An ugly paradox of the 21st century is that some of our elegant symbols of modernity — smartphones, laptops and digital cameras — are built from minerals that seem to be fueling mass slaughter and rape in Congo. With throngs waiting in lines in the last few days to buy the latest iPhone, I’m thinking: What if we could harness that desperation for new technologies to the desperate need to curb the killing in central Africa?

In a typical response from other military officials, one Army officer with multiple tours in Afghanistan expressed anger at the lack of discipline displayed by General McChrystal and his inner circle. But he warned that it was symptomatic of wider problems with Mr. Obama’s strategy and among his national security advisers. “They brought this upon themselves and embarrassed the entire military as an institution,” said the officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid any punishment for criticizing his chain of command. “Hopefully, the president uses this as an opportunity to refine his policy and objectives, and also to shuffle the rest of his Af-Pak team, as well,” he said, using the abbreviation for the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. “McChrystal isn’t the only one who probably needs to move elsewhere.”