Periscope Depth

till we all without sin, let’s stop the pulpittin’

Someone got me a subscription to Rolling Stone magazine. Two of them have shown up in my mailbox in the last two weeks. Whoever it is, thanks, I guess, but you can own up to it. Unless this is a credit card company courting me, in which case I’m not interested.

The first issue I got featured an interview with Jay-Z. Apparently Jay-Z, part owner of the New Jersey Nets, did not try to recruit his friend LeBron James for his team. He claims it’d be hard to maintain a friendship with someone when they work for you, especially when they go 12-and-70 for the season. The article also featured a pic of Jay-Z shoveling dirt at the groundbreaking of the new Nets arena in Brooklyn, the one that Bruce Ratner used eminent domain to seize the land for. I lost a little respect for HOVA when I saw that. But not all of it. My respect for hustlers has shepherded me into some weird contradictions before. I acknowledge it; nothing I can do.

The most recent issue featured a cartoonishly Photoshopped Lady Gaga on the cover. This is the one with the profile that cost Stanley McChrystal his job. Reading it, I was amazed at the sort of things the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan would say with a Rolling Stone reporter in the room. He boasts that none of his staff could take him in a fight. He sneers at restaurants that have candles on their tables. His advisers refer to Biden as “Bite Me,” and call a meeting with a French diplomat “fucking gay.” And all this before Obama fired him. Imagine the sort of shit he’ll say now.

And yet, despite his thuggish attitude, McChrystal’s painted as the one man who understands the implications of the Ruling Party’s counterinsurgency (COIN) strategy. He refers to the “insurgent math” that governs COIN engagements: for every innocent person you kill, you create 10 new enemies. McChrystal led the way in apologizing for the many civilian deaths that NATO presence in Afghanistan has caused. By McChrystal’s own acknowledgment, NATO forces killed or wounded over 100 Afghan civilians who posed no threat since he took charge – “an amazing number of people [...] none [of whom] has ever proven a threat,” in the General’s own words.

And now McChrystal’s gone.