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General McChrystal on drones: 'They are hated on a visceral level'

Gen. Stanley McChrystal

Gen. Stanley McChrystal // Defense Department file photo

General Stanley McChrystal cautioned about the use of drones in a recent interview with Reuters. While he applauded what they allowed him to do with his special forces troops, he told the news agency that the people of Afghanistan just hated drones.

Here's what he said in full. It's not the first time that he's sounded such warnings, but it's still remarkable coming from the man who ran the American war (aka counterinsurgency) in the country.

"What scares me about drone strikes is how they are perceived around the world," he said in an interview. "The resentment created by American use of unmanned strikes ... is much greater than the average American appreciates. They are hated on a visceral level, even by people who've never seen one or seen the effects of one."

McChrystal said the use of drones exacerbates a "perception of American arrogance that says, 'Well we can fly where we want, we can shoot where we want, because we can.'"

Not to put too fine a point on it, but drones make American power clear. We can kill without risk of getting killed. Who would not hate that power dynamic, were it visited upon one's country?

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