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. currahee

    The fact of the matter is that this Gen is frusterated with all the smoke and mirrors of DC. Obama's not the only one. R's and D's alike... there all about polls. McArther did the same in the Korean War and look what happened. This guy is the right man for the job. You dont become a four star by not being a little egotistical. But the facts speak for themselves... He's getting the job done.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  2. joel

    If it comes down to Obama vs. McCrystal, I have to believe that McCrystal knows what he's doing in Afghanistan while Obama has consistently proven he doesn't have the qualities necessary to be an effective president. Indeed he doesn't have the experience or qualifications to manage his way out of a paper sack. I say keep General McCrystal and get rid of Obama, Biden, Emanuel, Holder, and Gibbs. They're all incompetents.

    You want to compare Bush to Obama: Soldiers respected Bush while they have contempt for Obama.

    June 22, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. joel

    Get rid of Obama, not McCrystal.

    June 22, 2010 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mike

    My view on Gen. Stanley McChrystal is that he will follow on with several other great Generals that history and time has proven right! Let's talk about Patton had we listen the cold war with Russia would have never happened! Had we listen to General MacArthur and completed the job with China Vietnam would have never happened. If we listened to General Swartzkoff and went to Bagdad Iraq 2 would have never happened. History has shown the these people were visionaries in their own time each was correct, is General Stanley McChrystal only the latest visionary. We spend great sums of money and effort training these generals and then we have politicians that have no experience try to second guess them! No wonder that every so often in history one comes along that is frustrated. Look it is simple let the experts in war run the war, not some no nothing politician.

    In closing, we send them out to fight for our freedoms and rights! Yet we take those very freedom and rights away from our armed services in article 88. When politicians and policy tie the hands of our Generals it is just crazy! Let's be real hear yes it is the presidents decision and correctly so to go war, once the decision is made let the trained people handle the war, don’t second guess them! So will we still be fighting the terrorist for the next 50 years because some politicians got their feelings hurt, if the shoe fits wear it and shut up!

    Mike –

    June 22, 2010 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bring In Donald

    I hope Obama brings in Donald Trump to do his signature: "You're Fired"

    Even if he not let go I guarantee the desk job, power, and influence will be stripped immediately. They may keep him around but I gurantee he is going to hate every minute.

    If you did this to your boss...in a NATIONAL publication...yea....you guys supporting insubordination are idiots of the largest kind. That does not fly even if you do not like the people that were being attacked. You can't do it....you can disagree....usually BEHIND CLOSED doors but you can not ridicule your boss, or the President of the United States IF THAT IS YOUR BOSS in Rolling Stones.

    Idiot- Now I know why Obama disagrees with this man so often. BTW...who is the arrogant one for all you guys supporting the General. Obama is arrogant so we dislike him, however this guy is arrogant and we like him....DER DER DER..Take a ride on the short bus. You know you have screwed up royally when the Right Wing politicians say, "he messed up pretty bad" and actually support Obama. Hey look on the bright side...this is the first time in 2 years I have heard a single Republican offer any type of support not matter how small for Obama...funny aint it. All you "patriots" and Palin lovers have ruined the highest office in our land by constantly not just disagreeing with our President but spewing hate and anger. Patriots??? LOL

    June 22, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. JH

    Who gives a damn what he said!!!! And I guess all that disagree with him fine, but does anyone bad mouthing this guy remember Freedom of Speech??? And as if none here has ever bad mouthed another..give me a break..Just one person exersizing his right's..oh and by the way that General deserves to say what ever he likes,,he did fight for that right..what has Obama done in the military??? Nothing. He was a little Senator from Illinois..Grow Up people and use your brains....

    June 22, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. MH

    I remember reading about the Lincoln administration and how he surrounded himself with his toughest critics in the cabinet, because he did not want a bunch of yes men, but people who would show him the faults of his thinking if there were any. Of course, he never wavered in his determination that the Emancipation Proclamation be carried out, and slashed heads right and left for those who did not believe in the goal of ultimate victory over the South without reinstatement of slavery. Public opinion and Separatist sympathies were all against him. I wonder if there will ever be another President like him.

    June 22, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. oda155

    Wow... so many English Majors out here today...

    June 22, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. John Goins

    It doesn't matter if you're the commanding general in the Korean War or the commanding general in Afghanistan, insubordination cannot be tolerated by the commander in chief. Since Vietnam, we have seen generals claiming they were winning but just couldn't get enough troops or weapons or armor or whatever. According to Westmoreland, and now MacChrystal, it's always someone else's incompetence. The one big exception was Stormin' Norman and General Powell. They insisted on a well defined mission objective, and developed a coherent strategy for achieving it. Then, they executed the mission as planned. It's tough in Afghanistan, but who's responsible if we fail?

