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. Smith in Oregon

    Gen. McChrystal should immediately be forced to resign in disgrace. Gen. McChrystal's shake and bake Afghanistan troops and regional governors is Marjah (the first test) was not a lasting success, it was a failure! The UK and NATO commanders from day one stated the 'shake and bake' strategy would FAIL.

    The troops under Gen. McChrystal are very unhappy with Gen. McChrystal's rules of engagement (ROE's) and want Gen. McChrystal to resign immediately.

    The indepth Rolling Stone article indicates Gen. McChrystal's own staff strongly dislikes the commander in chief (President Obama), and thinks very ill of Obama's staff, cabinet members and even the Afghanistan US Ambassador himself. The only person Gen. McChrystal liked in the current administration was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Gen. McChrystal's staff are simply echoing how their boss is saying everyday among them and should be pushed to resign immediately and be pushed into retirement in disgrace thereafter.

    Gen. McChrystal's remarks and those of his own staff could easily be seen as utterly treasonous. Such remarks encourage a military coup and President Obama should bear that in mind and fire Gen. McChrystal or accept his resignation immediately.

    June 22, 2010 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • mark

      I agree. It appears that some on the staff think McChrystal is'nt the right guy for the job. Talking to Rolling Stone, of all the rags, actually gives the appearence of an attempted coup amongst our Afghanistan operations. Something is really screwed up when "staffers" are throwing around quotes like this. Obama needs to act, and act fast. The lives of our soldiers are a stake.

      June 22, 2010 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Lorene

    Hey Brad... Ever hear of run-on sentences? They seem to go right along with a run-on mouth.

    June 22, 2010 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Common Sense

    It's obvious the general is out of line. He's in the army. He's violating the chain of command and should be stripped of rank and dishonorably discharged.

    But since I'm not in the service, I'll say what he's not allowed to say: Obama is a little biiiiitch and a coward and has no business being in office. He has done more to violate men's civil rights than any other president in history. How did that puuussywhipped emo kid get into office. Biden and Obama are the greatest manGINAS in history!

    June 22, 2010 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ijioj


    June 22, 2010 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  5. HooYoo2say

    I would pretty much bet it's a done deal that McChrystal will be gone after tomorrow's meeting. For Robert Gibbs to announce in his press meeting that Obama is "angry" is rare in itself. People in leadership positions have shown outrageous disrespect for our POTUS. For example, the idiot congressman shouting, "You Lie", in the middle of the State of the Union address. Even then Obama took it very well and accepted the apology, albeit an insincere apology, and moved on without one word about him being angry over that. However, this is different for one main reason. The psychotic congressman's actions did not affect or put our nation at risk. When you have a General in command of all the U.S. forces engaged in war in Afghanistan show such poor judgement and a lack of constraint it goes far beyond just an idiot Republican congressman taking a pot shot at Obama in an attempt to embarrass the POTUS or rile up his own right wing looney supporters. McChrystal's behavior puts our soldiers and our entire country's well being at risk. You betcha Obama is angry and it has nothing to do with ego. What many on the right see as ego in Obama is actually frustration and when it does occur it is usually very well founded. McChrystal will see tomorrow that what he misconstrued as whimpish and intimidated behavior from President Obama was the behavior of someone who listens, thinks, shows tolerance and is level headed. It is typical of an egomaniac such as McChrystal to interpret Obama's behavior in the meeting with senior millitary officials as intimidated and uncomfortable. Did it ever occur to the General that perhaps what he saw was a show of respect and actual humbleness while in the company of military brass who are, excluding himself, very honorable, brave and of high moral character? Of course that did not dawn on him. Egomaniacs always think of themselves first and how their presence is affecting those that are lucky enough to just be in their company. Can the jerk. He and his staff might be toking a bit too much of that fine heroin growing amuck in Afghanistan. That stuff screws up your judgement, interests you in Rolling Stone magazine, makes you think you're Superman and spout off things you wouldn't normally say when sober. McChrystal is not any different than the thousands of doped up rock stars that have revealed regrettable comments in interviews with RS. I assume he will be on the cover right? And buy 5 copies for his mother.

    June 22, 2010 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jubei3

    SOo...Maybe Mcchrystal has a point, he ought to be heard and regarded as credible. Maybe the beurocratic BS in Afghanistan needs to be ratcheted down a peg or two so that the general can get some things done he needs to get done. Maybe Someone isnt telling the president everything he needs to hear?
    Maybe the General needs some face time to say what he needs to say and Obama needs some "ear" time to hear it straight from the horses mouth.
    There are a lot of people trying to "look good" these days and everyone is beginning to look better by denouncing support for this president. It's not going to get any better for the next one I'll bet. So I say, listen to him, here what he's frustrated about, if he's in the pocket of the GOP dump him and get someone who is for the people and the service men and women and not his ego or agenda.
    No Military officer should ever lead troops based on political agenda or ego...even though some decent ones have had very big ego's.

