The other day I heard an old TED talk by Stanley McChrystal, the general famously let go in 2010 after his immediate retinue showed an astonishing contempt for the army’s civilian leadership in front of a Rolling Stone reporter. I get all kinds of talks from TED, some enlightening and some less so, but this one kind of floored me. He has basically one message, repeated slowly and with emphasis: great leaders forgive people who screw up and certainly don’t fire them. That may seem a smidge rich considering, well, you know. But! Lest he come across as an unrepentant insubordinate venting his grievances in public like a divorced drunk would to his bartender, McChrystal takes care to not mention the words “Obama” or “poopy mcstinkpants” even once. So who knows what inspired this particular diatribe. Could be anything!
To illustrate McChrystal reminisces about a time he got smoked in a simulated engagement designed specifically to trip up young officers. In other words he failed the Kobayashi Maru test, exactly as intended, and to his eternal amazement his commanding officer did not have him hanged. This further reinforces that he could not possibly be talking about you-know-who, because comparing a training exercise to gross insubordination by the staff of a commanding general in a real conflict would be incredibly stupid.
In all honesty I love TED at least as often as I roll my eyes, but the decision to build an hour-long episode around this kind of baffles me.