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. Robert

    Obama is such a bungling fool, how could he demand respect? He is an incompetent leader put in office by liberal guilt and a black racist vote.

    No we cannot wait until 2012. He must be removed now by any means necessary, coup or revolt. It is time to rip the cancer of liberalism from the body politic and the affirmative action candidate who was handed the office because of the color of his skin.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Article 88 UCMJ

    The General clearly violated article 88 of the UCMJ! He know's first hand that commissioned officers are prohibited from this type of behavior. First, bring him up on charges.....take a little money. Finally, he needs to resign. What kind of message are you sending to those that serve under you? Shame on you general!!

    Respectfully a United States Airman

    June 22, 2010 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  3. mark

    he should tender his resignation and then tell the administration to kiss his ass.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mel

      The think the top brass and the Obama Administration is more likely to kick his ass rather than kiss it!!

      June 22, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  4. wyatt

    Lets face it, Obama just does not inspire respect. No one is impressed with his leadship abilites. The real downside to this is the blow to a war Obama already seems to be losing in afghanistan.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mel

      Obama has a great deal of respect all over the world. Even the critical Germans have a 90% approval rating for Obama. Polls all over Europe have similar high ratings. The only people who do not respect our President are members of the American right wing, and some of the Arab countries do not like him either.

      June 22, 2010 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. MC

    jIM?

    W was a leader/ who or more specificall what was he leading he never mande any of his own decisions he let Rove, Rumsfeld and Cheney do whatever they wnated and they thru him out there as the puppet. Read a hiistory book from time to time

    June 22, 2010 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Kenneth Collins

    The General exercised poor judgement. He was insubordiate and his removal should be quick. We do not need such a distraction at a time when we are fighting a war. The troops need to have a focus and not a distraction like what we are having right now. You may not agree with him but we ALL should respect his position as President and Commander-N-Chief. As long as Limbaugh and his croonies continue to disrect his office what else can you expect from folks who believe in what they are doing.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ron

    Just heard a report that the General has resigned. Now he is free to say how he feels about this idiotic and even dangerous administration, from the White House on down. A good soldier was necessarily sacrificed (I agree he had to go.) Now maybe he will get into politics and share his pro-American patriotic ideas counter to this seemingly anti-American administration.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Rock DeAugustine

    Most of these commentsand quotes in the article were by civilian aides...

    June 22, 2010 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  9. decredico

    Fire this fool.

    If a similar epsiode happened during a Rightwing administration, the right would make this guy the next Eddie Slovak.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  10. BaltimoreJoe

    I'm glad he resigned. Now he will be free to tell us how the WH has killed soldiers with their new engagement policy and the switch to communicating to the world 2 months beforehand that you will be ramping up against a specific area. Only one reason to tell the bad guys where you are going to attack them...and that's to give them time to leave.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Ben

    SM will likely get off with nothing more than the embarassment he will have sufffered and having been forced to resign. The unpleasant truth is that most of his comments reflect the reality on the group as does his strategy. The sad part is that he is a great modern general who was probably the best person for the job, unfortunately, a big PR mistake and the appropriate consequences which have followed will keep him from being able to finish the job.

    Its an unfortunate reality and reminder of the times but every soldier needs to be as conscious of the intent and message of their mission as their are with the objective and their orders to carry it out. This means a smarter breed of soldier, who has to be just as tough, and the acceptance by soldiers and the public that civilian vs. military casualties is something that is a sliding, inversely proportionate, scale when dealing with counter insurgencies.

    The greatest shame about this scandal is that this is exactly the level of access and transparency the american people deserve and quite honestly require in order to make effective decisions about their leadership. In truth, a reform of the entire enviroment that led to this situation is required. A presidential administration and its tob general in an active war need to be on the same page, not just paying lip service to earch other. Personally; I believe it is the job of an administration, and in fact the government as a whole, to select a general who is advocating a strategy they agree with and them stand back and allow them to be the focal point of the strategy and require that they be transparent to media but that the administration will support them regardless.

    The single largest issue that led to this outcome is the simple fact that the administration and its general did not agree and did not want the public to know that they disagreed, this is a fundementally flawed situation, almost as flawed as believing that the public is too immature or reactionary to be privy to the real strategy because they can't stomach the reality of what needs to be done or how it needs to be done? (i.e. at what point is a soldier justified in shooting an innocent civilian because they were doing something that seemed legitimately threating but was misunderstood, etc...)

    The problem is that war is inherrently nasty, the video of the helicopters shooting the reuter's journalists in iraq is a perfect example; it was a mistake, but when you are in a combat situation you have to make decisions based on the facts available, sometimes those facts are wrong and its not anyone's "fault" but people die, the military believes that the public can't stomach these facts (and in many cases, rightfully so), unfortunately; keeping these things secret only increases the distrust of the military, leads to situations where the "narrative" becomes disconnected from the strategy and the leaders get caught dancing inbetween.....

    June 22, 2010 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. rdg18

    You can always tell when the forum is filled with liberals, all they do is correct everyone's spelling. They can't balance a budget, run a government or be moral but they can spell. I'm sure Greece is populated with great spellers.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Kim

    What I want to know is what idiot granted an interview with our commander to Rolling Stone. Of all magazines to allow access! But what McC said is the truth, whether Obama likes to hear it or not.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ras02

    I love the playing of the race card all the time! It's funny-the people who do that, never use facts. They just approach Obama's rising dissaproval the same way they approach everything in life – by blaming it on racists. They are supporting Obama in the same war they were protesting Bush for.

    Obama has failed more in his half of a term than Bush did in two. He has quadrupled the national debt but where are the jobs?? He's a one term president.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jeffrey, an E-7 member of the military

    I would follow this man through hell.
    He can speak truth to power AND BE HEARD.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Walt

      It's time someone sheds some light!
      It's the politicians that get people killed needlessly.
      Carry on.

      June 22, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
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