." If you encounter 10 Taliban members and kill two, he says, you don't have eight remaining enemies. You have more like 20: the friends and relatives of the two you killed.

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