June 22nd, 2010
04:41 PM ET

Gen. Stanley McChrystal: Latest developments

Here are the latest developments involving Gen. Stanley McChrystal, America's top commander in Afghanistan. He and his staff made comments in a Rolling Stone article that appear to mock top civilian officials, including Vice President Joe Biden. The story, which is to appear in Friday's edition, was written by Michael Hastings.

[Updated at 10:11 p.m.] McChrystal likely will resign Wednesday, a Pentagon source with ongoing contacts with the general said.

[Updated at 7:43 p.m.] McChrystal is prepared to resign if the president has lost confidence in him, a national security official told CNN.

[Updated at 6:04 p.m.] McChrystal has "offered to resign," according to a Twitter post from Time magazine's Joe Klein on Tuesday. Earlier, Klein, citing "a very reliable source," told CNN that McChrystal had already submitted his resignation.

The Twitter post from Klein's magazine offered the "clarification" that the general has "'offered to resign' he has NOT submitted his resignation."

[Updated at 5:55 p.m.] President Obama said that McChrystal showed "poor judgment," but he added that he would wait until meeting in person with McChrystal before making a decision on McChrystal's future. Obama is expected to meet with McChrystal on Wednesday.

[Updated at 4:41 p.m.] McChrystal has submitted his resignation, Time magazine's Joe Klein told CNN, citing an unnamed source. CNN is working to confirm Klein's information.

[Updated at 3:50 p.m.] Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-North Dakota, a member of the Senate Democratic leadership, called for McChrystal to step down, telling CNN that the remarks in Rolling Stone were "unbelievably inappropriate and just
can't be allowed to stand."

[Updated at 3:30 p.m.] Gen. Stanley McChrystal and his staff "became aware" that the Rolling Stone story would be controversial before it was published, story author Michael Hastings told CNN Tuesday.

I "got word from (McChrystal's) staff ... that there was some concern" about possible fallout from the story, Hastings said.

Hastings noted that there was "a lot" of material from the interviews with McChrystal that he didn't use in the article.

[Updated at 1:41 p.m.] Waheed Omar, spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai, said U.S. Gen. Stanley McChrystal is the best commander for the war in Afghanistan and hopes Obama does not replace him. Karzai and his team believe McChrystal is a man of strong integrity who has a strong understanding of the Afghan people and their culture, Omar said.

[Updated at 1:25 p.m.] President Barack Obama was "angry" after seeing the upcoming controversial magazine article about Gen. Stanley McChrystal, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Tuesday.

"I gave him the article last night," Gibbs said at the daily White House news briefing. "He was angry."

Earlier, Gibbs described the "magnitude and graveness" of mistakes by McChrystal in the article as "profound."

[Updated at 1:10 p.m.] White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Tuesday that Gen. Stanley McChrystal will have President Barack Obama's "undivided attention" on Wednesday when the two meet in person.  "The president looks forward to speaking with him tomorrow about what's in the (Rolling Stone) article," Gibbs said.

[Updated at 1:09 p.m.] White House press secretary Robert Gibbs refused Tuesday to say what President Barack Obama's reaction was to the story about Gen. Stanley McChrystal in Rolling Stone.  But he noted that McChrystal had been recalled to Washington in part to explain his actions.

"Suffice it to say, our combatant commander does not usually participate in (Afghanistan war planning) meetings from Washington," Gibbs said.  Obama will speak to McChrystal about his comments.

"We'll have more to say after that meeting," Gibbs said. [Updated at 1:01 p.m.] Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Carl Levin, D-Michigan, said Tuesday that Gen. Stanley McChrystal's remarks will have "a negative effect on policy implementation" in Afghanistan.  Levin said he didn't know if McChrystal would be able to keep his job.

