NYT Magazine Interview: Former US General Stanley McChrystal on the Iraq War, and When it’s Acceptable to Disobey the President – Interview by Decca Aitkenhead
Lord help the poor millennial snowflake who enrols on Stanley McChrystal’s course at Yale. The retired four-star US general now teaches leadership to an elite intake of 21 students, and you’d imagine they’d know better than to show up late for class. But apparently not.
“We’re very strict about timing. It’s a shock for them. I had one last year who wandered into class late, and I publicly humiliated her. If I had gotten that from someone teaching me, I’d have been crushed. But she was just, like, ‘Oh, OK.’” He shakes his head in disbelief. “Wow. It just went right by her. Extraordinary.” The following week, she applied for a job at his company. “We didn’t hire her.”
The 64-year-old ex-super general looks just like any other businessman in this quaintly historic, affluent suburb of Washington where his McChrystal Group offers advice to firms hoping to learn a thing or two about leadership from an army man. More than a third of his 100 staff are ex-military, and the big challenge, he says, is recruiting those capable of adjusting to boardroom life. Spry and wiry, softly spoken and erudite, McChrystal does a flawless impersonation of a civilian, but I can’t stop wondering what life in the leafy burbs must be like for him after years spent in war zones…