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. Lauren

    Is this a joke? Obama and his posse need to take a long, hard look at the first amendment. Does anyone know what FREEDOM OF SPEECH means?!? McChrystal shouldn't have to apologize. Let the man believe what he believes. Is this not a free country? We are HUMAN. We have BRAINS. WE SHOULD USE THEM.

    @mike tatum- Name one good thing our president has done for this country. BOTTOM LINE he isnt doing jack because he isnt fit to be president. The guy was a community organizer. Thats so easy a caveman could do it. He wrote a couple best sellers and said "Change" over and over. Is that all it takes, America? If so, I'm 17, I should probably get started on my first book now.

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

      To you, he may not have accomplished much. To those that paid attention to, and voted for what he said he was going to do, he has accomplished a lot – even with the largest number of filibusters (Republicans) in the history of this country! Freedom of speech was not meant to allow a General to gossip and bully (without facts of any kind) his boss and President. It would be different if he was exposing something like... Halliburton being given non-bid contracts and not fulfilling them, or... people being tortured... or... unfounded wiretapping of citizens' communications... or... the beating and torture of inmates. Hmmm... What kind of loyalty are you standing behind? And why? Ego still bruised over the loss of an election?

      June 22, 2010 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Lauren

      Then name something. I want to know what he has done.

      Where i stand on the listed issues has nothing to do with this. I am not liberal nor conservative. I'm a centrist. And i know what a filibuster is.

      How could my ego be bruised over an election i couldn't vote in??

      Obama is not God. He is a man.

      Freedom of speech was meant for the citizens of this country, right? welllll, is the general a U.S. citizen??? Pretty sure he is.

      June 22, 2010 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • dc


      When you are in the military you are subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), which is the military's version of the law. Article 88 (Contempt Towards Officials) state "Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Security, or the Governor or legislature of any state, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which he/she is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct." He (the General and his minions) should face the consequences of their actions. Actually, they (the Obama Administration) let him off easy as he broke the military rule (law) in which possibly he could have been court-martialed.

      There is no such thing as freedom of speech in the military; and I am sure no one knows that better than the General. In fact, you take an oath to abide by the rules of the UCMJ when you join the military.

      June 23, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • dc

      What is wrong with being a community organizer? My mother was a community organizer. She received the prestigious "Points of Light" (for community organizers - helping people) one from first President Bush and one from President Clinton.

      With regard to what Obama has done: BP is obligated to pay businesses and people for the oil spill in a responsible time because of the pressure from Obama. You have US/Louisiana citizens still suffering from the hurricane due to the previous administration's ineptness.

      The economic situation, banking/financial situation, and hemorrhaging of job loss is due to the past administration's ineptness (8 years). Thanks too Obama, we are not in an economic depression (economy is recuperating); we maybe close to 10% of joblessness, but the number of job losses has been reversed - people are beginning to get jobs now. Since this is happening on PRESIDENT Obama's watch, he is responsible. This is undeniable!

      June 23, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. down n da bayou

    obama wouldn't know the law if it slapped him smack in the face. he wants to sue Ari. for making it illeagal to be here illeagally. how smart is that? as for being a sen. he bought that spot from Blago. and how many times he voted present? newsflash! you posed to vote Ya or Nay. even a dummy know that. so when you tell me bout a REAL job he had. I would love to know.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |

      How about President of Harvard Law? You idtiot.

      June 22, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • dc

      Harvard Law School is the most prestigious Law school in our nation. Let's face it, the President is brilliant. What kind of education do you have? Do you even have a High School Diploma?

      June 23, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  3. c baker

    Right or wrong is not the issue – in the military, you NEVER badmouth the commander. Remember what happened to MacArthur? This general knows the rules. what the hell is he doing granting interviews? He is not a PR person. Whether you are for or against the current admin is irrelevant. I'd say the same for Bush. NOBODY publicly badmouths the Commander in Chief. It is destructive and demoralizing to the troops.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      MacArthur was fired because he insisted on nuking China...

      June 22, 2010 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • johnnyhouse

      You are exactly right about badmouthing the top man.I know that it has to demoralizing also for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan to have to fight a war with their hands tied behind them. We would have lost WW1 and 2 if we had not fought with every thing we had to win.Vietnam was not lost by out fighting men it was lost by armchair generals and the constant bombardment of the liberal media.Korea was the same way.When you dictate peace terms you have won and when you negociate you have lost.We have politically corrected ourselves into weakness.

      June 22, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  4. dukenukem

    @LAUREN: It is obedience over brains in the military, FYI. Military is not a haven for free thinkers and creative folks. You get your marching orders (such as: defeat the godd*amn taliban) and then you go and defeat them. You don't come back telling your commander in chief that he sucks or calling his second in command a "bite me". As a general, he has many ways to respond and disagree but going for an ad hominem insult is not one of them.

    and enough already with community organizer thing. With GW we had a daddy's son in the seat who got us into this mess (wars) in the first place – without a strategy and without a plan.

