New Afghanistan Commander Is Warrior-Scholar

Workaholic McChrystal has shadowy past, links to spy agencies
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted May 13, 2009 7:52 AM CDT
Stanley A. McChrystal, left, will become the new top commander of the American military in Afghanistan.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the designated new American commander in Afghanistan, has a reputation for hard work and self-denial: He sleeps for just a few hours and eats only one meal a day. Colleagues describe McChrystal, the current director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as an ideal combination of fighter and thinker. "He’s got all the Special Ops attributes, plus an intellect," said one retired major general.

Between 2003 and 2008 McChrystal ran the Joint Special Operations Command, which for years the Pentagon said did not exist. There he reshaped an insular unit and built alliances with the FBI and CIA, although he came into conflict with Donald Rumsfeld when the then-defense secretary canceled a plan to assassinate Osama bin Laden's deputy. "He knows intelligence, he knows covert action, and he knows the value of partnerships," said one Afghanistan veteran.