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. Larry N. Scartz

    Remember, wasn't this general involved in the Pat Tillman affair? Also, it seems that the insurgents may have read his book on counter insurgency. We can speak of "failure not being an option", but just as Russians learned bankruptcy is a certainty. Bin Laudin said years ago that for every dollar the insurgents spend, we have to counter with a $1 million. The strategy of fighting them there plays right into their hands. I like the rest of us including all of the principals don't have an answer to this problem so I can't really be too critical of those who have to make the decisions. I'm afraid that none of these decisions will lead to a good outcome, I only hope they can find the ones that are least harmful.

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

    Thank you Rolling Stone for some real journalism.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
    • regor60

      Rolling Stone is one of the most intellectually dishonest rags I've had the misfortune to read

      June 22, 2010 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. down n da bayou

    like i said. da man NEVER had a job. Playing B-ball and golf aint a job unless you are Kobe or Tiger

    June 22, 2010 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Thunderhawk

      Professor of law. US Senator.

      Those are jobs.

      What you do to peter out your miserable existence...that probably ain't a job.

      June 22, 2010 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  4. usmc176

    The General should not have to apologize for what was said! He has tried to voice his concern and request assistance in getting things done. He has been met with BS from an administration and president who have no clue what is needed to end this and bring ALL of our troops safely home. Gen. McCrystal has more experience in knowing what it takes to get the job done then O-Shamea & his entire administration. What a freaking joke. I didn't vote for the fool, but I want my change back!

    June 22, 2010 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Thunderhawk

      If you didn't vote for him, it means you voted for McPalin, which tells us all we need to know: That you supported the policies of Bush (which include an epic FAIL in Afghanistan) and are therefore a blazing hypocrite.

      I thank God daily that I am not burdened with an imbecilic mind. You have my pity.

      June 22, 2010 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      The fact that you believe there were only 2 names on the ballot tells me you've never voted in your life.

      June 22, 2010 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • PopeJohnII

      If you are "USMC" then you should know the UCMJ which means you know McCrystal FLAGRANTLY broke military law. This isn't some private spouting off. This is the leader of tens of thousands of men showing insubordiantion to the Commander-In-Chief. This is not human failing–it wasn't his first time. This is STUPID: and that can't be fixed.

      June 22, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • usmc176

      Thunderhawk...from the sounds of your numerous posts you have here, you must be one of the out work slugs who will benefit from O-shame-a's health care plan. Your welcome. Your a Dbag!

      PopeJohnII – There comes a time when you have to stand up and voice your concern, if you feel something is wrong. You can't be a sheep all of your life. Imagine, if you work, someone coming to you who has never done your job and telling you how to do it or not giving you the tools to complete it. Would you sit there and be a sheep or would you stand up to that person?

      June 22, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. John316

    By now, hasn't every human being on the planet realized that every time you email, phone, or speak it will get broadcast for all the wrong reasons. Every day some actor, politician, or naive schoolgirl is on TV apologizing or whining about what they said ( or shouldn't have said ..). There is a time and place for everything.....obviously this wasn't the time or place for General McChrystal ......

    June 22, 2010 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  6. Carmelle

    Let's not forget those in Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetary and those fighting round the clock and in Iraq. There is no place in the world for this foolishness. This is clearly egotism and insubordination at its finest. These people obviously don't need their jobs. I'm sure McChrystal and Crew will be dealt with swiftly in one way or another, now or in the future...mark my words; that's how it works in Washington, DC.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Grafixer

      Now (rather than later) would be good. Anyone that isn't going to stand behind what the country voted for, and the resulting changes, needs to get the heck out of the way. Staying stuck in the past ways of graft, greed, and corporate take-over is not good for the individual, or the country. We all need to grow up, and stand together. This General needs to learn that childish bullying and gossip sessions do not belong, and will not be accepted. Dangerous combination – anger, bitterness, childishness, and power. He won't last 2 minutes in the real world of business.

