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. mimi

    Is it possible that McCrystal wants to be fired- there is a no win situation in Afganistan and he knows it- he wants out of a No Win situation- very smart, he can make money now.

    June 22, 2010 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Chris

    What I find most disturbing about this story is that the soldier's who give us the freedom we hold in such high regard are actually given less rights than their fellow Americans. I was a soldier for 5 years and I can assure you this is the case. This story affirms this as well.

    So what if the guy has a low opinion of politicians? So what if the guy has a low opinion of other military personnel working in political office? As long as he does his job to the best of his ability I don't see the issue. If you think this guy and his staff are any different than other military officers, you'd be sadly mistaken. They simply made the mistake of voicing their opinions to a journalist.

    June 22, 2010 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. lance corporal

    arrogance breeds problems, and one of our strengths as a nation is we are one where the military is CLEARLY controlled by the civilian government, insubordination on this level from a staff officer BELOW mcchrystal would lead to art 15 or court marshall and certainly to removal from staff, there is simply no way this rigid man would accept that exact sort of behavior from an officer on his staff, he should be fired and with prejudice, IT IS WHAT HE WOULD DO I guarantee that! when I was in the marines I saw on several occasions officers transferred and demoted for not maintaining authority from the men below them or to the men above them

    June 22, 2010 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Get off his back

    Its been over a year and people are still blaming Bush for everything.. you people are a joke. If this was Bush and the BP incident wasnt fixed you would be criticizing his leadership but for some reason no one is questioning what Obama is doing. Ive seen more quotes from Obama about where he thinks LeBron James will end up going or who is going to win the NCAA championship. Hey maybe next election we should just let a bunch of college interns run the country they have as much experience at it.

    June 22, 2010 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Deployed Soldier

    It's pathetic how all of you are so worried about the political fallout of this. When really the only people it is affecting are guys like me. Get over yourselves, the fighting troops need a commander that will conclude this war successfully. Replacing Generals several times will not get us home any quicker. While you people squabble soldiers die everyday.

    June 22, 2010 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  6. IdahoKat

    I don't care how good a job this man has done or how 'honorable' he has been in the service of this country.. You do not EVER publicly criticize, for all the world to hear and see, one's own commanding officer! This is not the way high-ranking military officials should behave.. We, as the most powerful country in the world, have enough enemies as it is, without stupid and inane remarks being made about our government and our President..

    The only exception I would ever make in this regard is anything negative being said about the two biggest crooks to ever step foot in the White House, that being George W.Bush and Dick Cheney.. I believe, without a doubt, these two war mongers and their bed-mate, Haliburton Industries, instigated the Iraq war, not because they believed there was any real threat to the U.S., but to line their own endless pockets with gold! The blood of the many American men and women who died because of this ludicrous and unnecessary war will, someday, be laid to rest right at the feet of these two individuals.. Mark my words.. All the problems that America is facing right now, starting with the economy, can be brought right home to roost on these two robber barons.. And, thought it's impossible to go into all the damage that Bush and Cheney have managed to do in the space of 8 years, most of us will continue to feel the effects for decades, if not longer..

    I hope the two of them and all their cronies burn in whatever hell there is when they die, but meanwhile it makes me sick we have to continue to pay them an outrageous and unneeded salary for the rest of their miserable lives while millions of Americans go hungry and get booted out of their homes because they can no longer afford to pay for them!

    I don't expect President Obama or, for that matter, the next half dozen presidents will be able to undo all the damage that's been done because of these two evil men and I doubt if I'll be around to see it, but all one can do is hope the next generation can fix things.. One thing is certain, there has never been and probably never will be again, (I hope to God), two more devious, colder and ruthless people to inhabit the highest position in our country.. Someday it will all come out, it always does in the end..

    June 22, 2010 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jack - Albany, NY

    No one man is indispensable. His comments demean the rank of General Officer. He should resign or be fired.

    June 22, 2010 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Donald in CA

    Not firing McCrystal would be the worst mistake of Obama's first two years. The military i served in we were taught the Chain is the Chain is the Chain of command. We were taught that in boot camp. Some commentators are saying this general is the only one who can carry out the mission. If thats the truth, which i seriously doubt, then this is not the military i served in. There is always another soldier to replace a soldier when he goes down. Thats the military i was in.

    June 22, 2010 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. M.L. Bates

    I applaud Gen. McChrystal for his honesty. I have been deployed four times to Iraq and Afghanistan, returned and retired in April after 23 years. These clowns in this administration have no clue, they send the "experts" who have the brain power of an insect. All of my privates could understand the concept, but the White House "experts" could not get it.
    Contrary to what some of you internet generals want to believe the military does not prevent you from expressing your opinion. Insubordination involves disobeying an order, or usurping the authority of civilian command. Telling the truth just embarassed some of them. If the White house wants to come and try to strong arm an apology from me I will gladly give them directions to my house or will meet them in Washington. Hard to believe Gen. McChrystal voted for Obama.

    June 22, 2010 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ted

    Please tell the president that the truth hurts......The general is the smart one,not the president or Joe B...I hope McCrystal runs for President....

    June 22, 2010 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  11. robert mcdonald

    If any one needs to resign its Mr. Obama who really is not even the president . why don't you show your birth certificate? How dare you take someone with distingushing service and force him to resign. I would rater have the General with superior knowledge than some airhead who thinks he is a basketball star. really he is a basket case star.

    To bad so sad glad we have a November Election comming up. Oh yea Obama did you fix the oil problem put it on the shelf with your crappy health care

    June 22, 2010 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Proper English

    This was in response to Umm/

    June 22, 2010 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Linda

    As a wife of a deceased military man, this general was out of line, period. He knew that President Obama was an African-American president and if he had a problem with it, then he should have retired.He does not take orders from the president. There is so much hate and racism out there I guess he forgot that in a uniform, you can't get away with such.I would love to be a fly on the wall tomorrow when he is in the president's meeting. Mayebe the president will go rogue. (Ha, Ha).

    June 22, 2010 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  14. infonomics

    Give people the right to freedom of speech, then damn them for using it.

    June 22, 2010 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dave

    The Gen should walk into the oval office ,Say I ment what I said, I am running a war, do not call me here again unless its important and walk out.

    June 22, 2010 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
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