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. stuart

    Obama the hypocrite. Hillary did the same thing in releasing info about Arizona. Good; I hope he's embarrassed.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Prophet

    McChrystal allowed a reporter from Rolling Stone to spend one month with him and his staff. They freely spoke, even though a reporter was present. Now, its COMMON SENSE and COMMON DECENCY to be respectful of your Commander in Chief during a time of war and ALWAYS. Personally, this whole thing SMELLS! McChrystal will soon be asked to resign, he will then be hired by Faux News as a commentator, he will be made the hero of the GOP/Teapartiers and will likely be nominated to run for president! HAD HIS REMARKS BEEN MADE AGAINST A REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT, THE GOP WOULD WANT HIS HEAD ON A PLATTER! BUT NO........ ITS A-OKAY TO DISRESPECT PRESIDENT OBAMA......... AFTER ALL THE FAR-RIGHT IS THE PARTY OF HATE!

    June 22, 2010 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • rdg18

      All for this reason: liberals are idiots and should all be sent to Greece.

      June 22, 2010 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Grim

    Hooray! Obama got a PR boost.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Rod

    Here are my questions: How would McChrystal discipline a Commander under his own command guilty of addressing himself and his staff, PUBLICLY, as he has addressed the Commander In Chief, the V.P., a retired General, and others in the W.H. Administration? Would McChrystal be lenient after two previous acts of insubordination had been forgiven by himself? Would McChrystal not court marshal his subordinate? Just curious. How would McChrystal handle the situation if he were POTUS? How forgiving would he be? How much respect will he have for the POTUS if President Obama gives McChrystal yet ANOTHER chance? How much respect should the troops serving under him have for McChrystal? The same amount of respect McChrystal has expressed for the POTUS? Can the US Military continue to function effectively and successfully carry out the objectives in Afghanistan when the chain of command has been publicly trashed by a four star General?

    June 22, 2010 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bio-Fuel

    With the assault on Kabul so close and the strong ties Gen. Stanley McChrystal has developed with the Pakistani and Afghan political and military leaders this is a really bad time to fire him. It would likely push out the July 2011 target date to start pulling out of Afghanistan.
    McCrystal has submitted his resignation according to sources at CNN but again this would be a really bad time to accept his resignation, losing the architect of the strategy in Afghanistan right now might increase the US & Afghan military causalities from the Kabul effort.
    On the other hand this significant breach in military protocol must be addressed by the president. President Obama is in a conundrum on this decision.
    I wonder what the chances are that President Obama reads McCrystal the riot act, refuses his resignation and instead shakes up the diplomatic team firing Karl Eikenberry, Jim Jones and Richard Holbrooke.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Meghan

    I just asked myself.... Who would I rather have protecting me... (1) The General (2) B.H. Obama.
    The General wins out by miles.

    Who actually set up this interview & embedded the Rolling Stone Reporter??? Was this Chicago Politics as normal???

    Thank you General for your Service to America & I personally know you are admired by your men and friends.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lucky

      "Thank you General, now don't let the door hit your ass on the way out, NEXT"

      June 22, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ras02

    @ Mary

    Okay....

    none of this makes sense and you sound like a nut. What has Obama done for this country? He never has a plan-he just throws around tax payer dollars and sees what happens,blames Bush, and puts a spin on all of his failures. Health care=taxes. Cap and Trade=taxes. Stimulus=earmarks,inflation. Financial reform=more government power
    Immigration reform=a whole bunch of new Obama supporters!

    June 22, 2010 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. PB

    Sir, IF you get to run for President or VP, I would vote for you in a heart beat! We need leadership at the top that has military background and experience! I know who I would love to see as your running mate - he is very experienced with money and balanced budgets!! You 2 would great for this country!

    June 22, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Lynne D

    I hope when the President meeting with McChrystal, he rips him a new one before he fires him.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bill

    Kick the bum out an put General Honore in his place. Over.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. notawonk

    McChrystal and staff must be relieved immediately.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. sagementor

    McChrystal is like the banks...too big to fail.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Wayne

    Did the General disobey an order? Did he do anything other then disagree with the President and his staff? Last time I checked HALF the country does not agree with the President. Is the President going to fire half the government workers? Has nothing to do with RACE, or PARTY, it's based on the fact that poll after poll shows this President isn’t doing a very good job. He is the guy that when you ask a question, like tell me about a time when YOU failed, he would yap on for an hour and ultimately blame someone else. The General is a Great American, a Patriot thru and thru, who exercised his first amendment right. Obama is the guy you work with that talks a great game, has all kinds of plans, and delivers few results. The results he does deliver turn out to be dividing or disastrous.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rod

      What you are overlooking Wayne–due to your apparent blind hatred of the sitting President–is this act by McCrystal and his staff will impact the relationship between ALL future Presidents OF BOTH PARTIES and the US military, not to mention an example McCrystal is setting for all enlisted personal that rules don’t matter if you dislike your Superior Officer. This is a deadly mistake for all our fighting soldiers, and far more serious than McCrystal being replaced or not! Would you have sat still for the US military Commander in Iraq to have PUBLICLY disparaged President Bush? Somehow I don't think so. I believe you are being blindly partisan and not looking forward to future implications. McCrystal disgraced his uniform and all US Military Service Personnel no matter who is in the WH at this time. The situation with McCrystal is far greater than all the petty partisan garbage I've been reading on this page. I am sick to death of partisan BS taking precedence over what is best for our country. It's not about Obama, or a Democrat or Republican President. It is about the POTUS! Get it through your thick skulls. Whether you like him or not, at this time Barack Obama is the COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF of the Armed Forces. Do you even understand what that means? Clearly you can’t grasp the implications of the CIC being publicly disparaged by an officer serving under his command. Thank God you aren’t in the military. Doubtless you’d be the one to shoot your CO in the back.

      June 22, 2010 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  14. letrfly

    You have to hand it to Obama he took a lot from McCrystal.

    I think Obama understands the importance of a warrior general that's tough as nails even if rough around the edges. McCrystal worries about his men and women in harms way and hates the bureaucracy of stalemate. If you want to loose or have men and women die for a draw or protracted never ending war then get somebody else.

    This feeling of Obama dislike isn't rare in the military. It is not racism. It's a commander and chief with a rough job. This isn't the issue though. McCrystal is a General not a beurocrat. He is however the general for the job.

    I wish they would have had a beer and worked it out like men.

    You put Patton or MacArthur in Afghanistan they would be equally naive talking to the media.. Don't let the media win this one.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Lucky

    To Let him speak
    General Cannon Fodder works for me, If I need someone to do Trig Palin impersonations you would work for me, but since you are too retarded to do anything except worship Glen Beck I won't use any words with too many syllables...looser

    June 22, 2010 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
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