June 22nd, 2010
04:41 PM ET

Gen. Stanley McChrystal: Latest developments

Here are the latest developments involving Gen. Stanley McChrystal, America's top commander in Afghanistan. He and his staff made comments in a Rolling Stone article that appear to mock top civilian officials, including Vice President Joe Biden. The story, which is to appear in Friday's edition, was written by Michael Hastings.

[Updated at 10:11 p.m.] McChrystal likely will resign Wednesday, a Pentagon source with ongoing contacts with the general said.

[Updated at 7:43 p.m.] McChrystal is prepared to resign if the president has lost confidence in him, a national security official told CNN.

[Updated at 6:04 p.m.] McChrystal has "offered to resign," according to a Twitter post from Time magazine's Joe Klein on Tuesday. Earlier, Klein, citing "a very reliable source," told CNN that McChrystal had already submitted his resignation.

The Twitter post from Klein's magazine offered the "clarification" that the general has "'offered to resign' he has NOT submitted his resignation."

[Updated at 5:55 p.m.] President Obama said that McChrystal showed "poor judgment," but he added that he would wait until meeting in person with McChrystal before making a decision on McChrystal's future. Obama is expected to meet with McChrystal on Wednesday.

[Updated at 4:41 p.m.] McChrystal has submitted his resignation, Time magazine's Joe Klein told CNN, citing an unnamed source. CNN is working to confirm Klein's information.

[Updated at 3:50 p.m.] Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-North Dakota, a member of the Senate Democratic leadership, called for McChrystal to step down, telling CNN that the remarks in Rolling Stone were "unbelievably inappropriate and just
can't be allowed to stand."

[Updated at 3:30 p.m.] Gen. Stanley McChrystal and his staff "became aware" that the Rolling Stone story would be controversial before it was published, story author Michael Hastings told CNN Tuesday.

I "got word from (McChrystal's) staff ... that there was some concern" about possible fallout from the story, Hastings said.

Hastings noted that there was "a lot" of material from the interviews with McChrystal that he didn't use in the article.

[Updated at 1:41 p.m.] Waheed Omar, spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai, said U.S. Gen. Stanley McChrystal is the best commander for the war in Afghanistan and hopes Obama does not replace him. Karzai and his team believe McChrystal is a man of strong integrity who has a strong understanding of the Afghan people and their culture, Omar said.

[Updated at 1:25 p.m.] President Barack Obama was "angry" after seeing the upcoming controversial magazine article about Gen. Stanley McChrystal, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Tuesday.

"I gave him the article last night," Gibbs said at the daily White House news briefing. "He was angry."

Earlier, Gibbs described the "magnitude and graveness" of mistakes by McChrystal in the article as "profound."

[Updated at 1:10 p.m.] White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Tuesday that Gen. Stanley McChrystal will have President Barack Obama's "undivided attention" on Wednesday when the two meet in person.  "The president looks forward to speaking with him tomorrow about what's in the (Rolling Stone) article," Gibbs said.

[Updated at 1:09 p.m.] White House press secretary Robert Gibbs refused Tuesday to say what President Barack Obama's reaction was to the story about Gen. Stanley McChrystal in Rolling Stone.  But he noted that McChrystal had been recalled to Washington in part to explain his actions.

"Suffice it to say, our combatant commander does not usually participate in (Afghanistan war planning) meetings from Washington," Gibbs said.  Obama will speak to McChrystal about his comments.

"We'll have more to say after that meeting," Gibbs said. [Updated at 1:01 p.m.] Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Carl Levin, D-Michigan, said Tuesday that Gen. Stanley McChrystal's remarks will have "a negative effect on policy implementation" in Afghanistan.  Levin said he didn't know if McChrystal would be able to keep his job.

[Updated at 12:12 p.m.] Defense Secretary Robert Gates released the following statement on McChrystal's comments:

"I read with concern the profile piece on Gen. Stanley McChrystal in the upcoming edition of ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine. I believe that Gen. McChrystal made a significant mistake and exercised poor judgment in this case. We are fighting a war against al Qaeda and its extremist allies, who directly threaten the United States, Afghanistan, and our friends and allies around the world. Going forward, we must pursue this mission with a unity of purpose. Our troops and coalition partners are making extraordinary sacrifices on behalf of our security, and our singular focus must be on supporting them and succeeding in Afghanistan without such distractions. Gen. McChrystal has apologized to me and is similarly reaching out to others named in this article to apologize to them as well. I have recalled Gen. McChrystal to Washington to discuss this in person."

Read excerpts from Rolling Stone magazine profile

[Updated at 11:46 a.m.] U.S. Senators John McCain (R-Arizona), Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut), and Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) issued the following statement regarding General McChrystal's comments in Rolling Stone:

“We have the highest respect for General McChrystal and honor his brave service and sacrifice to our nation.  General McChrystal’s comments, as reported in Rolling Stone, are inappropriate and inconsistent with the traditional relationship between Commander-in-Chief and the military.  The decision concerning General McChrystal’s future is a decision to be made by the President of the United States.”