    June 22, 2010 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Brian

    If one of the Gernerals' Colonels had spoke to the press about him in the same manner my guess is you'd be attending his retirement ceremony by the end of the week. And rightly so. What a dumb s- move. Greeat way to end a long career on a sour, stupid note.

    June 22, 2010 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
  8. John R. Chapman

    Obama's over inflated ego has been confronted. His aloofness is not a personality defect it is a sign of his insecurity.
    Send him out in the front lines and he would be, not above but this time, below the horizon sucking his thumb. Yes, I voted for our president, alas. If I do it again then shame on me.
    President Obama, you are a self opinionated pseudo intellectual, now you know that the truth hurts. How about start hurting the GOP start telling the truth.

    June 22, 2010 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Johnny

    It is so true the truth hurts. Obama never feels pain.

    June 22, 2010 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Naomi

    LOL Hey CPTObvious, its not "Commander and Chief," its Commander IN Chief. lol

    June 22, 2010 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Carol

    You don't have to respect the man or his political views, but you respect the office of POTUS and there is no one more aware than military personnel. You don't refer to him as Obama..it's President Obama and you don't give interviews to Rolling Stone magazine. The General was expecting President Obama to act differently to the man running his "F*ing war"???? Retired Generals have freedom of speech, but active military do not run off at the mouth. He didn't have an open mike or not realize the remarks were private...which is the only rank he should be allowed to hold after this fiasco. He has already been given a second chance. We have the right to own a gun, but if I walk into work tomorrow with one strapped to my hip, I'll be fired because the "Code of Conduct" forbids me this freedom on the job...Same is true for the General except he broke the Military Code of Conduct. Sorry but he has a resignation in hand and if he isn't fired on the spot, the resignation should be accepted.

    June 22, 2010 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jack

    I think people are taking this article too seriously. Note that the author doesn't quote General McChrystal directly, but always points to a top aid or some other "in the know" source:

    "According to sources familiar with the meeting"
    "says an adviser to McChrystal"
    "suggests a top adviser"
    "Team McChrystal likes to talk s- about many of Obama's top people..." (unclear whether this includes McChrystal himself)
    "says another aide"
    "says an adviser"
    "says a member of the general's team"
    "According to those close to the two men..."

    As for the leaked cable (that Eikenberry wrote), it seems unlikely that General McChrystal had anything to do with its release considering that it "offered a brutal critique of McChrystal's strategy...."

    The only quotation in the above excerpts directly attributable to General McChrystal is the final one: "'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." For all we know, all of the other quotations came from one source within McChrystal's inner circle that couldn't keep his mouth shut. While the article does demonstrate that at least one McChrystal aide cannot be trusted to keep silent on sensitive matters, it doesn't say much about how McChrystal himself feels about Obama.

    June 22, 2010 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mr. K

    Simple, there is a chain of command in government, military as well as every US company. You jump it, talk sh** of those that make the final call you pay the price, and should!! Is the Commander in Chief the right man to wear the pants for us at this point in history? Think most of the American public is able to answer that question at this point in this mans first term as our “leader”. No spine, experience nor right to hold the highest office in our country not to mention the world. The excitement of having the first black president has now long warn off. The fun, excitement and this whole I hear you… is over. .. Fellow citizens, and friends we have just seen a snippet, more to come in the next 2 years. Who do you want answering the phone at 3 in the morning? Sure not the un-proven commander in chief that the majority of the naive American citizens elected, hate to say it. Military leader will go and needs to, war in Afghanistan is a no win situation and we have no right to be there imposing our muscle. Bring our service men and woman home, protect the home land on the home front !! 1 term President. We can only hope that someone steps up as a formidable alternative, OMG.. That should be interesting, we can not afford to continue the path we are on. I am proud to say neither G.W nor our current command was granted my vote. This I am proud of. God bless our country and its citizens.

    June 22, 2010 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ticked Off

    General McChrystal is not a pollitical commentator or an editorial journalist. If he wants one of those jobs he is free to follow that career path. However, while he is a General in the U.S.Military, leading our soldiers in war, his suborinate BS about our President and the Comander In Chief of our armed forces shows outlandishly poor judgement. General, if you have a problem with the way your President, my President and the President of each and every one of our troops and citizens is running the military, be a man and discuss it IN PRIVATE with our PRESIDENT. You are a General, not a Fox News reporter. Our troops don't need this ridiculous blathering about their CIC from a General in a time of war. What were you thinking when it came to Rolling Stone?. You're leading our troops, use some sense.

    June 22, 2010 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      But very little in the article is directly attributable to General McChrystal himself. He clearly has an aide or two that deserve the axe, but more than anything else I consider this irresponsible journalism. While not outright dishonestly, the article makes it seem as if McChrystal is actually saying these things, which he isn't.

      June 22, 2010 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
  15. osama

    yay!!!! 8==>

    June 22, 2010 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
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