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. marco60

    McChrystal painted Obama into a box by publicly advocating for the current strategy and troop build up (speech given in London). He got almost everything he wanted. He sold us all on the current plan. Now when things don't go his way, he makes an a__ of himself and the country. What has any of this got to do with Obama other than he made the mistake of listening to this guy in the first place. McChrystal seems to think "everyone else" is an idiot. McChrystal's plan is failing, not Obama's. Even Republican's are distancing themselves from this idiot.

    June 22, 2010 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jeff

    Google and Read his BIO, Ol'boy was a ticket puncher those of us in the military knows what that means. So he wears a Special Forces tab yet if you read his bio he only served as a team leader for 13 months not nealy enough time to master the job. His Ranger time with the 75th were all staff jobs no boots on the ground. At JSOC he was a staff. then when he was running it. sounds like he took all the credit for the killing and capture of Saddam and terriost not the warriors that found them and took them out Those are the true quiet professinals. why so he can get promoted. Then he writes up the bogus silver star award for Tillman who did'nt deserve the award, he should of been fired for that. But as all military people know they sweep it under the capet if it is someone in the higher ups.

    June 22, 2010 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Interested party

    Interesting comments in this blog.....some of the usual suspects, but I appreciate the knowledge shared by the active duty in Afghanistan and the veterans who know of the situation. Thank you for sharing the truth amid all the clutter.

    Eveeryone knows that the General should have never allowed this to happen, not sure if the President will put this aside for the good of the situation there, or if he will can the guy.

    What else does this President have to deal with.....absolute financial collapse, 2 wars, catastrophic environmental disaster....how can people say that he has done nothing when he has had to face so much?

    June 22, 2010 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Boscobear

    Too bad President Obama hasn't show the same anger about the Gulf oil spill.

    June 22, 2010 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. abbydelabbey

    It is called insubordination and it requires McChrystal to be demoted and fired!

    June 22, 2010 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. PappyHappy

    Gen McChrystal should offer his resignation to the president. He took an oath “to obey the orders of the President of the United States”. Good, bad or indifferent, once a decision is made, it is the responsibility of uniformed leaders to carry out the decision.
    If the president accepts his resignation, then fine. If he does not accept, then Gen McChrystal should outline his needs, and immediately obtain from the president, precise timelines when troops and equipment will be in country. Further, based on McChrystal' experience, he should ask for rules of engagement that will ENSURE WINNING. If the President refuses, then McChrystal - with respect - should advise the President that he is resigning his post, and will retire effective 1 July 2010.

    June 22, 2010 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  7. M.L. Bates

    I see that this is turning into a far-left vs. far-right thing. Send the far-left idiots, (Pelosi, Reid, etc) and the far-right imbeciles,(Limbaugh, Beck,etc) to a deserted island. Then we can fix ou problems.

    P.S. Respect
    As for being dumb and not qualified to flip burgers: 42% of the military have Associates or higher college degrees.

    June 22, 2010 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  8. 1BigBoy

    McChrystal is a shining example of why civilians run the military. While BIlly Mc whines about his commander in chief he reveals his real concerns when he chaffs at the idea of working for a former suborninate of his some other retired general working for the Obama admin, EGO. I would suggest Billy Mc watch his tongue if he hopes to land one of those soft government jobs he so eloquently cries about in his Rolling Stone interview.

    June 22, 2010 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Denise Hayes

    I am 58 years old and have seen quite a few Presidents come and go. Some I have voted for some I haven't, some I liked some I didn't, but even the President that I liked the least, I still respected because he was the President of the United States. That to me commands respect. That to me, is what America stands for and now we have loss even the respect that has made America's Presidents be repected by all countries. Tell me how other countries are going to respect a President that his own country will not support and respect ? Not til this election has America made me ashamed to be American. I have never seen so much disrespect, hate, hostility, and plain meanfulness as I have toward a President that has recieved nothing but complaints, non support and out of control behavior by people who should be setting examples for our youth but instead are acting more and more like children themselves every day. America has loss control. There is no wonder we are seeing more and more crime and thievery each and every day. Because we teach it to our children everyday. Our Senate and House of Representatives can't get along and our children are just doing and feeling what we are doing and feeling. Reality shows are violent , sports are violent, government is violent church is now violent, police are out of control,celebrities and athletes are out of control, colleges have killers on campuses, the military is beginning to get out of control. We used to be able to teach our kids religion but now you have to fight about everything here in America. We fight about immigrants, we fight about smokers, we fight about gays, about being fat. We fight about abortion. We pass judgment on people that we have no idea of what there purpose in life is about. We blame people for things we are unwilling or worse unable to make suggestions to fix the problems. We are quick to say what we think someone should or shouldn't do without looking at our own lives and fixing that first because let's face it very few of our lives are perfect. Has anyone counted the major major problems that Obama has had to face? No he has not faced 9/11 but other than that he has faced some downright Historic problems in 1 year. Not only has he tackled those major problems but he's done in with a support system that has been anything but supportive . I have never seen so many senators and congressman quit there appointments as I have since Obama became President. I have never seen so many in house altercations as I have since Obama has been in office. Any President that comes to office is as good as his Cabinet, the people that support him. In Obama's case he did not have a chance. Other countries are looking at us learning what "NOT" to do! We are becoming a Joke to other countries because we cannot see the forrest because of the "HATE" Come on people let's get down off of our high horses and support instead of tearing down someone that should be supported by all for reasons that I should not even have to name. What is going on America? It all goes back to one of my favorite sayings, "We're either part of the problem or part of the solution" And from where I stand most of us are not part the the solution. Obama has solved more in one year than Bush did in eight . In my score book that would make HIM part of the solution. Let's try to GROW UP PEOPLE! GIVE OUR CHILDREN A CHANCEto be balanced and wholesome individuals.

    June 22, 2010 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Lyle

    OMG! What a bunch of thin skinned liberal pukes. He called me a bad name so fire him.

    June 22, 2010 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Retired Veteran

    The President should challenge the General to a duel – winner take all......

    June 22, 2010 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. M.L. Bates

    You just proved my point .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

    You use a 2 year old child's disabilty to attack someone else. I have no use for Glen Beck; but I have even less for you.
    I shot better than you in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia,etc. ypu are a true waste of skin

    June 22, 2010 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. leftorright

    What is always so disturbing when reading through these comments is how "Americans" on either side of the political fence can have such polar opposite viewpoints on the same content. Can no one think without bias anymore? Is everyone so radically slanted that they will defend their party no matter what?

    The truth is.... despite the General and his aides inappropriate conduct in regard to this article, we have a military leader who supported this administration and specifically this President that is now clearly disenchanted and makes accusations regarding the competency and character of the very man he voted for. What is a bit unnerving is that these criticisms are coming at the President from many angles these days and it is not only conservatives.

    June 22, 2010 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. chard

    McQrystal = next Fox News show host.

    June 22, 2010 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. chard

    McCrystal = Next fox News "fair and balanced" panelist

    June 22, 2010 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
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