June 22nd, 2010
09:59 AM ET

Excerpts from Rolling Stone article on Gen. McChrystal

Excerpts from a Rolling Stone magazine profile on Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, set to appear Friday:

- "Even though he had voted for (President Barack) Obama, McChrystal and his new commander-in-chief failed from the outset to connect. The general first encountered Obama a week after he took office, when the president met with a dozen senior military officials in a room at the Pentagon known as the Tank. According to sources familiar with the meeting, McChrystal thought Obama looked "uncomfortable and intimidated" by the roomful of military brass. Their first one-on-one meeting took place in the Oval Office four months later, after McChrystal got the Afghanistan job, and it didn't go much better. 'It was a 10-minute photo-op,' says an adviser to McChrystal. 'Obama clearly didn't know anything about him, who he was. Here's the guy who's going to run his f-ing war, but he didn't seem very engaged. The Boss was pretty disappointed.'"

Read full Rolling Stone article

- "Last fall, during a question-and-answer session following a speech he gave in London, McChrystal dismissed the counterterrorism strategy being advocated by Vice President Joe Biden as 'shortsighted,' saying it would lead to a state of 'Chaos-istan,' The remarks earned him a smackdown from the president himself, who summoned the general to a terse private meeting aboard Air Force One. The message to McChrystal seemed clear: Shut the f- up, and keep a lower profile. Now, flipping through printout cards of his speech in Paris, McChrystal wonders aloud what Biden question he might get today, and how he should respond. 'I never know what's going to pop out until I'm up there, that's the problem,' he says.

Then, unable to help themselves, he and his staff imagine the general dismissing the vice president with a good one-liner. 'Are you asking about Vice President Biden?' McChrystal says with a laugh. 'Who's that?' 'Biden?' suggests a top adviser. 'Did you say "Bite Me?"'

- "In private, Team McChrystal likes to talk s- about many of Obama's top people on the diplomatic side. One aide calls Jim Jones, a retired four-star general and veteran of the Cold War, a 'clown' who remains 'stuck in 1985.' Politicians like (John) McCain and (John) Kerry, says another aide, 'turn up, have a meeting with (Afghan president Hamid) Karzai, criticize him at the airport press conference, then get back for the Sunday talk shows. Frankly, it's not very helpful.' Only (Secretary of State) Hillary Clinton receives good reviews from McChrystal's inner circle. 'Hillary had Stan's back during the strategic review,' says an adviser. 'She said, "If Stan wants it, give him what he needs.'"

- "McChrystal reserves special skepticism for (Richard) Holbrooke, the official in charge of reintegrating the Taliban. 'The Boss says he's like a wounded animal,' says a member of the general's team. 'Holbrooke keeps hearing rumors that he's going to get fired, so that makes him dangerous. He's a brilliant guy, but he just comes in, pulls on a lever, whatever he can grasp onto. But this is COIN (counterinsurgency), and you can't just have someone yanking on s-.'"

- "By far the most crucial - and strained - relationship is between McChrystal and (Karl) Eikenberry, the U.S. ambassador. According to those close to the two men, Eikenberry - a retired three-star general who served in Afghanistan in 2002 and 2005 - can't stand that his former subordinate is now calling the shots. He's also furious that McChrystal, backed by NATO's allies, refused to put Eikenberry in the pivotal role of viceroy in Afghanistan, which would have made him the diplomatic equivalent of the general.

"... The relationship was further strained in January, when a classified cable that Eikenberry wrote was leaked to The New York Times. The cable was as scathing as it was prescient. The ambassador offered a brutal critique of McChrystal's strategy, dismissed President Hamid Karzai as 'not an adequate strategic partner,' and cast doubt on whether the counterinsurgency plan would be 'sufficient' to deal with al Qaeda. ... McChrystal and his team were blindsided by the cable. 'I like Karl, I've known him for years, but they'd never said anything like that to us before,' says McChrystal, who adds that he felt 'betrayed' by the leak. 'Here's one that covers his flank for the history books. Now if we fail, they can say, 'I told you so.'"

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  1. mcelis3

    am a military member too....Nonsense....He should know how this things work anyways..im just a Sergeant but if i talk bad bout my superior , i will be subject to UCMJ actions...isnt it? Think people.......If i cant do it....He cannot do it either...shut your mouth...say HOAAAOOOH and move on.....Is just the way the military works....Privates know better....

    June 24, 2010 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
  2. Bob

    A "Rolling Stone article" is what Obama believes over a 34 yr. service- to- his- country General? Why doesn't Obama understand this man has been seeing his men die for many months and needed to sound off a bit. Why not just move MacCrystal to another job and use his knowledge instead of firing him. What about the rest of the country who has been sounding off against Obama? Did the author of the article "bait" the General? It is sad that egos are more important than listening to a critic's words that might contain some truth in them. I don't know – this firing was too hasty.

