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. JR

    Ya Know, if I was Obama I can't imagine what kind of groveling or apology that McChrystal could make that would allow me to believe it was sincere enough to keep, me from firing his insubordinate snotfaced rudeness of his many many comments about everyone NOT under his thumb and behind their backs I might add, yeah he's real outspoken behind your back.

    June 22, 2010 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Turco Liveri

    Politicians should stay out of war matters and maybe we wouldn't be in places like Afghanistan and Iraq for decades. And I can guarantee Gen McChrystal and other soldiers feel the same....I know soldiers that are actually fighting that feel this way...

    June 22, 2010 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Sue

    The truth is not pretty for Obama worshippers..you whiners were also the same group that tore Pres. Bush to pieces and thought nothing of blaming him for everything that occured on earth. Obama is a failure and was never qualified to run this country. Its only going to get worse, as he can't lead.

    June 22, 2010 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jay

    Nice to see all the chickenhawks have come out to bash another soldier.

    June 22, 2010 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. PK

    I Believe the General is saying a lot of things that most of us would like to say to the president. He is not a military person and am personally tired of the white house tantrums that this president thinks he can throw at anyone anytime anywhere. One thing to be thankful for if you are not military BE HAPPY.

    June 22, 2010 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. silkphoenix

    McChrystal , you need to resign! President, you need to accept his resignation. Otherwise, nobody will respect you anymore and all the World leaders will think you are a lame duck! So, please stand up and tell the world who is the boss!

    June 22, 2010 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  7. akje

    I will be proud to buy GEN M a drink when he comes to DC. Anyone have a problem with that can kiss my a$$

    June 22, 2010 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. John Cohn

    Pres. Obama's first duty is to protect the Office of Commander in Chief , not only for himself but for future presidents. President Truman had the courage to insure that Obama had the protection. Obama should do no less. Generals are not immune to, being insubordinate. Obama should not let Mc Chrystal resign; he should fire him. By resigning, McChrystal would be "saving face". But then again, Obama has shown a limpid backbone siince taking office.

    June 22, 2010 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Spring

    NO, General McCrystal should not leave his post at all. He is a well-respected commander doing his best to submit to the political leadership while engaging in a tough war! He is not a robot who will not react to unjust treatment from very visible personalities. What he said will not hurt this country. If everyone who said wrong things gets fired, then there will be nobody working anywhere. This is not a dictatorship country even as som emight wish it were.

    June 22, 2010 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Andrea

    This is clear insubordination and cannot be tolerated in the military, no matter the rank or alleged quality and experience of the general. He should not be given the dignity of resigning, he needs to be fired.

    June 22, 2010 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  11. meinflorida

    Give the general a medal.. biden is an idiot.. Obama isnt much smarter!

    June 22, 2010 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  12. GGD

    He's got to go. If this was an enlisted Soldier blasting his VP, you never would of heard about it in the news. He would of been drawn, quartered and discharged. Also ole' Stan hasn't really done a whole lot since he took over, except attempt to destroy the morale of everyone down range. Replacing him would be in the best intrest of the War on Terrorism. Thanks.

    June 22, 2010 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. canadah

    Let this 4-star get away with it and everyone, privates, corporals, etc., politicians and the like will be name calling like the childish mental midgets that they are.

    June 22, 2010 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. No one in particular

    The part of the article I don't understand is
    "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.
    Why isn't the Combatant General involved with all the planning of the war since he is there and seeing first hand what needs to be accomplished.
    I believe he knew what he was doing and saying because he has taken as much and he can and decided to speak up.

    June 22, 2010 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Check facts

    "We fact-checked it thoroughly." – Quote from article
    Really? While I can't speak for the quotes attributed to GEN McChrystal and his staff, I can speak to part of the career history of the General as I served under him in the mid-1990s. The Rolling Stone article says he was the Regimental Commander of the 3rd Ranger Battalion in 1986. To set those facts straight – he commanded the 2nd Ranger Battalion in 1996 (ten years later than attributed), followed soon after by the entire 75th Ranger Regiment. I do hope, but have little faith, that the rest of the article was more accurate

    June 22, 2010 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
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