[Updated at 12:12 p.m.] Defense Secretary Robert Gates released the following statement on McChrystal's comments:

"I read with concern the profile piece on Gen. Stanley McChrystal in the upcoming edition of ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine. I believe that Gen. McChrystal made a significant mistake and exercised poor judgment in this case. We are fighting a war against al Qaeda and its extremist allies, who directly threaten the United States, Afghanistan, and our friends and allies around the world. Going forward, we must pursue this mission with a unity of purpose. Our troops and coalition partners are making extraordinary sacrifices on behalf of our security, and our singular focus must be on supporting them and succeeding in Afghanistan without such distractions. Gen. McChrystal has apologized to me and is similarly reaching out to others named in this article to apologize to them as well. I have recalled Gen. McChrystal to Washington to discuss this in person."

Read excerpts from Rolling Stone magazine profile

[Updated at 11:46 a.m.] U.S. Senators John McCain (R-Arizona), Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut), and Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) issued the following statement regarding General McChrystal's comments in Rolling Stone:

“We have the highest respect for General McChrystal and honor his brave service and sacrifice to our nation.  General McChrystal’s comments, as reported in Rolling Stone, are inappropriate and inconsistent with the traditional relationship between Commander-in-Chief and the military.  The decision concerning General McChrystal’s future is a decision to be made by the President of the United States.”

[Updated at 10:46 a.m.] Rolling Stone Executive Editor Eric Bates told CNN Tuesday that comments made by Gen. Stanley McChrystal and other top military aides to writer Michael Hastings in Afghanistan were "not off the cuff remarks."

"They gave us a lot of access," Bates said.  "We fact-checked it thoroughly. ... They knew what they were doing when they granted the access and the interview."

Bates said the story shows "a deep division" and "a war within the administration" over strategy in Afghanistan.  It's "hard to see how we can win a war when we're divided ourselves," he said.

[Updated at 10:13 a.m.] Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, weighed in Tuesday on the controversy surrounding Gen. Stanley McChrystal, saying that his "impression is that all of us would be best served by just backing off and staying cool and calm and not sort of succumbing to the normal Washington twitter about this for the next 24 hours."

McChrystal is "a terrific soldier," Kerry said at the start of a committee hearing. But "it will be up to the president of the United States, as commander in chief" to decide how to respond.

"The priorities of (the Afghanistan) mission are best served by letting the president and his commanders make a determination as to how we move forward," Kerry added.

McChrystal, America's top military commander in Afghanistan, has been recalled to Washington amid his controversial remarks about colleagues and civilian authorities in a Rolling Stone magazine article.

[Update 9:05 a.m.] An official at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul said Ambassador Karl Eikenberry and McChrystal "are both fully committed" to President Obama's Afghan strategy and are working together to implement the plan. The official said, "We have seen the article and Gen. McChrystal has already spoken to it."

[Update 8:28 a.m.] A U.S. military official confirms to CNN that Gen. Stanley McChrystal has now spoken to: Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, Special Representative Richard Holbrooke, National Security Adviser Jim Jones and Vice President Joe Biden.

Remarks about Biden

McChrystal and his staff had imagined ways of dismissing Vice President Joe Biden with a one-liner as they prepared for a questions-and-answer session in Paris, France, in April.

He had grown tired of questions about Biden since earlier dismissing a counterterrorism strategy the vice president had offered.

"Are you asking about Vice President Biden? Biden?" McChrystal says with a laugh. "Who's that?" Hastings writes.

"Biden?" suggests a top adviser. "Did you say, 'Bite Me?' "

Comments about other top officials

The article paints McChrystal as a man who "has managed to piss off almost everyone with a stake" in the Afghan conflict, including U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, Special Representative to Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke and National Security Adviser Jim Jones.

Of Eikenberry, who railed against McChrystal's strategy in Afghanistan in a cable leaked to The New York Times in January, the general said, "Here's one that covers his flank for the history books. Now if we fail, they can say, 'I told you so.' "

McChrystal has a "special skepticism" for Holbrooke, the official in charge of reintegrating Taliban members into Afghan society, Hastings writes.

