Retired four-star General Stanley McChrystal speaks in Center City tonight as part of Widener University’s Philadelphia Speakers Series. Follow his remarks at the Kimmel Center as we live-tweet them.
Retired four-star General Stanley McChrystal speaks at the Kimmel Center tonight as part of Widener University’s Philadelphia Speakers Series.
McChrystal was the commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan. He also oversaw the Joint Special Operations Command, running the military’s most secretive counter-terrorism operations, from 2003 to 2008. During his leadership at the JSOC, McChrystal is credited with the capture of Saddam Hussein in 2003 and the discovery and killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, in 2006.
Apart from a long and, at times, lauded military career, McChrystal is also rememebred for criticisms that arose against him when a unit under JSOC command was disciplined for abusing detainees in Baghdad. He also played a role in the cover-up of Army Ranger Pat Tillman’s death in Afghanistan in 2004 by so-called friendly fire.
McChrystal has a reputation for speaking his mind where other military leaders are more inclined to hold back. He came under fire in 2009 when a report he issued to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates advocating for increased troop presence in Afghanistan was made public. The move was seen by some in Congress as a tactic to force the hand of the commander in chief.
His candor may have worked against him again after he and members of his staff made some unflattering remarks about Vice President Joe Biden and other administration officials in a 2010 Rolling Stone article. President Barack Obama shortly thereafter accepted his resignation of his command in Afghanistan. Days later, McChrystal announced his retirement.
Despite these criticisms, McChrystal is widely recognized and respected for his leadership on the field. He now teaches a graduate seminar at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. His remarks at the Kimmel Center will center on strategic challenges facing the nation.