    June 22, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. mary

    Read the article in Rollingstone. The General is and always has been a brat (son of a General), who challenged or more accurately broke the rules...even at West Point...for drinking, etc. If he were in any other job, he would be fired. In this case he SHOULD be fired! Our country and our military personnel are at stake. He blew it. His past has caught up with him. Finally, maybe there will be justice.

    June 22, 2010 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ActiveDutySpouse

    @ Snow -

    Soldier, you seem confused. Bush wasn't on the ballot. Difficult to follow current events? You represent Obama followers well with pointing fingers and playing the blame game. Thank you for your service though; gravel agitators are always needed.

    June 22, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  12. B4 Justice

    Another General [ Stanley McChrystal ] “Covering his Flank”..!!!

    Afghanistan and Iraq are wars. Conceived by a Powerful group of men in Washington DC, this includes the President of the United States (Mr. G. Bush). These men had a believable Flunky in Colin Powell. Who personally went before the United Nation and deceive the rest of the world with doctored photos of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) to justify these wars.

    Yet..!! Not a single one of these men have been brought before any kind justice or tribunal.
    Yet..!! Have not been held accountable for these heinous crimes and lies.
    Yet..!! There exist without question or a shadow of doubt the proof and exposure. That falsified information and falsified or misleading photos were presented to the rest of the world as evidence to invade an Oil producing Islamic Country..!!
    But, Nine Years later we are still having our young men die for a cause conceived of and based on these lies and deception…

    The whole world now hates America as a result of the lies and falsification perpetuated by trusted and powerful men from Washington DC… and rightly so..!!! They should hate American. These other countries have committed their young men to these dangerous wars and placed their young men and women in to the line of fire. Based on this false premise of WMD…

    Understand this… Any war against a people (Islam), who have, for millennium hated and killed and persecuted any and all religions, that are not, of Islamic / Muslim origin in their own countries will always be considered by them as an act of Crusade and / or an invasion.

    A religion that in the 21st century still…!!.. Practices archaic laws and rules that give them the legal right to executes, flog or incarcerates any person who dares to defy their Islamic faith or values or by simple accusations of blasphemy, i.e. Drawing a cartoon of Mohamed... Theirs is a world of religion over the state or kingdom. Thiers is a world of no separation of the 2 (Religion/State). As such, To Islamic countries like Afghanistan and Iraq this is just another Crusade and / or an invasion.

    VP Biden, who opposed McChrystal's troop surge recommendation last year and instead, urged a more focused emphasis on counter-terrorism operations. “Is Absolutely Correct”…

    Our President has a very simple choice. Request McChrystal’s resignation as and Officer representing this Great Country. McChrystal is just another Gun-ho moron who as the support of a very dangerous clan and it’s powerful Warlord [Hamid Karzai] in Afghanistan…!!!!

    We need to continue our concentration and our efforts in capturing these evil Islamic men and Clerics who use innocent and naive young boys and girls as walking bombs and disable evil Islamic men and Clerics their abilities to use innocent and naive young boys and girls as walking bombs anywhere around the World…!!! They ( Islamic men and Clerics ) are a menace to all countries in the World. Even, if the world hates America for our leader’s (G.W. Bush) deceptions. Please, always remember and never forget this fact..!! This has always been and shall be historically…!!! Bush’s (& Cronies’) War…!!!

    June 22, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. R U 12

    R U Guyz really this lame?

    A General, who is now openly apologizing, does a very stupid thing and the main debate is grammar? If any of you are over 18 you need to grow up.

    Republicans even know this was a breach of trust of the highest magnitude. Like him, hate him, or love him Obama IS OUR President. And he certainly is this man's boss!! All this General has done by blasting Obama, his team, and his decisions in a music magazine is to make the enemy stronger. That is the most disappointing aspect of this entire issue and why even Republicans realize this was a major "NO NO"!!! Do not let your hatred blind you like the idiots you see on television to make a quick buck off the gullible by using fear, paranoia, and hate at every turn. This General screwed up and if you do not see that you need your head examined. AFTERALL HE IS APOLOGIZING IDIOTS!!!

    June 22, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Hilarious

    Even when someone openly apologizes for their mistakes, right wing nutjobs hellbent on hate and taking the reigns from their icons Rush, Palin, and Beck will still make excuses. HE IS APOLOGIZING. There is no defense. Jeesh....Brainwashed!! Scary!!

    June 22, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Max

    Bye Bye Beater.

    June 22, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
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