"At one point on his trip to Paris, McChrystal checks his BlackBerry. 'Oh, not another e-mail from Holbrooke,' he groans. 'I don't even want to open it.' He clicks on the message and reads the salutation out loud, then stuffs the BlackBerry back in his pocket, not bothering to conceal his annoyance."

"'Make sure you don't get any of that on your leg,' an aide jokes, referring to the e-mail."

The fallout

McChrystal extends his "sincerest apology for this profile," saying it was a "mistake reflecting poor judgment and should never have happened."

"I have enormous respect and admiration for President Obama and his national security team, and for the civilian leaders and troops fighting this war and I remain committed to ensuring its successful outcome," he said.

McChrystal said he's "lived by the principles of personal honor and professional integrity" throughout his career and that "what is reflected in this article falls far short of that standard."

McChrystal was recalled to Washington to attend a meeting on Afghanistan and Pakistan in person rather than by video conference on Wednesday to explain his remarks to Obama and Pentagon officials, administration officials said.

McChrystal has fired a press aide because of the Rolling Stone article, two defense officials told CNN Tuesday morning.

soundoff (663 Responses)
  1. L

    MSNBC: McChrystal summoned to U.S. over 'wimps' article
    CBS: McChrystal Summoned Over Magazine Quotes
    CNN: General recalled to Washington after remarks
    ABC: White House Recalls Top General From Afghanistan After Controversial Interview
    FOX: McChrystal Ordered to U.S. Over White House Criticism

    None of the major news outlets could say that: Obama Orders McChrystal to the Whitehouse or the Commander-in-Chief orders his Top General in Afghanistan back to the Whitehouse. I guess that the hardest Psychiatry or Psychology is of self. There may be decades before anyone will be truthful enough or feel comfortable enough to do a real analysis of slavery and the black white divide in America. I thought it would be different for the President as he is not a decendent of US Slaves. I guess it was enough to give people a warm and fuzzy enough feeling to elect him but there are still some coded issues that run deep in our psyche that is extraordinary to watch.

    June 22, 2010 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Poly_Indy

      what the he** are you talking about? Really? Everything is racism, eh? You are a race baiter who gives minorities a bad name. You should invest in a thesaurus at some point (probably before you earn your GED). The correct terms are used in “recall” and “summoned” because that is what it is. Google Gen. Macarthur where you will find that he was “recalled” from Vietnam or the General that President Bush “recalled” for a policy disagreement. You are just a liberal idiot that tries to find racism anywhere you can and when it isn’t there, you create it.

      June 22, 2010 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Bryce

      @Poly_Indy – MacArthur was recalled from Vietnam? I think you might want to check your history books

      June 22, 2010 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  2. Cortimetrix

    The case of Gen. Crystal Meth is just the latest in a long string of leaders and wannabes who can't keep their mouths shut. What's going on with all these bright people? Speaking unaware of an open mic is one thing (although I am also unforgiving of that), but saying these things to a Rolling Stone reporter simply boggles.

    June 22, 2010 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      I will tell you what is going on. Even responsible, intelligent and dedicated professionals like Gen. McChrystal are having to speak out about the atrocities of this president. BHO does not know what he is doing and he is finally being called on it.

      June 22, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Lynn

    This guy should have been stripped of a few stars and relieved of his post the first time he insulted his commander in chief. His arrogance is unacceptable. Who does he think he is anyway?????

    June 22, 2010 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
    • rick

      in the marine corps they have a way to settle differences as learned in bootcamp called pugil sticks ,6 ft handle with 2 cushioned ends ,both parties wear head gear, jim jones and mccrystal ,the marine corp way .
      semper fi 76-79 ps put on pay preview

      June 22, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Christy

    He is Fired.

    June 22, 2010 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
  5. Rex

    McChrystal? I like him. We need more honest hard working men in our country because we can't find them leading our government.

    June 22, 2010 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Kardiac

      You like this Officer? He came very close to inciting a mutiny. Are you going to like him when he leads a tank brigade up Pennsylvania Ave. to take control of the White House? Civilians run the military. The General needs to remember that.

