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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soundoff (509 Responses)
  1. Kathy

    There are some things that people who are doing the job know more than those looking at the job from a distance.
    This general voted for Obama – but now has a new view of him – as do many others -who voted for him and those who didn't. That speaks for itself.

    June 22, 2010 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  2. down n da bayou

    i feel that G-Mac is right. Call em as you see em. if anyone thinks he is wrong call him on it or prove him wrong. Obama seemed very decisive on the oil spill, wait day 64 and still counting. maybe not. And what about transparancy? try flying over the oil spill. oh wait! you can't. something to hide maybe?

    June 22, 2010 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  3. DL

    Gen. McChrystal clearly has aspirations for high political office. There is no reason for him or his aides to be giving interviews about their personal assessment of their upward chain of command. I am sure the Taliban, Al Queda, and every other adversary of the U.S. is sitting back drinking their morning coffee laughing at our discord. They now know exactly what to talk about on Aljazeera to weaken our image in the world. Thank you general for givng them that, you are suppose to protect us not just with might but with wisdom, sound words, and sometimes silence. The general has been commissioned and appointed a high rank and command because of his leadership shown in the past. You can't get those stars without earning them with honor. I think it is sad that someone has gotten in his hear and convienced him to cash-in/use his distinguished service for political capital. This crap doesn't hurt Obama, the democrats, strengthen the republicans or tea baggers, or help America. All this does is make all us Americans look double-minded, unorganized, and unprepared (to use his words).

    June 22, 2010 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Bernard Harris HMC(AW/FMF) ret

      Well Put, there are proper channels to address these issues and the Gen clearly has forgotten that. Swift discipline is in order.

      June 22, 2010 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  4. Bernard Harris HMC(AW/FMF) ret

    As a newly retired Navy Chief Petty Officer who spent his last 5yrs with a JTF, I understand not agreeing with the Commander In Chief HOWEVER, this was not the forum to do so. Great leaders must also know how to follow. This is blatant subordination and should be dealt with the same way any Soldier, Sailor, Marine or Airmen would be disciplined, PERIOD. I'm embarrassed to say Gen McChrystal is a fellow service member.

    June 22, 2010 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Your Right

      Couldn't agree with you more. Leaders should know how to follow as well.

      June 22, 2010 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  5. Kentucky girl

    Hillary for president !!!

    June 22, 2010 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
    • PSO

      too late for that sweetie

      June 22, 2010 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Paul

    The truth is out but he will also be out. Obama's inability to lead is highly visable now – between the Gulf oil spill and the wars we can only pray he is a one term President

    June 22, 2010 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Thunderhawk

      This from somebody who in all likelihood supported W and currently supports the BP-shagging GOP.

      Go teabag something.

      June 22, 2010 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • pes

      Yea, I can't wait for the repukes to get back in power and see how many other countries we can invade and maybe then we will be successful at breaking the financial system all together. The Great Depression #2. I can't wait!!

      June 22, 2010 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • 'Mita

      *LOL @ Thunderhawk's comment* That is so true!!! All the Repubs are concerned about–the ones with money–is lining their own damn pockets!!!

      June 22, 2010 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  7. KC

    As for the general, he has every right to say what he wants; however, as with everybody else in the military and politics and the gulf there are consequences for the things you say whether they be positive or negative. I for one am happy that when it comes to sending thousands of troops to Afghanistan, Obama stops and thinks about it instead of just doing it. These are real people with real lives and real families that love them, and because of that they deserve to be considered and remembered in the decision making process. Jumping into a region without a solidified and common sense plan is not a good decision no matter how you look at it. And who wouldn't be intimidated by a room full of generals. I can probably guess that most people would be intimidated by generals, and not only generals but frustrated generals that had been exhausted with politicians.

    Overall...the general and his staff should probably watch what they put in print, and the administration needs talk to them and figure out how to make the relationship between the administration and the military better.

    June 22, 2010 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  8. to Paul

    Bush and Katrina was ten times worse than the Oil Spill and the idiots put him in twice. Oh yeah, and If he would have focused on Afghanistan instead of Iraq the troops might be home now. Who else are you gonna vote for. McCain didn't come close and the economy had more jobs in the last month than in the previous ten years. You can probably blame it on Bush losing them all.

    June 22, 2010 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      The people in LA disagree with you. As bad a Katrina was they vote that Obama is doing worse. Remember that Bush went to Iraq AFTER stabalizing Afganistan. Bush won Iraq by insisting we would not leave until the job was done. Obama is losing in Afganistan, the war he thinsk is right, because he set delines. The enemy just needs to coast until the deline passes. Look at what is happening in Pakistan you probably blame Bush for that also. What has Obama been doing for 18 months?

