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. M.L. Bates


    What kind of lowlife are you? Bringing a child into the discussion and making fun of him, did mommy and daddy not wet nurse you long enough? There is a special place in hell for you ! BTW I am no Palin fan, but chidren should be off limits

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

      M.L. Bates does that stand for Master Bates? This is a forum for adults, go pee in your diaper and come back after a time out. Are you afraid Trig will read this and get upset...jerk

      June 22, 2010 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jerry stewart

    The last General that was called before the president was fired. That was during the Korean Conflict.

    June 22, 2010 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
  3. chris

    O.K., Does anyone remeber when Harry Reid Said THE WAR WAS LOST in Iraq on the floor of the Senate?. Our troops were still on the ground. Does anyone remeber the retired Generals on the talk show circuit, bashing Bush? But more important, what if what he said is true? Not... should he have said it... that's a no brainer.... but what if it's true?

    June 22, 2010 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
  4. JIm

    Send him to some dangerous backwater country such as er, Afghanistan.

    June 22, 2010 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  5. सिद्धार्थ गौतम

    “Knowing others is wisdom; Knowing the self is enlightenment; Mastering others requires force; Mastering the self needs strength”

    June 22, 2010 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Marines

    This kind of mocking banter is abundant in the military. As enlisted or lower ranking personnel we learn to do it amongst our selves. Sit in on a Generals meeting and then sit in on a Sergeants pow-wow and you'll find the demeanor is VERY similar. The major difference? Fear. As stated before, being lower on the totem pole, you know that kind of insubordination is not tolerated in the least and you can kiss your career good-bye over some ridiculous comment that you let slip from your mouth. Reach the top and forget those rules haven't changed since you started the clime and you wind up with this. You are accountable for just as much as any private. Burn him at the stake. You think he hasn't done the same to anyone else?

    June 22, 2010 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
  7. floridas_boy

    Why should a career officer of more than 30 years resign for speaking his mind over a "2 of 4" year elected civilian. Taking vows to the people and country of the United States outweigh personal opinions of an article, especially Rolling Stone. Read his bio on wikipedia recognize!

    June 22, 2010 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jeff

    It's about time a 4 star falls on his sword to get the truth out. The rules of engagement over there are worse then Vietnam. If they shoot at you then drop their weapons you cant do anything, They can't use fire support (arty and air support) they have to get permission to do a raid (so who ever they ask can tip off the enemy) can't do raids at night (so you lose the element of surprise) and oboma only gives him half of the troops he needs to complete the mission. People we are at war and you don't half ass it thats how people get killed. You let the generals fight the war and give them what they need to win it fast. You tie the hands behine their back and then let CNN tell the whole world know what we plan on doing so the enemy can leave and hide then guess what you won't win. obama is a lawyer who has no idea what combat leadership is and has no idea how to fight a war. He won't even admit that we are in a war on terrorism Biden is a life time politic (hes words) . I garentee McChrystal is respected more now because of this. The reporter will write a book about this and make tons of money. and oboma will accept his resign and put a gag out on him so the truth won't come out untill after Nov. I hope McChrystal spills the beans and tells the truth about whats going on over there so the American people will know the truth.

    June 22, 2010 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Marc

    I was in Iraq under General Casey, a do-nothing General who did not change policy even when casualties were mounting. McChrystal is of the same ilk. He was given a great opportunity by Obama to implement real change, he failed, and he is passing the blame off on the President. General Casey did the same thing. It will take Gen Petraeus to find a suitable creative general who will change the course of the war. The firing of McChrystal (and he deserves a big public firing) will be a good change.

    June 22, 2010 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Joe in NY

    Let the President deal with this issue as other Presidents' had to deal with disagreements within the military in years past. This is an example of our awesome "checks and balance" system in America. The bottom line, the President is the "boss" and he will deal with the situation as he finds it necessary. Gen. McChrystal knows this as do all military commanders. In our Republic, the military does NOT have the final word!!!!

    June 22, 2010 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Andy

    I wish Mr. McChrystal well, whatever comes out of the latest snafu.

    June 22, 2010 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Respect

    god bless our military, even if they are as dumb as SH!T and aren't qualified to flip burgers.

    June 22, 2010 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Apples and Pigeons

    You know it is kind of like when it rains really hard and their is a chance of a flash flood. Those can strike anytime and really cause a lot of damage. Similar to damage this General is causing. But "tomatos always grow to the north" just like my grandmother used to say. Now there is a death panel waiting her days and two ribbons that they could never use properly. It is just sad that this General is in this situation. I think it will probably blow over hopefully not like a F5 deadly tornado.

    June 22, 2010 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Roger

    Yes ... General McChrystal made a mistake and is prepared to accept consequences. The TRUTH may be ugly and difficult to accept, he had the courage to speak his mind. Washington politicians are quick to dismiss their blundering, wavering support of the WARRIORS doing the fighting.

    I too believe the General, and wish him well.

    June 22, 2010 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Umm

    You know it is kind of like when it rains really hard and their is a chance of a flash flood. Those can strike anytime and really cause a lot of damage. Similar to damage this General is causing. But "tomatos always grow to the north" just like my grandmother used to say. Now there is a death panel waiting her days and two ribbons that they could never use properly. It is just sad that this General is in this situation. I think it will probably blow over hopefully not like a F5 deadly tornado. But there are always two sides to a story and you can't always get an accurate description of each feather from just one or two birds. REMEMBER THAT!! Birds of a feather.....RIGHT!?!?!?! Post a follow up if you agree and let us take back this country.

    June 22, 2010 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
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