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. David Templeton

    Obama needs to resign or face impeachment over this incident. Obama has lost the confidence of manufacturers, congress, voters, medical professions, Gulf States, Arizona, and now the military. Obama has had complete indifference in ending these two Arab wars. The party likes having a war as a backdrop for other Democratic agendas. Neither Gates nor Obama have donned a uniform and fought on foreign soil. Maybe they should give it a try and stand in line when they want to express their views and "how the war is going". The ludicrous part of it all is that the Liar in Chief was going to end these Arab wars in Afghanistan and Iraq once he finagled the votes to sit in the big house. It's been 18 months, so you're in there and why don't you fulfill the campaign promises that got you elected. Because he is a liar and that’s why he'll not be a soldier, just another parasitic career politician spending taxpayer's money to fund his own agenda.

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

      Who started those two "Arab Wars" David?

      You are an idiot Glenn-Beck-Drone. Idiot. Idiot. Idiot. That's you.

      Use your brain and think for yourself. It will probably hurt at first, because you obviously haven't used it for a long time, but I'm confident that with some hard work on your part, you can one day function at a fourth grade level. Maybe even fifth - aim high brother.

      June 22, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Byrd

    As a former marine, I'd have been busted in rank and fined had I spoken to a sergeant, much less my battlaion commander, in such as way as McChrystal of his commander in chief. AS such, I feel it entirely appropriate that he be busted to Major and retired immediately. Balimning the preseident who's only been in office for a year for his and the entire military establishment's failures over the past nine years is nothing but cowardice. He has absolutely no integrity whatsoever and has killed many more civilians than combatants during his tenure. He is a disgrace to the uniform.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  3. MLC

    Get rid of him and all of his cronies. I thought it was a mistake to keep him when Obama took over.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Rush

    He clearly doesn't respect the President , he should retire.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Chris

    I believe the President should follow the historical example of President Truman who, we know, fired General Douglas MacArthur for his insubordination during the Korean War. Although MacArthur's behavior was far more disturbing than General McChrystal, the underlying insubordination remains the same. I assure you, had someone subordinate to General McChrystal chastised the General's leadership, the subdordinate would have been sacked immediately.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. AC

    I think that the whole issue boils down to the fact that Gral. McChrystal feels been jerked around and not given what he needs to complete the mission. It seems that he figured out that it was better to say something, instead of continue a failing policy where he can not do what he has to do. Bush avoided this problem by letting the military what the military had been asked to do. However, Obama wants to fight this war from the campaign trail, or DC, or the USA in Kabul. And that's the real problem. Obama was not suppose to bring the general alone, but his embassador as well. Obama must make clear to the American people that our military will have what they need so we don't end with another Vietnam.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Military Daughter and Wife

    General McCrystal has broken the military's own rules and regulations and should resign or be fired. As for those who feel that military service should be a prerequisite for the presidency, they should look at history. Neither of the 2 greatest wartime presidents in our nation's history - Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt - served in our nation's military.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sergeant Jones

      With all due respect Roosevelt and Lincoln also listened to what their Military Commanders needed. They gave them the resources and funding they needed to win the war. President Obama has not done that yet.

      June 22, 2010 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Marge

    Keep the general – get rid of Obama.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  9. SJAJR

    Its like anyone in any high profile position of authority. you really have to watch what you say whether your a General or a CEO. Becuase we have become such a nation of queens (drama queens), where shrillnes is valued over civility (just read these posts). We all tend to forget that.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. PrettyAngel

    I am so sick of how top politicians, generals and American people in the United States have no respect for our President Barack Obama. The general should be fired, there are just a lot of things that should not be shared with the media; loose lips sink ships. I hope that he gets fired. It is time for this President to man up and stop letting people get away with things. The White House party crashers should be have been arrested also. Now they have their 15 minutes of fame, starring in a new reality show. The USA has a lot of issues that need to be dealt with. President Obama, please fire that general, an apology is not good enough for what he has done; he makes the leader of this country look as if he is unintelligent; which we know is not true.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Neil Cohen

      – I agree with you that the general should leave office because of his remarks.

      – Still, respect should be earned and President Obama doesn't have my respect as an individual, but only for his office.

      June 22, 2010 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  11. AC

    I think that this is a distraction and should be deal with it at once one way or another, and move on to the fact that it is a war going on.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  12. john

    KUDO'S to the general, he knows a bumbling idiot when he hears and sees one and knows when a coward in chief has NO leadership ability. THANK YOU for telling it like it is and not hiding how MOST in uniform feel about this left wing nut job administration.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      Actually, most in uniform voted for President Obama. Deal with that, jerkwad.

      June 23, 2010 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mandy

    The Obama administration needs to understand that they are all inept especially when it deals with the war in Afghanistan. The general should not be punished for mentioning the elephant in the room, which is that Obama is an idiot especially in regards to the war. Hopefully our president, who was never brave enough to serve for this country, will respect those who risk their lives daily, and let the general off the hook.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  14. john

    I hate to break it to you "angel" but he is an idoit who HATES America and what it stands for, he ates capitalism, hates the military and wants the govt to control ALL of your everday life. I know he was a community organizer, so that makes him a genius...but he could not lead his way out of a wet paperbag..he is a boy trying to do a grownups job...OBAMA should be the one to be fired...the world laughs at him daily!!!

    June 22, 2010 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yeah Right

      You believe the President of the United States "hates" the military, capitalism, and for that matter, our whole country? Please. That's just ignorant. What right-wing radio savant convinced you of these things? You can always tell the Rush/Glenn freaks because they will use the words "community organizer," refer to conspiracy theories about our president's true nationality, or pull out one of the other old standbys. If you asked them to explain their position in their own words, 95% of them couldn't even do it.

      June 22, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mel

      Obama has a 90% approval rating by the Germans. The French, the English, the Norwegians, the Danes, in fact, most of the rest of Europe have very high ratings for Obama, much higher than his ratings here in the United States, according to the latest polls taken in those countries. Even the Russian people have tremendous respect for Obama. It is only the right-wing hate machine that has such low opinions of the President. Oh yes, several of the Arab countries do not like Obama either. But john, your earlier statement is false. The majority of people in the world appear to not only like and respect our President, they love him!

      June 22, 2010 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  15. JimmyLove

    The general said: “It was a mistake reflecting poor judgment and should never have happened."
    If this is the kind of generals we have leading America in Afghanistan, God have mercy on our young soldiers, God have mercy. War should never be a joke. We’re dealing with people’s lives. How many of that poor judgment to have been the cause of death of our young teenagers in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
    In this crucial time, we should have zero tolerance for those kinds of behaviors. They should fire the thug.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
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