[Updated at 10:46 a.m.] Rolling Stone Executive Editor Eric Bates told CNN Tuesday that comments made by Gen. Stanley McChrystal and other top military aides to writer Michael Hastings in Afghanistan were "not off the cuff remarks."

"They gave us a lot of access," Bates said.  "We fact-checked it thoroughly. ... They knew what they were doing when they granted the access and the interview."

Bates said the story shows "a deep division" and "a war within the administration" over strategy in Afghanistan.  It's "hard to see how we can win a war when we're divided ourselves," he said.

[Updated at 10:13 a.m.] Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, weighed in Tuesday on the controversy surrounding Gen. Stanley McChrystal, saying that his "impression is that all of us would be best served by just backing off and staying cool and calm and not sort of succumbing to the normal Washington twitter about this for the next 24 hours."

McChrystal is "a terrific soldier," Kerry said at the start of a committee hearing. But "it will be up to the president of the United States, as commander in chief" to decide how to respond.

"The priorities of (the Afghanistan) mission are best served by letting the president and his commanders make a determination as to how we move forward," Kerry added.

McChrystal, America's top military commander in Afghanistan, has been recalled to Washington amid his controversial remarks about colleagues and civilian authorities in a Rolling Stone magazine article.

[Update 9:05 a.m.] An official at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul said Ambassador Karl Eikenberry and McChrystal "are both fully committed" to President Obama's Afghan strategy and are working together to implement the plan. The official said, "We have seen the article and Gen. McChrystal has already spoken to it."

[Update 8:28 a.m.] A U.S. military official confirms to CNN that Gen. Stanley McChrystal has now spoken to: Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, Special Representative Richard Holbrooke, National Security Adviser Jim Jones and Vice President Joe Biden.

Remarks about Biden

McChrystal and his staff had imagined ways of dismissing Vice President Joe Biden with a one-liner as they prepared for a questions-and-answer session in Paris, France, in April.

He had grown tired of questions about Biden since earlier dismissing a counterterrorism strategy the vice president had offered.

"Are you asking about Vice President Biden? Biden?" McChrystal says with a laugh. "Who's that?" Hastings writes.

"Biden?" suggests a top adviser. "Did you say, 'Bite Me?' "

Comments about other top officials

The article paints McChrystal as a man who "has managed to piss off almost everyone with a stake" in the Afghan conflict, including U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, Special Representative to Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke and National Security Adviser Jim Jones.

Of Eikenberry, who railed against McChrystal's strategy in Afghanistan in a cable leaked to The New York Times in January, the general said, "Here's one that covers his flank for the history books. Now if we fail, they can say, 'I told you so.' "

McChrystal has a "special skepticism" for Holbrooke, the official in charge of reintegrating Taliban members into Afghan society, Hastings writes.

"At one point on his trip to Paris, McChrystal checks his BlackBerry. 'Oh, not another e-mail from Holbrooke,' he groans. 'I don't even want to open it.' He clicks on the message and reads the salutation out loud, then stuffs the BlackBerry back in his pocket, not bothering to conceal his annoyance."

"'Make sure you don't get any of that on your leg,' an aide jokes, referring to the e-mail."

The fallout

McChrystal extends his "sincerest apology for this profile," saying it was a "mistake reflecting poor judgment and should never have happened."

"I have enormous respect and admiration for President Obama and his national security team, and for the civilian leaders and troops fighting this war and I remain committed to ensuring its successful outcome," he said.

McChrystal said he's "lived by the principles of personal honor and professional integrity" throughout his career and that "what is reflected in this article falls far short of that standard."

McChrystal was recalled to Washington to attend a meeting on Afghanistan and Pakistan in person rather than by video conference on Wednesday to explain his remarks to Obama and Pentagon officials, administration officials said.

McChrystal has fired a press aide because of the Rolling Stone article, two defense officials told CNN Tuesday morning.

soundoff (663 Responses)
  1. tim

    Sounds like McChrystal has been doing too much McMeth in his bunkroom...

    He's starting to RAMBLE ON.... this is beyond stupid....

    June 22, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Snow

    @ Teresa

    I think you should know your military history before you make a comment. GEN James Jones served 40 years in the U.S. Marine Corps in which he served as the Marine Coprs Commandant and the Commander of U.S. European Command. And GEN Karl Eikenberry served over 30 years in the U.S. Army in which he spent a considerable amount of time as the top U.S. Commander in Afghanistan and I know this personally because I served with him. So it's pretty safe to say that these two retired officers have walked in the shoes that McCrystal is wearing.

    June 22, 2010 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  3. TO

    Best read here...Michael Yon saw the failures of McChrystal and reported on them earlier this year. McChrystal has been given everything he requested and hasn't made any progress. Time for a change.


