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. Jim

    newporter ......Your a BOZO.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  2. American

    He should resign, then he could tell us what he really thinks about the strategy failures of this Administration. Obama and Biden's rules of engagement have resulted in too many American casualties! Our soldiers hands are tied because of Obama and Biden's conduct of this war on terrorism!

    June 22, 2010 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Annie O'Shaughnessy

    So the chosen Commanding General of Afganistan disagrees with the President. This highly decorated minitary man has served his country for far more years that the chosen Presesident has...and mand decisions that would make Obama's pale in comparison. Our President has NEVER served in the military. He has no idea what it is like to go hungry, without the bare essentials in life and withwith a constant threat of attack of the life-ending kind. He hasn't sjpend even one night in a fox hole. He has not watched his comrandes in arms killed before him. In other words, he has no point of reference to the kind of danger anddeath that

    June 22, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. William

    Take his stars and place them where the moon don't shine.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Shaunda

    I served in the military for 7 years and there are military laws for stating your opinion on such things; you can be court marshalled for even stating your political stance. As a general he knows this and should be held accountable. He should be fired!

    June 22, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. DubiousAlliance

    Larry44 – Where'd you get your Electroal vs. Popular vote numbers?

    Nominee Barack Obama John McCain
    Party Democratic Republican
    Home state Illinois Arizona
    Running mate Joe Biden Sarah Palin
    Electoral vote 365 173
    States carried 28 + DC + NE-02 22
    Popular vote 69,456,897[1] 59,934,814[1]
    Percentage 52.9%[1] 45.7%[1]

    June 22, 2010 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Cindy

    For those who are familiar with military protocol – our question would be: WHERE IS YOUR MILITARY BEARING GENERAL? How Dare You Vent Your Frustrations About THe Commander In Chief and HIS SECURITY TEAM.
    REPRIMAND is Definitely IN ORDER!! Maybe loose one of those stars and have a early retirement. This is a breach of security in my opinion!!

    June 22, 2010 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Paul

    It's Bush's fault. Nancy knows this.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. MIKE

    Now you see what kind of a moron obama is, Along with his moron mouth piece Gibbs!

    June 22, 2010 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. grayguru

    Gen. McCrystal has allowed locker room banter to find its way into a magazine interview. He has demonstrated poor judgment unbecoming of his uniform or position.
    He needs to submit his resignation immediately or be fired.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Craig

    McChrystal is probably brighter than any of these other goofs. As far as the racism thing, that clearly has no bearing in this. When people disagreed with Bush's war policies, was that racist? Gimme a break! Obama's biggest mistake would be to fire this soldier who is brilliant and has the respect of his men and of Hamid in Afghanistan.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • burned out by morons

      That would be the Hamid Karzai that wants to make a deal with the Taliban?

      Do any of you even bother to get details or are you just waiting for pablum from your favorite talking heads?

      June 22, 2010 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  12. NickinWI

    Personally, I believe the General should be court-martialed for his "lapse in judgment". Looking at the depth and breadth of his comments, it became clear to me that he no longer has a grasp of what his chain of command entails, with comments deriding not only the Executive Branch in its entirety, but also the Joint Chiefs and Secretary of Defense.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ethel Stoneman

    Truman fired McArthur after a 2nd misjudgment ...Maybe McChrystal is just repeating history...

    June 22, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Bill K NY

    What makes a general think he knows more about fightin a war then a community organizer?

    June 22, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Sergeant Jones

    What General McChrystal did was wrong indeed. It is best to keep to yourself with your own opinion, or respectfully express your opinion. But at the same time the truth hurts. McChrystal is trying to do what any General does " Win a War ". Cutting the Budget of The U.S. Military while in Iraq and Afghanistan was not really the smartest move to make either. If you cut the Military's budget then that tells me you really don't care about winning a war. But with all due respect to President Obama he has never served in the Military nor does he really know the resources needed for winning this type of war. General McChrystal does, and to be honest I think General McChrystal is just being truthful on the outcome of things.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
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