      June 22, 2010 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Paulo

      I think we should give the benefit of the doubt to Obama and McChristal here. McChrystal's complaints look legitimate to me. The focus should be on how to improve communication between Obama and McChrystal, so McChrystal does not feel the need to go to Rolling Stone to air his legitimate grievances. Let's not look at this as an "us vs. them" situation. We need to understand that all the people mentioned in the article have a genuine interest in solving the problems in Afghanistan. Firing people for speaking their minds – however inconvenient what they say may seem, does not solve anything and can actually make the situation much worse.

      June 22, 2010 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  7. Brian Culpepper

    My father once told me that a smart person wouldn't run for public office and it seems like that is exactually what we have nowdays...a bunch on non-smart people.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  8. Keith

    This General is what is known in the Army as a Triple Tab. He has the Special Forces tab, Ranger tab and the Airborne tab. This man KNOWS what he is talking about as far as dealing with these wars. Obama is a no nothing piece of crap for a president. What was the word McChristal used to describe obama...wuss? That is to soft of a word in my opinion. My word to describe obama rhymes with wussy but starts with a capital P!

    June 22, 2010 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Grafixer

      You seem to be as angry and bitter as the General, and your comments are similar – emotional bullying and whining without facts to back anything up with. A lot of egos are still bruised over the loss of the election and having to defend 8 years of ignorance... I understand that. Perhaps it is time to sit down, be very quiet and humble, and allow the new administration to clean up the mess that your vote(s) brought about.

      June 22, 2010 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      I wonder what words of wisdom Thuderhawk will have for you. He seems to be a very angry person.

      June 22, 2010 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  9. Sandy Underpants

    These are the dummies running our operations on the ground? No wonder the US hasn't won a war in 50 years.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • PopeJohnII

      Not sure about your comments but–if you're a woman–I'd sure like to know the the details on your handle!

      June 22, 2010 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  10. amanda

    The bottom line is that, obviously, people have differing opinions on the president and how well he does his job (see above comments). But it's one thing to voice your opinion as a private citizen; it's a totally different thing to be doing it when the president is your boss. It certainly isn't Obama's fault that this guy has his own, perhaps ill-founded, opinions of him and his administration, and decided to blab to the media about it. Personally, I think that Obama is man of integrity, and is doing a good job with what he's got. I mean, look at Abe Lincoln; there were times when people lost faith in him too, but he still got the job done. And he certainly wasn't a military man either.
    I'm just sick of all this partisanship. This government can't work very well if no one is willing to work together. Enough with all these exaggerated claims about the president being a socialist, forming death panels, and the ridiculous claim that he wasn't born in America. Who cares? Does this really help anyone to prevent another recession or provide affordable healthcare to the masses? There are more important things to be discussing here, people.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  11. Rick

    Fire the general's ass.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  12. Paulo

    I know the conservatives will use this as a cudgel to hammer away at Obama. What else is new? They don't really care about what happens in Afghanistan as long as Obama fails. This is all just a game to them apparently.

    What I really would like to see is Obama forge a better relationship with McChrystal as a result of all of this. This bickering shows that there is likely something legitimately wrong. Instead of complaining about leaks here or comments there and disciplining the general, we should encourage these guys to get things off of their chests. Afghanistan will fail if we do not identify and solve legitimate complaints.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  13. Rontianjin

    I don't know why the General has a problem with the Commander in Chief, after all the president has experience as a community orgainzer so what's the problem?

    June 22, 2010 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Grafixer

      Well, I'd rather have a community organizer than a baseball team owner – and former oil company failure.

      June 22, 2010 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Mine

      Ronald Reagan was a Hollywood actor who played leading man to a monkey/chimp, (named Bonzo for gawdssake, of all the idioticnames)! So get over the fact that Obama was a community organizer. That's a much better start than a Hollywood chimp-hugger.

      June 23, 2010 at 1:50 am | Report abuse |
  14. Mike

    McChrystal is spot own. He should not apologize but should resign with his honor. Obama is selling our country out. He promised troops at the border but he lied. He hates America. His wife is a racist and he is not much better.

    It is my hope that people have seen that "hope and change" is nothing more that a push to socialism and communism in our country.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • HurtfulTruth

      Spoken like a truly blind idiot!!!

      June 22, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  15. dukenukem

    it is time for the nukes folks, declare victory and pullout. case closed.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
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