    If you can defeat them, smoke 'em out. Aiming for a democracy in Afghanistan and Pakistan is like aiming for virginity in a second marriage with kids in tow.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Grafixer

      dukenukem... LOLOL. That's terrific. "Virginity in a 2nd marriage with kids" LOLOL. You are right though. I still think it was initially all about oil. That's what got us into this mess – with an administration run by oilmen. That's a no-brainer for any idiot to figure out. At this point, it is time for the nay-sayers, the Party of No, and the feigned Republican Tea Party to sit down and let the new administration try to find and fix all of the messes that they caused and left behind for the American people to carry. It will take more than one term to find and fix it all. And, it will be difficult to move forward with the Republican's egos standing in the way with filibuster after filibuster. We've got oil gushing in the gulf, and these Repugs want to back the oil company? THAT should show even the most ignorant of people where their allegiance lies.

      June 22, 2010 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Lauren

      My point is he did not threaten Obama. He did not wish any harm on him. He criticized him. And he already apologized, so it doesnt matter what I or anyone else thinks about it.
      And i know the military isnt a haven for free-thinkers and blah blah blah. I'm not a hippie, I want this war done, over with, and won, too. And if nukes are necessary, i agree, nuke em.

      If the military was COMPLETELY about obedience, why dont we just send a bunch of robots overseas?? It takes creativity as well to win wars. Somebody has to think out of the box. Somebody has to find a strategy. If we all just follow the person in front of us, nothing gets done. If the leader is making a mistake, should someone speak up and save some lives or something or should they keep their mouth shut?

      I am a teenager, and I don't know much, I'll admit. But that doesn't make my opinion less important, and that doesnt make me less of a person. I'm learning. Slowly but surely.

      June 22, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • I commend you

      Keep thinking for yourself, Lauren. We need you. Yes, soldiers are expected to obey orders without question. It would be very hard for me to do so. Military leaders do have to be strategists and that does involve a lot more then obeying without question. You are not wrong in your logic and your line of questioning is both admirable and refreshing.

      June 23, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. chinacat

    The same idiots complaining that Obama never served in combat, are the ones who had no problem voting for Bush twice. They were wrong then, why don't they ever consider they are wrong again...

    June 22, 2010 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      And what are personal attacks accomplishing?

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

      I've heard these same people complain that Obama was a "smoker"! Oh dear god!!! LOLOL. And Bush was a cokehead, alcoholic that dodged his service in the Guard! Cracks me up. It really is about ego here. Some people just can't get over having lost the election, and they are terrified that Obama may just be able to clean up some of the messes they created. If he does, they will be exposed as having followed the worst presidential disaster of all time – that brought this country to its knees.

      June 22, 2010 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • ChoCho

      I'm with chinacat; Bush didn't serve, either, so he didn't know squat! And with dukenukem, he's dead-on about the military–being AD myself, that's one of the first things you're taught is to not speak ill of the CINC (commander in chief), or else you WILL get disciplined. It's one thing for office discussions, and even then you might get gently corrected, but for man of that high in rank? Uh, yeah, even things said in confidence, ain't really in confidence, unless spoken to a spouse...if he has to resign, I wouldn't be surprised, but if not, I would be, and that won't be good, 'cause then that's telling other military folks, enlisted and officer that they can talk ish about the President, and not get repimanded. They were so making sure we didn't speak ill of Georgie, but Obama, folks just got loose tongues...

      June 22, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. voguy

    The general will offer his resignation tomorrow. If he doesn't then it will be a real shocker.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Grafixer

      I'd rather see Obama make it public that he ASKS for his resignation – and the resignation of every staff member that participated. You can't effect change if you have wolves in the hen house. This is just yet another left-over mess of childish, narrow-minded egos that needs to be cleaned up.

      June 22, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |

    ROFLOL WOW no drama obama is actually mad. This must be the butt he was looking to kick.
    Hats off to the General. More ppl should be sounding off like this. Question boldly why did it take this jr senator (i think it was 2 months) to come up with a plan for war. I agree with GW all presidents should serve at least 4 yrs in the military. With no ties to any union or company. Doesn't the royal family have to do that?
    Finally I personally would like to thank obummer for ransacking my childrens piggy banks. You have succesfully organized the community of america right into the chamber pot of the poor house.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Grafixer

      The economic ruin of this country came from the reckless spending of the Bush administration. Check the facts on that. Obama's team is stuck with trying to clean up the mess that was left behind.

