Stanley McChrystal bids farewell to army life

Gen. Stanley McChrystal ended his 34-year career as an Army officer Friday in an emotional retirement ceremony at his military headquarters in Washington, D.C., marking the last chapter of his swift and stunning fall from grace.

Before a crowd of a few hundred friends, family and colleagues on the Fort McNair parade grounds under an oppressively hot July sun, McChrystal said his service didn’t end as he hoped. But he regretted few decisions he had made on the battlefield, cherished his life as a soldier and was optimistic about his future, he said.

I trusted and I still trust,” McChrystal said. “I cared and I still care. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

The former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan was fired last month after Rolling Stone magazine published an article titled “The Runaway General” that quoted scathing remarks he and his aides made about their civilian bosses…

Shortly after the article was published, McChrystal was sent packing…

McChrystal also sounded a more serious note, when he talked about the pain of leaving behind unfulfilled commitments in Afghanistan and watching colleagues ensnared in the scandal…

Still, he said he was approaching the future with optimism…

Soldiers attending the ceremony were allowed to forgo their formal dress uniforms in lieu of combat fatigues — an apparent tribute to a war commander fresh from battle and whose career was marked by more secret operations to snatch terror suspects than by pomp and circumstance.

Wearing his own Army combat uniform for the last time, the four-star general received full military honors, including a 17-gun salute and flag formations by the Army’s Old Guard.

RTFA. A modicum of interest and insight.

As much as I support the precedence of civilian control over the military, Stan McChrystal will be missed in this household. As much of my life as I spent afoot, in the field and in political war zones opposing the imperial uses of American military might – I will miss a good soldier who understood 4th Generation warfare and the commitment to civilian needs required by that understanding.

I haven’t saluted a general since the days of Omar Bradley and Georgii Zhukov. I salute Stanley McChrystal.

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