      June 22, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Proud Veteran

    We serve every citizen of this country when we put on our uniform, even the ones we didn't vote for. This officer and leader has shamed his service, the military, and himself. I'm confident there are others than can conduct these operations – we do not need this man. Replace him now, and reaffirm the chain of command.

    June 22, 2010 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Proud Veteran II

      Ditto.

      June 22, 2010 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Denise

      Yes the General spoke out of turn and should have kept his mouth closed,I agree with you.However I don't like the race card being played and called out every time there is a disagreement.To me this is very childish and shows ignorance. You would think it would stop some day some way!

      June 22, 2010 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Attila

    Can you imagine what would happen to a lowly private who treated McCrystal with the same disrespect? Sounds like the general billy big shi_ needs to be put in his place. Jerk

    June 22, 2010 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
    • chris

      sounds like your not very educated.

      June 22, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • OregonDon

      an educated person would not say 'your', they would say, – 'you're'

      June 22, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • OregonDon

      should be written, – "sounds like you're not educated" not 'your

      June 22, 2010 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Umm

      Actually nobody of any great intelligence would start there sentence without proper capitalization. Not to mention "should be written" (followed by a , and a – )

      What should be written? "Should be written" is not a proper sentence.

      Just saying man......

      June 22, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Proper English

      I love that you correct someone's use of capitalization when you obviously do not know the proper usage of "there" and "their". Really? Bottom line is this article was so unnecessary and quite frankly it makes Americans as a whole look like idiots to the whole world.

      June 22, 2010 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • rdg18

      Nobama is the jerk in chief.

      June 22, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Nick San Diego

    Throw him out like Truman did to McArthur. McArthur could;nt get away with his antics and this McChrystal is definetly no McArthur. The President has to make an example of this mans insuboridination. Thank God the Military does;nt run the show.

    June 22, 2010 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
    • J

      Yes, the politicians did a great job running Vietnam.

      June 22, 2010 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  9. Susan

    The general, the one who covered up and lied about pat tillmans death should get a dishonorable discharge. Bush should have given it to him. The man obviously has no respect for his commander and chief.

    June 22, 2010 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
    • kmm

      I'm with you, Susan. I, too, remember that this military "leader" was the one who covered up the real reason for the death of Pat Tilden, reducing Mr. Tilden to a PR piece. I remember the suffering and bewilderment of his family, stonewalled for months by MacChrystal and his minions, who simply wanted to know how their son died.

      Mac Chrystal has lived his life with "personal honor and professional integrity"? The proof is in one's deeds, not in words. No wonder Karzai is his apologist!

      June 22, 2010 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  10. Robert Cadalso

    I am all for freedom of speech, but a General, who is supposed to be in charge and lead made a terrible mistake. This is unforgivable and he must be taken out of commission.

    June 22, 2010 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  11. 11banger

    First of all, why is a military officer talking to Rolling Stone? The media has far too large a role in the war, and the mission and its executors (the soldiers) are suffering because of it. It's not even as though it was a real news source but a stupid magazine. McChrystals only real mistake was talking to the wrong publications.
    Second, this man's business has been warfare for a very long time. You don't make it that far in the military if you don't know what you're doing. I think Gen. McChrystals opinion is the only one that really matters. Obama has no military experience or knowledge to speak of, and isn't really qualified to make any form of combat decision. Just let the professionals handle it.
    And stop crucifying American Heroes in defense of socialists.

    June 22, 2010 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
  12. CatK

    This sounds a lot like MacArthur and Truman. Truman had the ***** to fire him (and MacArthur was a big time WWII hero). Unfortunately the general also was an egomaniac, and since he had insulted Truman before, when he did the big one, he got canned.

    June 22, 2010 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  13. Nofets

    “Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Transportation, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.”
    Article 88 – Contempt toward officials

    June 22, 2010 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      If you take the action of telling the truth then expect the consequences. I respect him for taking it to the public , Obama has no business "playing" President and the General must accept the firing that will come. Another firing will arrive in 2012.