      June 22, 2010 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Paulo

      Bush "stabilized Afghanistan"? You seriously believe that? It amazes me the fairy tales you guys tell yourselves.

      June 22, 2010 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • 'Mita

      That's what I was thinking..."Bush stabilized Afghanistan"!? HA!! Ish was STILL hitting the fan when he sent troops to Iraq!! Not the smartest move!!

      June 22, 2010 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • HurtfulTruth

      Those folks in LA were the same ones chanting "Drill Baby, Drill" and voted for LESS regulations of the oil industry...NOW, despite this mess AND what we know now of the oil industry's inability to deal with disasters of this magnitude, these morons STILL don't want to stop drilling to ensure that this never happens again. It just shows the stupidity and hypocrisy of those on the right. Now that there's a problem, they want "BIG GOVERNMENT" come save the day, while continuing the activities they want BIG GOVERNMENT to overlook.

      You people haven't learned a thing from the last eight years of Bush and Cheney....Whee we ended up is a result of THEIR policies, so get over the fact that a Black man is now your leader and acknowledge the improvements of the economy and our international standing!

      June 22, 2010 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. james brazil

    What will happen to Gen. McChrystal and what should happen are to separate questions that require different answers

    if we go by ucmj hes fired if we go by priorities in Afghan he will stay

    June 22, 2010 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  10. Breaux

    When a "Type-A" personality has a plan, is put in place by leaders to execute that plan who don't really understand the plan, you get: conflict, confusion, frustration and poor execution. Gen McChrystal's mission must be to make his plan "crystal" clear to the President. He needs Obama to "buy-in" so he can get this done!

    June 22, 2010 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
    • PopeJohnII

      McCrystal has ONE mission, the same mission that every general and every admiral has had in every war fought by the United State: implement his president's mission. Not only is McCrystal wrong in openly campaining against his Commander-In-Chief and allowing his staff to do the same, he is (and they are) CRIMINALLY wrong.

      June 22, 2010 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Ross

    Finally someone tells it like it is. Obama is a bad joke. Soldiers are sitting ducks doing nothing when there was supposed to have been a surge happening. Where is it? Why send soldiers to fight and die in a war if you have no intention of fighting it to win? Afghanistan has one simitlarity to Vietnam. Politcians over stepping their bounds and not letting soldiers do what they know how to do.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Thunderhawk

      Wow. We've got a bitter clinger here who still thinks we punted Vietnam because we "didn't allow the soldiers to do their jobs."

      OK, sparky. Whatever. Actual history would beg to differ, but you people never did give much credence to facts.

      June 22, 2010 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
    • PopeJohnII

      My guess is that you flunked out of History–or learned it in TX.
      USMC '67-'70, RVN '68-'69.

      June 22, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Paul

    The generals remarks were inappropriate and he appears to understand and respect that. My greater fear is what is it that drives a professional whose entire career is founded on strength, discipline, integrity, trust and discretion to become so frustrated as to resort to, again, inappropriate and potentially damaging behavior?

    June 22, 2010 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Thunderhawk

      Probably the fact that he's in charge of a clusterf***

      June 22, 2010 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  13. One Term president

    I guess people think if they say that enough it will happen. The truth is there are no better alternatives. i agree that Obama needs to start smacking that S$#@ out of some people to let them know he is not playing, starting with McChrystal.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Thunderhawk

      These brainiacs probably supported W and currently support uberidiot sociopath Palin.

      You just can't fix stupid.

      June 22, 2010 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  14. Objective

    Sounds to me as if the general needs to muzzle his "advisors" and "team members" if he doesn't like getting called on the carpet for their remarks. Otherwise, they're his spokespeople and he can take his licks for whatever they say. The President isn't obligated to abide by the advice of his military commanders–Lincoln frequently didn't–but he needs to remind them -at least McChrystal- of something. McChrystal was supposedly put off by his impression that Obama didn't know him at an early meeting. McChrystal apparently needs to be reminded that he's the one who needs to remember who Obama is.....the President of the United States–McChrystal's Commander-in-Chief.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  15. bhs

    Obama appears to suffer from narcissistic personality disorder. He and his cronies are busy forcing others to strokes their egos. They are game players...with no concern for those they manipulate and mishandle along the way. Political gamesmanship at it's worst. The General should have NEVER apologized.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • PopeJohnII

      How very little you appear to understand about one of the very basic strengths in the foundation of democracy: civilian control of the military.

      And if you happen to be one of those who feel the country would be better now under military control rather than under Obama: you have never lived in a country under military control.

      June 22, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
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