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. Matt

    @YourSerious?<Obviously does not know what Brad was saying. Maybe if "we" read the good book we would know that it is relevant to everything. it is the whole purpose we are here on Earth. People critize christians for being hypocritical and other things but imagine how much of a better place this would be if God was 1st and we all tried to do right by him.

    June 23, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  2. mdeb

    So now General's aren't allowed to have "Free Speech"?

    June 23, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mark Garner

    Here is all anybody needs to know or consider about any of this matter....

    Politicians should not make military decisions...period. Lie through your teeth to the public or spin any story you need to spin...that is what you signed up for.... just don't be the one to make strategic choices...what do you know about waging battle? Generals (soldiers, military) should never talk down to or publicly question the Commander in Chief. Live or die by your decisions on the battlefield, that is what you signed up for. The public needs to stop itself from being dumbed down at every turn. EXPECT the pols to lie and EXPECT the Generals to want to drop bombs...if we all start by taking a little responsibility for ourselves, we'll all be happily surprised when we are under-promised, but over-delivered!

    June 23, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  4. wyominguy

    I think this episode clearly identifies a problem with the Presidents leadership period.

    Couldn't help notice the VP ( King of the F Bomb) standing by his side during the announcement, America is Really proud of you Joe....lol...

    Maybe he should have hired Rush Limbrain to run the war!

    June 23, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. PHAN

    not happy with the decision but what can i do about it. obama made his decision and thats it. mcchrystal was and still is an amazing american. he made a mistake by having fun with a rolling stone magazine which is really what the mag is about. didnt see any first hand quotes made by the general but mcchrystal is probably right.. because he's an honest man and calls it the way he see's it. obama doesnt know whats going on.. a celebrity president with no experience walking into the TANK. its pretty clear what happened.. that not only did mcchrystal mock obama, but so did everyone in that room.

    June 23, 2010 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Sarge07

    If you do not know Gen McChrystal do NOT question his character. He has done more for this country than Obama can ever accomplish. Obama can flex his muscles all he wants and take care of his boy Biden, but we lost tremendous ground today in Afghanistan. The only thing we can all do about this decision is to make sure Obama does not get reelected.

    June 23, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Old Scout NCO

    I just noticed that the General wears an EIB not a CIB. He has actually never served in close combat with the enemy either apparently though he was a weapons platoon LT in the 82nd according to his bio. So technically speaking, while he is a student of war and a brilliant strategist, he has never had trigger time on the front lines from what I can see.

    June 23, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Sarge07

    In what conflict was the 82nd in when he was an LT in 1976 to1978 to earn a CIB?

    June 23, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. henman49

    So many keyboard warriors on here. I served 20 years in the army and still serve as a civilian on Ft. Bragg in NC. this man was setup by people in his own command. some of it for blunders in Afghanistan and his cover-up of Pat Tilman's death. We are supposed to be surging ahead in Khandahar by now but we are stuck in Marsa. The policy for Afghanistan was his and he was given his way to run it.

    June 23, 2010 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Journalist Moonwat

    None of us really KNOW how things were really said/voiced during General McCrystal's interview. More than one journalist SLANTS their writing. I will say, that few comments I'm reading these days are talking about the people of Afghanistan. As a journalist that wrote about our military's involvement in Afghanistan, the delay in the SURGE was catastrophic. There is no such thing as "catch up" when it comes to war. You give the other guy a window of opportunity – and guess what? They take it.
    General McCrystal, I appreciate your position in and for the free world, and I'm deeply troubled by the journalist who wrote a story that did not reveal the deep and abiding concern there should be for the direction this war is now taking – which is something that was totally out of your control. . .

    June 23, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Sarge07

    I served for a few (5)more than you Henman49 and quite a few under General McChrystal. In your 20 years you had 0 blunders? Doubt it, and were they under a microscope in combat? Doubt that too. Don't criticize unless you've done it. Few have done it. Pat Tilman wanted to be John Wayne on that ridge that day. Don't blame the General for that, or anybody that was there that day. Especially if your riding a desk at Bragg.

    June 23, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • henman49

      If you are a vet then I won't argue with you about my service. I don't ride a desk at Bragg I work installation managment in the IT field. And I know there is a cover-up about Tilmans death ask his parents.

      June 23, 2010 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Former Military

    I guess our freedom of speech doesn't count if you are talking about the king or all the kings men. I hate to see him go but if he wants to be in politics I'd vote for this guy just because he had enough #$%@ to tell it like it is.

    June 23, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  13. XWngLady

    So basically, "Stan" is one of those PUMAs who voted for President Obama who are still griping about the fact that Hillary didn't win and are on the Obama "hate/I told you so" bandwagon. Regardless of his personal feelings, Gen. McChrystal should have been more professional and kept his comments to himself and should have aides that know how to keep their traps shut. Patreus is probably the only person who could step in at this critical time...Thank you for your service, but your services, in this capacity, will no longer be needed. Its unfortunate, but it had to be done.

    June 23, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Vietnam Vet

    I never post comments.......but I must on this. When..? When?? Are we ever going to let the military run a war and let the politicians run politics? The two together just won't work...ever! We will NEVER learn. Korea...Vietnam.....you would think the US would learn by it's mistakes of the past. Meanwhile guys are getting killed in Afghanistan. I think General McChrystal was just venting his frustration, he just chose the wrong way and place to do it....and the Commander-in-Chief always wins.
    I wish him the best in retirement.

    June 23, 2010 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  15. XWngLady

    All the people who are griping about Gen. McChrystal being fired are being hypocritical. You know darned well that if any of you had a subordinate who disparaged you or your #2 in charge, or they had subordinates that were doing the same, it would be off with their heads! It would be shoot first and ask questions later. But now, you are actually supporting the undisciplined, unprofessional and frankly unfounded behavior on the part of General McChrystal who is ultimately under the President’s command. The buck does not stop with the military it stops with the President. And if General McChrystal can’t follow the simple directions of “keep your mouth shut”, then he doesn’t deserve to be in command. And as for the comments that military people are people who can “smell weakness”, that is a crock. As an Army Veteran, I can tell you that in some instances the military functions as a fraternity of self-aggrandizing egotists that wouldn’t know true strength if it hit ‘em in the head. I think Sting once put it very elegantly in a song (Englishman in New York)……”Takes more than combat gear to make a man; takes more than a license for a gun; confront your enemies, avoid them when you can; a gentleman will walk but never run”…You don’t have to be rude and disrespectful in order to be tough.

    June 23, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
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