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. Todd

    this is absurd. with the media these days, no president has a chance. There is always somebody airing their dirty laundry about the president, and CNN will always be there to plumb that BS to the masses. I'm not for or against Obama or GWB here, but wishing I didnt hear about all this nonsense every single day whenever I check out the news.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  2. amarjit

    Chief of Army should never be criticised & so the Generals. All subjects & opinion should be discussed on the table to reach at the right decisions.Matual criticism erodes the reputation of command & giver liverage to the adversary. This strategy of infilterating enemy command structure is not without consequences & has been well established in all wars of WWII as well gulf operations. It also effects the enthusism & thrust of the forces on the war front or operations & reduce the faith in the command which gets eroded due to loose talk & matual critism. There are chances of going astray in stressful time & army officers pass those endurance & psychological tests before commission. It is better Army Officers to refrain from public comments as they are the people to take the operation to successful end & matual criticism only corrodes & erodes the self authority & commanding effectiveness.Generals should not undermine their own authority by criticising their own selection with strong comments on the appointees & the country they serve. Incase of terrible difference, army officers should politely quit leaving the command structure of country intact & unharmed with the best of culture & civilicity learnt at the Academy.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  3. Dr Busse

    Fire the guy like HST would have!!

    June 22, 2010 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  4. Thunderhawk

    Look at all of these wingnuts without jobs. Hilarious.

    Sucks for you idiots that your Palinist ideology is as discredited as communism.

    Just an army of losers.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      ? What's you're problem kid?

      June 22, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bob Wolfe

    General McChrystal might have a point if he were actually showing some irrefutable progress in the war effort he is leading, but at this point the president is perfectly justified in telling this loudmouth to shut he his trap and to just do his job.

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

      I agree with you, to a point. No general should ever be allowed to pull this PR stunt off, regardless of his/her success on the filed.

      June 22, 2010 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  6. down n da bayou

    this is the price we pay for making a person who never had a job the leader of the free world. lord help us.

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

      I know you hail from a terribly undereducated region, and trust me, it shows, but professor of law and United States Senator are indeed jobs. You can look it up.

      June 22, 2010 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • regional prejudice is as unattractive as racial discrimination

      "an undereducated region"???!! Really, could you be more hateful?? Why is acceptable to make such prejudicial generalizations?? There are plenty of well educated people in Louisiana and the southern United States.
      Yes, he's held jobs. But no, he hasn't been in the real world. Academia and politics are strange worlds that do not reflect the lives of most American citizens, nor do those sectors endow one with a practical understanding of business and finance or the management of people. It is not wrong to question whether our President has the experience necessary to lead our military and manage our economy.
      Please learn how to disagree without bringing your personal hatreds to a public forum. If anything, the people of the bayous of Louisiana deserve our caring as they have survived hurricanes only to be wiped out by a man-made disaster. It's truly terrible.

      June 23, 2010 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  7. thetruthbetold

    I believe we are starting to realize the emperor has no clothes... interesting comment about Hillary.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
    • take a good look

      Yes, it is interesting that Sec. of State H. Clinton is viewed by the military as supporting them more than their Commander-In-Chief. There is clearly an issue that needs to be examined - is President Obama putting military leaders in place that he trusts and then actually trusting them to get the job done? Or, is he hampering them with politics and an unwillingness to face the difficult facts of war? The President knows he is not a military strategist. His job is to lead the leaders. He cannot put such leaders in place in then under-support them and expect good results. The lives of our troops are at stake as well as the future of peace vs. potential attacks against America. The President is not a dictator for generals to worship unquestioningly. He is their boss, yes - but a good boss enables those beneath him to focus on a goal and reach it. Is our President doing that? The article's comments - most of which are not directly attributable to the General - imply otherwise and that should be a HUGE concern to all citizens. A big red flag is being raised - but shooting the messenger will achieve nothing and may make things worse.
      Being a successful general does not qualify one for the presidency - look at Grant - and it is not a requirement for the job. But accepting the job of president does require one to also assume the role of Commander-In-Chief, so President Obama has to live up to that role and work with the military to clarify the goals and get the job done. He cannot ignore their needs or obscure the goals. He must be a leader and lead them. That does not appear to be happening. I wish I knew what Colin Powell's private - not public - opinion is of President Obama's handling of the war. I also wonder what Hillary Clinton thinks of President Obama's military leadership. They are in a position to know of which they speak. We are not a country of blind followers, nor should we be. I doubt McChrystal has failed to go through proper channels, as so many readers imply. How do they know that he has not tried to do that for many months? The article shows a great deal of military frustration. "Proper channels" only work if the top is willing to listen. McChrystal and company may be in a situation where they have all of the responsibility but none of the authority they need. Is it any wonder there's a need to shake things up? How very American that it comes through our free press.

      June 23, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Old Car Guy

    I guess "Freedon Of Speach" isn't free

    June 22, 2010 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Thunderhawk

      Freedom of S-P-E-E-C-H isn't either. Is there a special wingnut spelling class?

      June 22, 2010 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Objective

      Uh......he's in the military. Sorry, but it's a different set of rules.

      June 22, 2010 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe G

      Funny how people who bring up the issue of free speech generally have no understanding of what it means. You can say whatever you want, but there are going to be consequences if you say it about your boss or threaten somebody. What is there not to understand about that?

      June 22, 2010 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  9. Alex

    It says "Air Force Once"

    Thats my favorite part of this article.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Thunderhawk

      Keep dreaming. Who are you cultists gonna run in 2012? Palin? Romney?

      LOL @ U

      June 22, 2010 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  10. BSD

    The man is dealing with an administration that cannot fight nor win a War!

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

      You mean W? How many wars did he start and win?

      Hint: It is a number by which you cannot divide another. Oh, sorry...that clue probably flew way over your teabagging head.

      It's zero.

      June 22, 2010 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  11. WOC

    One of the General's aides gives an interview with the Rolling Stone and McCrystal gets called on the carpet. This entire story stinks to the high heavens. Every time the leftist are in the WH the General Staff in DC are a bunch od wanne be politicians that lie and are incompetent. Wehave been attacked 4 times since the "ONE" has been in office . Take your peace sign and shove it where the sun don't shine!

    June 22, 2010 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  12. mike tatum

    Guy, stop all this talk about one term president and get behind the President. It like Opra said, "He is doing the best he can and we need to support him."

    June 22, 2010 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Thunderhawk

      Save your time, Mike. These "one termer" types are radical conservative ideologues who would hate Obama even if he were the second coming of Christ. Actually that would make them hate him even more since most of these clowns are fake Christians who would attack the real Jesus too.

      Remember this simple truth: You cannot fix stupid. These people are unfixable.

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

      Thunderhawk....Thunderhawk..... You forgot to take your Prozac. Be a good little violent leftist, take your pill and run along.

      June 22, 2010 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  13. down n da bayou

    Anyone can do better than this clown we have now. when was the last time a Gen. called out the pres as being a girly-man?

    June 22, 2010 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  14. Alex Winter

    Liberal civilians should stay the hell out of the military's way.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Thunderhawk

      Is that a threat? You're so tough there pecking away on your keyboard. We are all so intimidated, tough guy.

      Internet tough guy. A more pathetic creature never walked the earth.

      June 22, 2010 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      So says the guy who calls himself "thunderhawk"

      June 22, 2010 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dizzy Buzz

    The general sounds frustrated, and if there's any merit to his observations of those pulling the strings in Afghanistan, who can blame him for being so? His comments could have been calculated to 1.) Share an insiders insights about the absurdities of this ongoing debacle of a "war" and 2.) Have himself removed from his command without having to say he quit.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
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