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. OregonDon

    Bush joined the National Guard so that he wouldn't have to go to Vietnam.. He was removed from flying status when he failed to show up for his required physical exam.. He saw as much active duty as Barack Obama, – ZERO So quit whining that President Obama never was on active duty in the military, – neither was Bush

    June 22, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sarge07

    I hope he does retire after this so-called controversy! Then he can speak even more freely about the crap the military has to put up with from the administration. In my 25 years of service, EVERYONE made comments about their opinions of the chain of command, especially about Congress and the President. Go any where near a military installation when military pay raises are being debated in Washington, and you will get all the quotes you will need to Court Martial everyone in uniform.
    The General is a good man, and an amazing leader, he has the right to blow off some steam if that was the case, but remember, those were not direct quotes from the General.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jim

    Come to think of it, perhaps Obama should fire Joe Biden. He's had a pretty naughty mouth too.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Lubeck

      Jim, It is very clear to me that your sort of stupidity is exactly why this country is in so much trouble. You utter lack of common sense, and factual information are nothing short of astonishing. It is extremely unfortunate that America has people like you in it.

      June 22, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Heather B

    I would like to say that not all against Obama are racists. I am not a racist, but did not vote for Obama. I do not like him as a leader, and still wouldnt vote for him. BUT as a citizen and as a vet, I believe that every American should show the President the utmost respect. I dont agree with him, but I respect him.

    This situation is hard, the General should not have said what he said, BUT I can see where it may be hard to serve under a president, or Commander in Chief that HAS NOT served. Those who havent had the prevlidge to serve wouldnt completely understand the importance of this. How are you going to effectivly lead our Military if you yourself, have not had that expierence??

    Just sayin.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Wrighteous

    Chris,
    People like to blame President Obama for every problem in America and abroad. I hope he is a one term president. Who needs this crap from such a bitter, racist and ungrateful country? That's why other countries call us the "Ugly Americans." They should insert "stupid" in the middle too!

    June 22, 2010 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. CombatMedic

    If it were a private saying things like this, he'd get hemmed up. The double standard between the enlisted and officer corps is absurd. 2nd LT or 4 Star, PVT of CSM we all must follow the same rules, and all be held equally accountable.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. skipmac

    Stan McCrystal is a hero. His only mistake is not resigning before telling the truth about our lame and weak kneed President. He is after all a serving Army officer and as such is bound by law not to criticize his Commander in Chief. And YES I did make the mistake of voting for Mr. Obama.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Pab

    General you are an ass

    June 22, 2010 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  9. radscout

    As a veteran, I will say this;

    Gripping about your leadership is one of the oldest and most natural parts about being in the millitary.

    Is it right?

    No, and it is not condusive to a stable chain-of-command to "grip down". Complaints should go up or to the side, (someone of equal rank.).

    It happens though,

    If you hear something your commander says about his leadership, you keep it to yourself. You DO NOT blab about it to someone outside the loop, (ie someone in another unit or a reporter.)

    I have no doubt that whatever personal or ideological problems that Gen. McCrystal may have with his chain of command, that he would and will carry out any orders given to him by them.

    Bottem line? Gen. McCrystal got in trouble for something that has occured since Alexander's men thought they had gone far enough to today; and is practised by soldiers from the brand new private who doesnt see the point of Equal Opportunity training to, apparently, the highest Generals in our armed forces who disagree with the ideas of their bosses.

    Shame on him for being so blatent with his distain, and shame on the guy who ratted him out.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  10. admiral 149

    The technical nature of fighting a war usually run contrary to the wish washy political "bull" that runs Washington. Any General worth his salt would have a tough time dealing with this administration. It is best not to interview Generals. A general that interviews well is most likely a poor one.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  11. OARFNY

    I enjoy these mindless rants. First, McChrystal should not have made the comments. He was wrong to do so It may cost him his job and the President has the right to make that change if he wants. It won't be his first, or last, mistake in judgment. He was right about Biden however and being a community organizer in Chicago ain't much trainining for the Commander in Chief. Second, I'm amazed that so many folks apparently thing George W. Bush is still President. Obama has made all the decisions in the last 18 months and he's been wrong most of the time.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dave

    This military advisor that makes fun of Biden should be explaining that Biden actually had a plan to separate Iraq into three states that was better than anything they actually did. Biden saw that Iraq would have conflict between ethnic groups and provided a three state solution. Not only would it have worked in months not years we would have an Iran that would be no threat to the region. Now we have idiots that liked kissing Bush backside so much they have been unable to work out an exit strategy or a long term peace solution. Maybe getting rid of the Bush group think entirely would be the best way to solve our strategy problems. Don’t let the door hit you on the backside on your way out McCrystal. If you’re a friend of Karzi you are probably crooked as a hound’s hind leg.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Yeah Right

    Larry44 - Obama won both the popular and electoral vote, you ignorant lout - both by a respectably wide margin. That's your typical Republican - don't have any ground to stand on, so just pull some "facts" out of your a__ and pray nobody knows better.

    Or, perhaps you are thinking of the 2000 elections, when Al Gore won the popular vote but lost the electoral college, perhaps?

    Keep chanting your 2012 mantra. Who knows, maybe the Republicans will present an electable candidate. Myself, I doubt I'll have forgotten all the mud GWB dragged us through for 8 years by then, so it will be an uphill battle for them to win my vote, regardless of who it is.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Francesca, Vancouver, Canada

    I'm sick of "sorry" coming after outrageous statements or actions – IT DOES NOT MAKE IT RIGHT OR EXCUSE THE ORIGINAL STATEMENT. Can you tell me how fast a sergeant or corporal in the army would be court marshaled if he criticized McChrystal to a reporter? FIRE HIM IMMEDIATELY – insubordination is unacceptable in the ranks and in the officer class in any military operation. He is a disgrace to his uniform.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. beanne

    unless you a have been a part of this war or have a loved one there, you really have no business comenting. I am the mother of a 23 y/o Infantry soldier-1010rst Delta Dawgs who is in a very bad area of Afghanistan right now. and a 22 y/o marine. There is no one better equipt or better able to handle this war than McChrystal, nor is there anyone else I would want there as top Dawg. Obama nees to put on his big boy pants and man up. Look at all the critism Bush got and he never made a spetical like this out of his critics. Just goes to show you Obama is NOT the leader people thought he was.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
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