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Gen. McChrystal: Americans should be very concerned about ISIS

Lauren Lyster

From the fighting in Yemen to the threat of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, battlefields across the globe make daily headlines in the U.S. But how concerned should average Americans be about these global flashpoints? Very concerned, says retired four-star general Stanley McChrystal, who was commander of U.S. and the international security forces in Afghanistan, in a video interview with Yahoo Finance.

“Even if those near-term problems went away tomorrow, the region would still be in absolute disarray,” he tells us, citing Syria’s ongoing civil war and Yemen as a country “essentially without governance,” to back his view. And in McChrystal’s opinion, the issues don’t have a near-term fix that can be solved in a year or with a single military operation, but will take long-term engagement by countries around the world, including the U.S.

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As for the U.S. strategy to combat ISIS, which has included airstrikes against Islamic State militants, McChrystal says to look at the solution as a single military strategy that involves some bombing and drone strikes is a mistake. He says killing the leader of ISIS would not solve the problem either, as ISIS is a “franchised kind of organization” that is much more loosely disconnected, given them a kind of resilience.

Not to mention, ISIS operates not only on the battlefield but through online channels like Twitter (TWTR), which it uses for propaganda and recruitment. McChrystal says to be effective against that threat, the U.S. and other allies are going to have to adapt so they can be responsive in “minutes not weeks,” rendering a traditional “war room” strategy far too slow.

McChrystal's new book Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World hits shelves Tuesday.

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