      June 22, 2010 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
    • John C

      Ed- The president was elected by a large majority of the people. Nobody is "playing" president. People like you though are "playing" being American. Keep dreaming on taking the next election. The right can't come up with a single idea, let alone an actual compitent candidate. Palin, Romney, Hucklebee,Gingrich ..........

      June 22, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Larry44

      Ed, check your figures – Obamahama was elected by the Electoral College, not by popular vote. If it had been by popular vote (as is should – fire the frickin Electoral College, it's original purpose no longer exists), Obamahama would still be a ex-senator community organizer

      June 22, 2010 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Larry44

      Sorry Ed, that comment was supposed to be directed to John C. I have to agree that the general (even though he was 100% truthful) should be disciplined as his statements did reflect insubordination to his chain of command, me, on the other hand only has to be responsible to my wife, and she feels the same ..... Obamahama and his gang of merry jokesters should be the ones fired for what they have done to our country. My children, their children and their children's children will be paying for this ungodly deficit the current administration has placed on us. Also, I am sick and f__kin tired of paying the way for illegals in OUR country – no, this IS NOT THEIR COUNTRY, nor do we OWN them a damned thing shy of showing them the way back across the border and telling them to not let the door hit them in the a$$ as they leave!

      June 22, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • LKJ

      @Larry44–Obama was elected by both the electoral vote and the popular vote. GW Bush is the one who was elected by electoral vote but not popular vote.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • DMR

      You are the one that is incorrect. President Obama won the election with 66,882,230 votes to McCain's 58,343,671 votes. Maybe you are thi9nking of the 2000 election of GWB who lost the popular vote by about 450,000, against Al Gore. Fact impairment appears to be a problem with many of the CONservatives.

      June 22, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kardiac

      @ Larry44....yes I agree. The President6 should be elected by popular vote. That way we would not be in the mess we are. Al Gore would have been elected having taken the popular vote. Thank you for agreeing.

      June 22, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • dusty

      Sorry Larry44, but I won't let your lie go unanswered. Obama won the electoral college, but also won the popular vote.

      Obama: 69,456,897 McCain : 59,934,814
      Reference: http://www.fec.gov/pubrec/fe2008/2008presgeresults.pdf

      You right-wingnuts just can't deal with facts, can you?

      June 22, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Ed–So sick and tired of your right-wing B.S. and disrespect of our President. It's the dummies like you who have no respect for anything or anyone except what you believe in who are destroying our nation and tearing us apart. Obama's worst day is still better than the Bush family dynasty's best. At leat Pres. Obama has never pretended to be something he is not; Junior Bush pretended he was a military man, and along with Cheney and most of his cabient ran from service every chance they got. Try to deny that one, Ed. Military folk learn to take orders; time they take orders from a guy who works much harder than any of them, and is a bit smarter as well.

      June 22, 2010 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      John, the sick and tired -is the left wing agenda of the Obama administration. Look who he brought with him to the White house and of course his friends like Rev Wright. I'll take Geo Bush's air guard over the community organizer any day. The thought of this President dressing down a man like Gen Mc Crystal makes me ill. I just attended a wake for a soldier who was killed in Afganastan and his commander in chief was Obama! Heaven help us. Perhaps he can get advice from his Pentagon bomber friend Prof Ayers.

      June 22, 2010 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  14. LA

    He should be fired.

    June 22, 2010 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
  15. jewelgirl12

    In the corporate world he would already be out. How do you get respect when you don't show it. He lives a priviliaged life and has forgotton who he works for.

    June 22, 2010 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Master sergeant Airborne

      Priviliged life? He makes about 100,000 a year and has spent very little time enjoying the freedoms that you do because he has been in a combat zone, fighting for YOUR freedom for much of the last 8 years. He worked very hard to make it too the rank of General. I know. He should get a phone call from Obama reminding him just who his boss is and be sent back to work in Afghanistan.

      June 23, 2010 at 7:18 am | Report abuse |
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