Media perspectives following Bin Laden’s death have been good, bad and ugly. Many great organizational and individual efforts have been forgotten or overlooked with regards to their contribution in getting the world’s top fugitive. I’ve decidedly avoided being overly political or military in my blogging, but today, I’ll take a brief moment to discuss an unsung hero in this week’s events.
General Stanley McChrystal brought the world’s greatest military unit, Joint Special Operations Command, to the pinnacle of its existence. Over the past ten years, U.S. Special Operations Forces have dominated every battlefield they have touched. While GEN McChrystal bore the brunt of what appears be unfounded allegations in Afghanistan, he should be recognized for developing an unprecedented military capability in world history.
Common narratives of the Iraq “Surge” paint a picture of nation building and cultural engagement leading to stability. I argue instead that the decisive point (tipping point for civilians) in the Iraq campaign was McChrystal’s annihilation of terrorist and insurgent networks. McChrystal’s JSOC dismantled al Qaida in Iraq and other insurgent groups providing the operational space for the more commonly known counterinsurgency strategy to take root.
GEN McChrystal enabled the force that executed this week’s legendary raid on Bin Laden. The techniques discovered during his tenure allowed JSOC to continually improve and achieve the most daunting mission. His leadership transcended his tenure and for this the United States should be forever thankful.
I began this post two week’s ago after watching GEN McChrystal’s TED Talk on leadership. I watched the video on the way to work. By the time I got off the train, I was prepared to quit my job and reenlist. GEN McChrystal didn’t dwell on his recent fate, throw himself into politics or take this public opportunity to vindicate himself. Instead, he did what he has always done: inspired the next generation, provided an example for others to follow and led the way….gallantly prevailing this time for a new audience.
So, today, a shout out to GEN McChrystal for being a key leader in one of our country’s greatest victories. In the military, officers often seek to emulate certain famous generals storied in TV and print media. I, however, found my greatest inspiration in the quiet professionals. While I no longer serve in uniform, I am still inspired in my current profession to emulate those that make transformational change by empowering their subordinates. I never wanted to be Eisenhower. I wanted to be a GEN Downing or GEN McChrystal. Thank you for inspiring me and so many others.
So here’s Friday’s inspirational video from a person that deserves his due….