One of the greatest ironies of the 9/11 Era: while politicians, generals and journalists lined up to denounce al-Qaida as a brutal band of fanatics, one commander thought its organizational structure was kind of brilliant. He set to work rebuilding an obscure military entity into a lethal, agile, secretive and highly networked command — essentially, the United States’ very own al-Qaida. It became the most potent weapon the U.S. has against another terrorist attack.
That was the work of Stanley McChrystal. He is best known as the general who lost his command in Afghanistan after his staff shit-talked the Obama administration to Rolling Stone.