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

      You and your children are a joke. The whole "piggy bank" line is a load of GOP talking point crap.

      Did you complain about it during W's reign? No. Every GOP president drove us into a hole, and the Dems got us out. In time Obama will too. So keep whining, it shows us how stupid you are.

      June 22, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • qwert

      There really needs to be some sort of intelligence test required before people are allowed to post comments. Stating Obama got the deficit to where it was before he became president (10 trillion) is just ignorant.

      June 22, 2010 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  8. PopeJohnII

    This should be about nothing more than civilian control over our military. And this is not about McCrystal having a big ego–no one could be a successful leader in any walk of life without strong ego.

    But this should call into question McCrystal's ability to control his ego. And since this is not his first violation of the Miliary Code, it should also call into question his ability to learn from his past mistakes. Can he make the necessary course changes as any truly successful leader can or is he myopically locked into HIS plan?

    The military leaders who came out against the Bush war policies after they had retired were routinely ridiculed for not falling on their sword at the time instead of remaining in the military to garner maximum benefits from their retirements.

    Well . . .

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

      It would be different if this general was exposing facts – like torture, or non-bid contracts to Halliburton that haven't been filled, or illegal wiretapping. But the comments from him and his staff are childish remarks – bullying and name-calling that have no basis in fact. Just negative and bratty emotions run amuck. I surely don't want a General with that lack of integrity in charge of my son's life in the military. Do you????

      June 22, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  9. down n da bayou

    so the oil spill is bush fault? if you think that, you are dumber than the pres.

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

      Bush and Cheney removed saftey regulations calling them a burded to the oil companies. So yes, in part...you can place blame on W. Get a clue!

      June 22, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Grafixer

      Some forget those closed door meetings between Cheney and the oil companies. Some forget that Cheney was with Halliburton, and that they got the non-bid contract (that was no fulfilled) in Iraq. Some forget that Bush used to own a few oil companies in Texas (backed by Saudi's and Bin Laden's family) that FAILED. Some forget that these 2 oilmen deregulated the oil industry, and reduced the safety regulations. Some forget that that same administration put their buddies into the MMS and established a "look the other way" relationship with the oil companies. So, yea... I think you can put the blame for the Gulf situation squarely on that administration's shoulders. You betcha!

      June 22, 2010 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. regor60

    The general should learn to STFU and do his job, which, when I last checked, doesn't include articles with Rolling Stone, a magazine that used to be hip but whose journalism ranks right up there with the Star

    June 22, 2010 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. cebm

    I haven't read the article. but lets please keep in mind that Rolling Stone is skewed very very far to the left. I've been a regular reader for years, but I always take their articles on politics with a heaping grain of salt.

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

    When you lose respect for the office of the Presidency. Don't expect Respect when your person is in the office! WOW thats good general, let the enemy see how stupid our military is. And no wonder we lose all our Wars.

    June 22, 2010 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • PHAN

      "And no wonder we lose all our Wars."

      read a history book.

      June 22, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. down n da bayou

    Obama will fail us. i see a sad future for America. i was told as a kid one day (big brother) will take over.. i sain that could never happen in America. guess i was wrong.

    June 22, 2010 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Grafixer

      If "Big Brother" is corporate control, the country was sold out and taken over during the last decade of deregulating the oil industry, the banks and Wall Street. Taking back control and giving it back to the people will take Obama more than one term. There are so many areas that have been destroyed, it will take more than one term to fix it.

      June 22, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • qwert

      What does that have to do with McChrystal being insubordinate to his boss?

      June 22, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Grafixer

      qwert – Has absolutely nothing to do with the General's insubordination. I was responding to downda's comment.

      June 22, 2010 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Boulder Liberal and Proud of It

    This sounds like a personality clash at best and a "policy clash" at worst. Afghanistan has been a quagmire for centuries, and unless these people are working in concert, we will lose sooner rather than later.

    I sincerely hope that fruitful discussion will result in that White House meeting scheduled for tomorrow.

    June 22, 2010 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Brian

    I pretty much agree with the General, however, did he bring these criticisms to Obama or any of the other folks he saw problems with? If not, he's kind of a wimp for doing so in a Rolling Stone interview, of all places. If he did, then I think he saw an opportunity to shine some light on serious issues between the civilian government and the military operation in Afghanistan.

    June 22, 2010 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Grafixer

      Brian, The comments this General and his staff made were not facts or issues that could be discussed and resolved with the President. They were simply disparaging and childish remarks of how they felt about the President and Vice President. No facts. No real issues. Just a gossip and bully session laid out to the Rolling Stone. The situation exposes the lack of integrity of the General, and says nothing of fact about Obama or Biden. The General is just yet another bruised ego that doesn't get along with anyone.

      June 22, 2010 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
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