    June 24, 2010 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Henrietta

      Because, Bob, Obama is a flunky in a cheep suit that has never served a day of his life at anything like all the "arnchair soldiers" in Washington yelling " charge"! from their little ivory towers. Remember how the Marines died in their Saudi & Lebanon baracks like ducks in a pond? What soldier in his right mind would deploy his men like that? Where were any of these hot shot so called leaders? McCain, maybe. Maybe not. Henrietta US Army '62- '65

      May 18, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Elaine

    Vietnam became a big problem for the same reason: The politicians wanted to run the war. Winning the war wasn't a top priority. They wanted to look good and play nice with the world's opinions. They are doing it again. A great deal of the nasty comments came from his aides who should have kept their mouths shut. I have a problem with firing a general on the basis of comments he was supposed to have made. I have seen too many articles where the person's words were twisted around. Anything high profile has to have someone get fired to prove something. Not to mention Obama and Biden missed the whole military chain of command. There are others, like the Joint Chiefs that should have been in on this decision. Obama may be commander and chief, but he knows nothing about running a war and should have taken the time to find out what was going on rather than firing someone because they hurt his ego. Because that is exactly what this was about–making him look bad.

    June 24, 2010 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  4. Elaine

    No one as high up and talented as McChrystal should be fired over a magazine article. We are retired millitary and saw it on our base. Two newspaper writers wanted to get ahead and wanted to be published in the New York Times. We were closely involved with the incident and people involved. The writers got everyone's attention, including the national news. They twisted the facts and people's words and got other people involved that wanted to get national attention also. Before you knew it a wonderful general was fired when he didn't do anything–it was others beneath him (just like McChrystal's aides and their mouths). But someone's head had to roll so they forced the guy into retirement to appease the hungry media mob and make things look better for the politicians. I will never forget that tragedy and who made it the mess it was. Again, this was one article written by people who want to get noticed and ahead in this world. I would trust McChrystal before I would trust a magazine article. But Obama didn't want to get any facts. He was embarrassed so needed to get rid of anyone who disagrees with him.

    June 24, 2010 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  5. Norman D Blum

    "The majority of votes of citizens of the United States elected the President to be Commander-in-Chief of the US Military." Wow – as a total outsider (the other side of the world) it scares me to think that the majority of US Citizens voted for him – you'd have been better off with that old man who stood against him. Norm of SA

    June 24, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. America First

    Let's face it, if Obama didn't let McChrystal go, Republicans would be complaining THAT was wrong. Republicans don't know what to think until Obama takes a position so they can be opposed to it.

    June 24, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Robert Vaughn , Senior

    VERY interesting ! Great journalistic work on a par witWoodword , Berstein and the Nixon
    and criminal crew at the top Watergate scandal that led to a change in leaders at the top !
    Once upon a time .

    After I enlisted in the US Army during 1971 .
    ( No I did NOT go to Vietnam ; but We saw
    enough in Fort Knox, KY and elserwhere .
    Where General George Patton , Jr. was our
    graduation reviewing Officer ) .

    Worked for the US Navy in Personnel as well .
    1975 and 1976 .

    Served mostly in England as a US Air Force
    ( read that political ) Officer with the 10th TRW
    during the early 1980's , ETC ...

    Met plenty of Army and Air Force Generals
    and the US Navy Admiral Chief of Naval Air
    Operations in the Pacific .

    McChrystal is a modern day Chesty Puller .
    Not a politician .

    Rolling Stone is no the cutting edge of
    these " stimulating " times !

    Keep up the great work folks ,


    June 24, 2010 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Daddy's Girl

    Daughter of a combat vet, sister of a CIA man: Sounds like the fall of the Roman Empire to me. The part where all the generals get tired of the corrupt politics in Rome, and some serious lead in the water. Somebody thinks he's an Emperor.

    June 25, 2010 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Silent Majority

    Why is it that we fire our warriors because they are not politicians? A warrior is a warrior. WE ask him to kill people and break things to win OUR wars. We have lost another warrior. Where will the warriors be when we need them?

    September 27, 2010 at 12:26 am | Report abuse |
  10. Good work, Your post is an excellent example of why I keep coming back to read your excellent quality content....

    Alene Vaiko Great original post, I wish I could find more posts on this topic presented in a similar manner.

    November 23, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Maria

    All politics need to be local Well that would work fine, till some local goup far away from your local goup, dcedied to build empire. Through economic and military means they grow non-local and eventualy they come to your hood and you must assimilate or die,. . . ugly.I belive, all people require the same basic elements to live and be happy,. and that we can all agree on some basics as far as resource uses, human rights, and cooperation,. we need local control of local politics, with in an interconnected network of volantary cooperationg comunities. This will stop the rise of control freek despots and empire seeds,. if we ignore the world around our community that world will destroy our community. The only way to have “one world with no nation states” is to have it controlled by a few wealthy elite. Why? (my model works flawlessley in my mind even if i am not always clearly explaning it!) but just saying it can't work, does not give me anything to go on, to fix my model,. . a world wide federated republic, with no politicians,. a fully direct democracy. Public debat is now possible at any scale, (internet forums are a close model) local, state, federation, moderated debat through facilitators,. that hold no power over any decition, the rise of good ideas that people can get behind.' Say what you like about Chomsky, one thing he tought me, by endlessly pointing the fact out, is that if you look at serious polls of the people, they do largly agree on a great many things., and these issues are normally always applied in the near opposet way by elected governments,. . perpelexing perhaps,. but it does make one realise that given a proper system of debat and a direct democracy with no political class,. sanity is likely to prevail.

    April 22, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
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