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. jason

    Having been in the military, the bottom line is that regardless of McChrystal's rank, the president and his staff are his superiors. He has shown continual blatant disregard for his superiors. If he was a Lance Corporal he would be punished. Yet, this is a world-wide sign of dis-respect to the highest level! His ego has gotten the best of him. He deserves some type of reprimand. If I was in charge, he would be demoted and re-assigned.

    June 22, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Michael Gonzales

    illegal Immigrants running rampant accross the border...Obama Ignores it. Oil gushing from a well ....Obama ignores it for months. A Top Army General tarnishes the presidents image! Stop the presses! Off with his head!

    June 22, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ed

    General McCrystal clearly spoke in frustration over having to work with an Administration that doesn't have a clue about the conflict in Afghanistan and their "political" decision to pull out in 2011. I know him to be a very savvy General officer, but everyone has their frustration limits!

    June 22, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. lede3957

    Decline his resignation, then immediately FIRE him. The General has cancer, perhaps the cancer has metastasized to his brain...what a stupid thing he did.

    June 22, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. 1st Republic 14th Star

    Obama should have fired McCrystal instantly once this story came out. By resigning, McCrystal can claim he took the only option available to him as a matter of conscience because he disagreed with the President. If Obama had fired him instantly, it would put him on the moral high ground by allowing him to say he was asserting the principle of civilian control of the military.

    June 22, 2010 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Joe DJ

    Mr. Obama, you need to end this war as the mission is now to prop up a failed state, a corrupt Karzai administration, and bring the troops home NOW and not in 2011. Our mission to get Al Queda is no longer valid as Al Queda is operating in Pakistan. Everyone knows this.

    June 22, 2010 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Laverne

    I am so glad he resigned! He has showed no respect for the commander in chief from the very beginning, we are already fighting the enemy without having an enemy in our own camp. He has been trying to undermine President Obama all the long. He is getting what he deserves!

    June 22, 2010 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Black Prince

    Those demanding the general's firing had better PRAY Obama is smarter tha that BECAUSE if the democrats are dumb enough to do it, I'm betting the general will then TELL US on every Sunday morning news program and all of the night talk TV shows what he really thinks about the Obama administration jand he'll wait to do it just before the fall elections. He'll tell Americans that they are in danger of losing their freedoms and that their young men and women in the military are being wasted in a pointless war with no real plan for victory.

    Most of us with half a brain know the democrats hate and despise the American military and anyone who is self sufficient and takes responsibility for themselves. If they sack the general, it will cost them BIG TIME and the general is calling them out on this. His appology is there to give cover to his staff. HE DOESN'T CARE because he is a man who would gladly die for this nation, so a lousy job is nothing to give up for the truth to be told about those now in Washington and the damage they are doing to this nation. And of course, then there will be the book which will be published right before the 2012 elections and he will be interviewed and the book reviewed all ofer TV again. He will be a double whammy against the democrats if indeed, he doesn't run against Obama in 2012 and OH GOD, PLEASE GIVE US THAT OPPORTUINTY!!!!

    Go ahead. Fire him. I dare you. Then bend over and kiss your butts goodbye!

    June 22, 2010 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. billy

    Not a fan of the President, but the military I was in would not tolerate insubordination of any superior.

    June 22, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. CATom

    This is out and out racism at its worst. Errrr.....wait.....what?

    June 22, 2010 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Pete

    Great, now we are losing a man far more intelligible than our president on the current situation in Afghanistan all because some people can't take criticism.

    June 22, 2010 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mel

      It was the top brass that wanted McChrystal to be fired a long time ago, but Obama actually defended McChrystal and beleieved he was the man to get the job done. McChrystal repaid Obama by showing him and all the top people advising Obama disrespect. McChrystal would not tolerate this tyhpe of disrespect from any of his subordinates!

      June 22, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Quit Trying Folks

    People are consantly trying to rationalize with uneducated morons. Let the "crazies" stay crazy and move on with your life.

    You are dealing with this mentality:

    "Who calls a shot like that? Who makes a decision like that? It's a disturbing trend." –Sarah Palin, pushing a conspiracy theory that "In God We Trust" had been moved to the edge of coins by the Obama administration (the change was made by the Bush administration in 2007 and was later reversed by Congress, before Obama took office), West Allis, Wisconsin, Nov. 6, 2009

    June 22, 2010 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Brian

    This is what happens when our Army allows Officers to think they are better than everyone else. This is extremely common misguided thinking, and to participate in an interview in this manner is just idiotic. He should retire and take his staff with him.

    June 22, 2010 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  14. gussieone

    Methinks we're one big step closer to peace.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. CATom

    Ok first off no one talks bad about an elitest. BIdens feelings are hurt and since he is a "special" vice-president obama fired the most effective general because he hurt "special" joe's feelings.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
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