    June 22, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mike R.

    President Obama already holds the highest security clearance granted by the U.S., so that certainly would not stop him from joining the military. As for his lack of a valid birth certificate......................get a life! The man was born in Hawaii and is a legal U.S. citizen. If he isn't, it would be the greatest security failure in the history of this, or any other country, even surpassing the WMD fiasco in Iraq. Just cause you don't like the man's politics doesn't disqualify him for government service.

    June 22, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Active Civilian

    Too many of the people that respond to these stories apply their D or R perspective to them. Insubordinate actions by an employee lands that employee in hot water. When it is a General being insubordinate to the President during war time, then he needs to be boiled in the hot water. I like McCrystal. I think he has done a good job, but he needs to do the right thing a resign for no other reason than to show his soldiers that you must respect the chain of command. I would hate to see soldiers questioning openly to the press the decisions of their commanders to the point that they feel empowered to disobey them. Respect for the command structure is vital to the health and effectiveness of our armed forces.

    June 22, 2010 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Disappointed in MN

    I’m ex-Navy and I think General McChrystal and his aides were out of line having these discussions with a reporter present. If you disagree with your boss or co-workers, you have that discussion one-on-one. If you’re making jokes or dissing someone, then you make sure you know who is in the locker room with you. They’ve been in the Army long enough to know not to invite reporters into the locker room. Because of that, he’ll get more than what he deserves because politics aren’t based on reality, they are based on emotion. On top of that, it's disappointing to see Obama get angry over this but not get angry over millions of gallons of oil washing up on our shores. Typical politics.

    June 22, 2010 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. antoni

    General McChrystal appears to be a good soldier and they are nor required to unplug their brains. Perhaps when the Administration doesn't listen, doesn't care, the General was fed up, had to do something, anything. I think he did the right thing. Look where Obama was for Memorial Day, not at Arlington Cemetary. Obama doesn't care. What about the nuclear capability in Iran? Why doesn't Obama do something? What about the oil spill? What about healthe care? The economy? Jobs? Spending? The Budget? Tampering with elections. The Commander in Chief has no military experience yet he thinks he knows everything, controls everything. You don't think the Military is also tired of Obama? Why doesn't Obama send lawyers to fight the war? That's who he sent to fix the oil spill. This is how Obama thinks. Respect for the Administration? The Administration doesn't respect us! What's wrong with many of you people making comments here? Are you sleeping? Are do you enjoy watching the president's exercise of stupidity and his grab for power? Respect? He doesn't care about us nor respect us. He has an agenda and everybody sees this including the Military. Wake up! Freedom of Speech! First Amendment! Vote the clown out of office and these other bozo politicians that are ruining our country! I am disgusted that many of you can't see this. I travel abroad, and everyone there sees it! Only some Americans cannot. Why? Do you like tyranny?

    June 22, 2010 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • marco60

      "Fed up"?? Why not do the honourable thing and resign. Making jokes about your boss and colleagues to a Rolling stone reporter is childish. McChrystal is allowed to disagree with Obama but if he can't put up and shut up, he should retire and take the 6 figure job waiting for for him at Boeing, General Dynamics, Lockheed............................

      June 22, 2010 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Stan

    Gen. Stanley McChrystal should be fired. His remarks are unbecoming a ranking officer, a disgrace to his uniform and disrespectful to the Office of the President of the United States. If he continues after he is fired, he should loose all his pension. Yes he is a great Hero and Solider, but he stepped over the line of Military Protocol and he KNEW it.

    June 22, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Cathy

    McChrystal's comments were not appropriate. Should he be held accountable for them, yes. When Obama was running for office, an officer made the mistake of publishing his views of the visit made by then Sen. Obama. He was run out of the service. Does that make any of the comments untrue, no. I think military service should be a must for anyone running for any office or at the least a spouse of a military service member. You get a very different view of things when you are on the "pointy end of the stick" or you are supporting one of those heroes. Remember freedom isn't free.

    June 22, 2010 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ted T.

    It's time for the General to retire and just fade away.

    June 22, 2010 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jenna hurst

    McChrystal has experience.. all Obama has is a sheep skin

    June 22, 2010 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • marco60

      Obama gave him everything he asked for and McChrystal is still failing. Now he's trying to save his sinking ship by blaming everyone but himself.

      A true leader.

      June 22, 2010 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  12. janet

    A similar situation happened to me at work recently. I only tell the truth, and tell it how it is. The corporate execs didn't want to hear the truth. I promptly got demoted, as I'm sure Mcchrystal will. What is wrong with corporate, and military America today? If they're running around with their eyes closed, how is anything ever going to get fixed?

    June 22, 2010 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. godon411

    Fire him.

    June 22, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  14. godon411

    McChrystal is no longer effective. Must be fired.

    June 22, 2010 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Douglas Harper

    Give the General the 5th Star

    June 22, 2010 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
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