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. OmahaSteve

    US News and World Report: "World Sees Obama as Incompetent and Amateur". The world knows it. The military knows it and even more and more the mainstream media is starting to realize it.

    June 22, 2010 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. chris

    Lets face it, democrats dont have a clue when it comes to wars. What kind of US president would support acountry when the leader of that nation says he will start supporting the taliban if we kill more civilians. Obama is a 1 termer who just wants to please everyone. Hes quite a spineless leader who himself could never be man enough to fill a 4 star generals shoes.

    The war is a joke and needs to be stopped. Russia couldnt do it, nor any other nation. WE WILL NOT WIN THE WAR with obamas policy. You cant win a war when you tie the soldiers hands behind their backs....you think Obama would have learned this from Vietnam.

    June 22, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Awww is Obama gonna cry now?

    Wow, I support the General 100%. Finally someone who is right in the middle of all of this comes out, speaks the truth, exposes Obama for the fraud that he is, and now he calls the General to Washington so he can be there for the Obama temper tantrum.

    Looks like the General kicked your ass Obama, and its about time someone did!!

    June 22, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Suzie

      Aren't you worried who else McChrystal has sold information to? If he can be bought off by Rolling Stone (which they paid him a nice sum), who else can buy his information? This isn't about Obama, it's about national security. This guy ultimatley affects people's lives. The last thing any of our servicemen should ever witness is a breakdown in the chain of command. I am the first to admit Obama is severely lacking but this is not a sport to see who can kick whose azz.

      June 22, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Meghan

      OMG, this means we will have to endure another one of those OBAMA Prime Time speeches!

      Chicago style politics

      June 22, 2010 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jim Roane

    In my opinion, President Obama has a wonderful opportunity to be Lincolness at this point and tell General McChrystal to keep his d**n mouth shut, and then start looking for a General Ulysses S. Grant.

    June 22, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Suzie

    If Rolling Stone can pay him to get stories – who else has? Greedy pigs have no place in our top militiary echelon. The only thing worse than this guy being paid by Rolling Stone for a meaningless piece of pablum is if Obama lets him keep his job. I am sick and tired of people saying they take responsibility for their actions with no recourse. What good is that? If Obama keeps this guy on staff, he will solidfy the fact he has no backbone. It is the American people Obama represents and we don't like top military brass selling stories to tabloids. I could care less how Obama reacts to the article on a personal level. Vegas odds are 50 to 1 that he will be fired by this president.

    June 22, 2010 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  6. kathleen

    And this is why they should have made Kevin Higgins a General in 2001. Kevin would have reserved his comments been a Great General and if he had anything to say to Pres. Obama or Vice-Pres. Biden he would have said it to their faces.

    June 22, 2010 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Tony L

    This general is incompetent. The first rule of military is to follow the orders of your commander. Obama is the president and commander in chief so he works for Obama. If he disagrees with Obama then he should quit his job instead of endangering the troops by disrespecting his superiors. He is no different then any low life politician if he is holding on to his position for power and does not believe in the strategy or his commander. He has lost the respect of the country by this action. He asked for more troops and was given 30,000 more troops to fight the war to win. But he is failing so he is also incompetent in his work as a general. Obama gave him chance before as well but his guy keeps screwing up. He is not a good general and sets a bad example for the troops.

    June 22, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jIM


    June 22, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Kimo

    You have to wonder if McChrystal would tolerate this kind of talk from his subordinates. They sound like frat boys in college who think they are cooler than everyone else. Normally, Obama has pretty thick skin. It will be interesting to see if he cans him.

    June 22, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Samuel Margolies

    Keep General McChrystal in his post. We are at war and Mc Chrystal is the man to lead that war on the ground. Period.

    June 22, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Tony L

    Typical American way of life of talking behind your fellow workers and bosses. Cracking jokes while they are not available to defend themselves. This general is just another low life instead of a leader. A leader would not do what this general did. He should be relieved of his command.

    June 22, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  12. eleanor fitzgerald

    When a general thinks he can get away with this level of insubordination in what he says about his Commander-in-Chief, it is time to consider if we have become too much the warrior nation, like Sparta rather than Athens. All brawn and little wisdom! It is becoming frightening to consider how much of the total workforce of the U.S., over and above those in active service, are engaged in defence related jobs. This has steadily increased since World War II, and even former President Eisenhower was concerned that this would happen. It is time to wean ourselves from this mindset and focus on other needs. Environment, clean energy and other quality of pursuits.

    June 22, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Bonnie

    Way more abhorrent than the general's disdain for the president is his total lack of respect for Joe Biden, who has decades more experience on foreign affairs issues around the globe than McChrystal, who's usually barricaded in some tent, bunker or sand dune. And yes, some of us DO remember how the general treated Pat Tillman's death.

    June 22, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  14. newporter

    As a former military member, guys like McChristal were a dime a dozen - heads get a little too big for their shoulders, godlike we used to call them in the way they perceived themselves. He may be good for the Afghanistan conflict but I have no doubt that Obama is going to show him to screw his haed back on. Some humility from a government servant at this level won't hurt.

    June 22, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Joe, San Diego


    Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Transportation, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.

    June 22, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
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