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. Dr. Hanus

    Maybe he did it because he sincerely thinks like I do, that we have morons in the W.H. Biden and Obama are not that smart, and dont have to get their hands dirty. McCrystal stepped out on them and deservedly so. He has the GOD GIVEN rignt to be a human being and has been under more stress than anyone should have to. People react to stress, why would McCrystal be any different? If you want perfection, get a robot.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Bill in NM

    The good General needs to keep his job and the admin officials, including loud-mouth Biden, need to resign.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • silkphoenix

      Good General? If you disrespect to your boss at work, do you think you'll be fired? Of course! Think about it! We'll all have our opinions. If you don't like how the war goes, you are free to resign. But do not say anything in the public to disrespect your boss! That's a common sense, people!

      June 22, 2010 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Tonette

    This country is in terrible trouble on many levels. I don't feel that Obama has any authority to get angry and/or levy any sanctions over any military personnel as he has never spent one day in any military capacity. President or not, he has no military knowledge at all.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Skeeter

    Before anyone posts about what you think the general supposedly said, I suggest everyone actually read what HE did say and not post reactionary, meaningless pontificatins about your own distaste for anything that you feel smacks of disagreement with the President. The general was given a job he cannot suceed at, to "win" a war that can never be won. Seems like the only ones that don;t understand that reality are the ones we elected to guide our nation and be responsible for what this country does.

    June 22, 2010 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. silkphoenix

    President, Fire him immediately and tell the world who is really in charge!

    June 22, 2010 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Art

    Obama is so efficient at fighting a war, he was awarded a Nobel Peace prize.

    June 22, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. independent

    The General and his staff seem to be taking a page from Alexander Haig's book. Distain for civilian authority? Does he believe that the military should run itself, or the government?

    June 22, 2010 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Christan

    Liberals make me sick, Our brave military hero's are NEVER wrong, you left wing losers have forgotten about Armstrong Custer and William Calley...shame on you.

    June 22, 2010 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Leslie

    ras02- That comment was meant for you.

    June 22, 2010 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Sir Yes Sir

    Once again the far left losers have got it wrong...Our military hero's are always right (right get it) have you forgotten Armstrong Custer and William Calley...unable to make mistakes...I rest my case!

    June 22, 2010 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Bill

    Seven Days in May

    June 22, 2010 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. vicki b

    I agree with Walt. Give McCrystal a metal. Honor doesn't that sound a little like Honest. The General had every right to say what he felt. I am sure there has been alot worse said behind closed doors. Problem here is some a...... published it. Therein lies the problem. Anyway first thing we need is a President not a teenager playing at the White House.

    June 22, 2010 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. C Rocket

    Gen. McChrystal shouldn't have said what he did say about the President. With that said I back Gen. McChrystal all the way, and would love to serve with him in Afghanistan. I hope that he is not replaced.

    June 22, 2010 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Paul

    I'm very curious and haven't read the article. What did the General say about Obama? I've heard comments regarding Biden but not a single comment directed at the Commander and Chief. I may be missing something but Biden is not in the military chain of command, is he?

    June 22, 2010 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Cade Foster

    Respect the Commander in Chief. Roger.
    Respect the Chain of Command. Roger.
    Follow Orders. Roger.
    Watch a good leader get crucified for actually being honest? Negative.
    The only mistake General McChrystal has made was shutting down Burger Kings. Whoppers are indeed a good thing. Even to the fatties in the military.
    You "decision makers" in Washington want to get a pat on the back from your counterparts, and win the hearts of the American people that elected you? Then SHUT UP, and let us accomplish the mission.
    You want to complain about how the budget for us is too high? Then quit giving out absurd amounts of money to people who think the Government should baby them through their lives without actually earning anything with real and honest work.
    I love my Country, I love my job in the Army, and I will give anything and everything to continue to do it until unable to. But I refuse to hold my tongue, as you Washington retards tear our military apart. But that story, is for another day.

    June 22, 2010 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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