Stan McChrystal, Drone Skeptic
The former commander of the Afghanistan war and the most elite unit in the U.S. military wants to use robotic aircraft “a lot.” But retired Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal actually sounded more like a skeptic of the U.S.’ robotic arsenal during a talk to an elite audience. McChrystal sounded notes of caution about both the lethal and the non-lethal functions of the U.S. robotic arsenal.
“We can look at things and get an extraordinary ability to see things,” McChrystal told CBS News’ Bob Schieffer at the Aspen Ideas Festival, a meeting of U.S. economic, political and media elites. But McChrystal, who revolutionized the Joint Special Operations Command’s intelligence operations, said drones provide merely “one part of an understanding. We need to understand what drones are not.”
Drones are no substitute for information derived from human beings, the former commander emphasized, on the ground in dangerous, confusing places. McChrystal reminded an audience that isn’t particularly familiar with the U.S. military that for all hype about the sophisticated drones — Schieffer, a news anchorman and talk show host, casually asserted that the drones are “very effective” — they can’t peer inside buildings or assess an enemy’s intentions. “I hope we don’t use them to the exclusion of teaching people [foreign] languages, [and] sending people to live” in foreign countries, McChrystal said.
And their ability to expedite killing the wrong people is profound.