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. katie

    Please.....The Prez gets his feeling hurts because somebody who has FAR MORE MILITARY knowledge than he ever thought about disses him? This situation seems similar to the Johnson/Westmooreland relationship that happened in Vietnam. Obama has never served a day in his life. Does he really EXPECT that seasoned soldiers who know what's going on over there are not, at the very least, going to have a few contemptous thoughts about him? Only an egocentric idiot would send for his General and bring him stateside IN THE MIDDLE OF A WAR to come home for .................what? A verbal toungue lashing? A slap on the wrist? Are you kidding me? That's what I'd give one of my tenth-graders. Thank God Obama has a decent group of Military advisors or we'd be in big trouble. Being a "community organizer" just doesn't give you the cred to talk down to a General – even over a STUPID few comments. Ever hear of free speech?

    June 22, 2010 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bobbers

    I'm reminded of General Douglas MacArthur. Who thought he knew better then Truman. A sad comment about a warrior.
    The words Hubris, and Arrogant come to mind. Fire McChrystal ASAP. Strip him of his rank and his
    fat pension. Just like he would do if a foot soldier mouthed off to him in a similar manner. This guy must think he's Patton.
    I don't think America should pay this jerk his full retirement pension from our tax money, having said these disrespectful remarks. McCrystal is a pompous, arrogant jerk. Maybe "creep" is a better word. His remarks are a deal breaker! Can Him !!!

    June 22, 2010 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Walt

      You are an idiot. Every great mililtary man since Alexandar the Great was Pompus and Arrogant. Duh!

      June 22, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • rdg18

      Neither should we pay Nobama when he is kicked out of office in 2 years.

      June 22, 2010 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Walt

    McCrystal is only the tip of the iceberg.
    Finnaly people are begining to see Obama for what he is.
    An intellectual that practically speaking can't slap his ass with both hands.
    He will go down as the the slickest, dirtiest politician to ever hold office.
    He lies daily to the american people and thinks his duping goes unnoticed.
    The "common folk" don't know what is best for them. So he says he's sending 1200 troops to the border and then he dosen't.
    Mexican drug lords have done a land grab in arizona and are now occupying american soil. He is encouraging this behavior by using border security as leverage to get an immigration bill that has amnesty at it's core.
    He won't last much longer....... The Nixon years proved that americans won't be lied to and eventually will figure it out.
    Let's hope his damage can be undone.


    June 22, 2010 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Will Jones

    McChrystal, who covered-up the assassination of Pat Tillman committed by his "black ops" command, was a moron, white trash, punk at West Point, and still is.

    President Obama: Please recall LTC Nathan Sassaman to duty, give him command surrounded by warriors he trusts and known to trust him, and rid of us the poofters like McChrystal and Petraeus brought to us by your predecessor, the 9/11-committing, Closet-Queen-in-Chief George W. Bush.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  5. NCO

    Victory is not achieved by claims of success and winning... Victory is achieved when your enemy claims defeat

    June 22, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  6. burke

    The Senior Commander in a theater of war makes disparaging remarks about his boss to Rolling Stones magazine....hmm. Think about that for a minute idiots while your defending your useless community organizer. If you know anything about the military which I am sure most of you idiots don't, the General had to know that he was killing his military career. Why would he do this? What would be so awful about this administration that would cause him to want to lose his job in this way? Think past your veggie burgers and yogurt and take a look, the emperor has no clothes. November is on the way.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  7. katie


    "drill baby drill" , working great!!!!!..............actually we don't have to go to Alaska. It's in the Gulf! And since nobody here seems to know how to clean it up, let's keep drilling and stay off foreign oil!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 22, 2010 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. IwonderIf

    Hate Obama or love him... doesnt matter.. RESPECT THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES period!

    June 22, 2010 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • rdg18

      I say we hate him and kick him out of office.

      June 22, 2010 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. gvalcik

    I believe Obama's world is starting to fold around him. Im retired military and I think the Generals resignation is the best thing for him. Afterall, the politicians run the wars, not the generals. We seen that with Korea, Viet Nam and now in the middle east. Gen Patton foresaw all of this and is probably rolling over in his grave. So next time we take a terrorist hit, thank your politicians, dont call on Generals like McChrystal.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mel

      Actually, by mocking our President and McChrystal's Commander-in Chief, McChrystal aids and encourages the enemy! It makes them think ALL Americans are weak. That is why most of the top brass want McChrystal gone.

      June 22, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Paulie

    I wonder if the outcome of WWII would be much different if General Patton had not taken over the 8th Army. He opened his mouth too..... Don't let a good General go just because he shot his mouth off....

    June 22, 2010 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mel

      But General Eisenhower cut him down to size and kicked Patton in his fanny! Patton had to humble himself and apologize to the troops under his command!

      June 22, 2010 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Dick Kelbaughj

    This is an unfortunate situation. I am not a supporter of the president, but McCrystal must resign. This is a situation much like the one that forced Douglas McArthur from the Army during Korea. From a military perspective, he is right, as was General McArthur, but he serves in a clearly defined chain of cammand where the President is Commander in Chief.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  12. bill

    This is shades of McArthur. The general was wrong. Our founding fathers where thinking of this when they made the president cammander in chief. McChrystal has to go so that a presendent is never made as to the military being in control of our armed forces

    June 22, 2010 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  13. loader

    Tell me what has Obama fixed?????

    June 22, 2010 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • rdg18

      He's increasing right's for gays and promoting more abortions. What a moral guy from Kenya he is.

      June 22, 2010 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  14. stuart

    Obama is angry? Didn't Hillary release information concerning the government's suit against Arizona to a Hispanic journalist from a foreign nation? Obama is nothing but a baby; and a hypocritical one at that. How much longer must this nation endure this self-serving, self-proclaimed "savior?"

    June 22, 2010 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  15. loader

    The oil is still gushing, people are out of work, what has Obama fixed?

    June 22, 2010 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
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