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. Rod

    Some people are born fools. From the looks of this page there are plenty more working pretty hard at it.

    June 22, 2010 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Marshall

    McChrystal is a fool – cut this guy down to PFC and give him a cooks job...perhaps he could do that right.

    June 22, 2010 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. mtw888

    In the first place, how could a field commander mess with media instead of concentrating in his military mission?

    June 22, 2010 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
  4. votingcitizen

    The general has to go. He clearly meant what he said and you cannot run a war with such a clown general in-charge.
    Obama has to examine why he was allowed to continue for so long and why he was allowed to get away questioning the administration last year. Also Obama needs to find out why US taxpayers are paying the Taliban indirectly via contractors why supplies for the way are supplied through Pakistan and by the same people the U.S is fighting. This war is becoming a joke, a way for contractors to get rich and Taliban to continue fighting and recruiting terrorists.

    June 22, 2010 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Todd

    I have served under General McChrystal; he is a great leader, a great man and a great Warrior! Leave the politics in D.C. and let the man do what he does best...fight the enemy in his own back yard and win this war!

    June 22, 2010 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. B

    I would just like for someone at CNN to learn how to pronounce McChrystal's name. They omit the first "c". Kinda like saying I'm going to MaDonalds for a burger.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ken

    A real shame. The man tells it like it is, puts out the truth .. and Obama and his fanatics rush to silence the critic and pressure him to resign. I bet behind closed doors they told him something like "Is it true that insubordinate officers are often demoted in the military prior to being released? Many I bet that hurts their long term future.". IE .. either you cooperate and quit or we'll cut you off at the knees (Chicago Style) which will hurt your pension like you won't believe. It's a real shame every critic that appears is quickly silenced in Obamas administration. So much for being OPEN to the ideas and criticisms of others like he promised in the election. What a JOKE of a president.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
  8. boodsk

    He knew what he was doing..... Face it – he has reached the pinnacle of his career and has the abiluity to "call a spade a spade" if only more of us could do that and not worry about the consequences.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ActiveDutySpouse

    @ 29 Palms -

    Thank you for proving my point! You are the epitome of an Obama supporter, "darling." I enjoyed your rant; quite comical!

    June 22, 2010 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Democrat and Ashamed!

    I'm ashamed to admit I voted for Obama, I wanted change and thought Bush was a bafoon and still do. But this administration has gone too far, so far infact that I'm now going to vote for any Tea Partier I can so we can get back to our roots!

    June 22, 2010 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Lily

    Is It Just Me That Sees This??? His Name Is NOT OBAMA,, Its PRESIDENT OBAMA.... This is the first Black President, and The First To Be DISRESPECTED by being called by his last name only??? Whats Wrong With You People? Wise up News Media...And all you fellow AMERICANS....Did you call the other PRESIDENTS, Bush? Clinton? Reagan? Carter? ETC... I Think Not.. R-E-S-P-E-C-T ! ! !

    June 23, 2010 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
  12. SemperFi

    The decision to fire or keep him should hinge at this point on what is in the best interest of securing victory in Afghanistan. This could not have come at a worse time for it absolutely lends strength to our enemy. They see this division amongst our leadership and it inspires them to fight. This will affect morale amongst our troops and shake the confidence of our military leaders on the ground. While I believe the General acted in very poor judgement, once again, thank you media for helping to stir up division within our government. I'm sure you'll make record profits in this months addition at the expense of more American troops. I hope your sale profits are worth it.

    June 23, 2010 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
  13. Thatguy4

    As I understand it the chain of command is the president to the secretary of defense to the chairman of the joint cheifs of staff and down. As i read the article yet to be produced it makes no mention about the President being an idot just other members of his staff. Like the VP. Well the VP is assistant to the reginal manager. Not the assistant reginal manager. He is not in the chain of command. hence the reason you see pictures up in military buildings you do not see his following the President. As I see it and read it he made no such infraction. Members of congress do not hold military rank.

    June 23, 2010 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
  14. STAN

    Gen. Stanley McChrystal only stated the truth!!!! If this country lets "OBUMBLER" fire him it's a disgarace!!!! TO OBAMA, AND VP. "BITE ME" I HAVE NO RESPECT FOR EITHER OF YOU AND I MADE THE MISTAKE OF VOTING FOR YOUR YOU, OW FIRE ME, OH, THATS RIGHT I'M ALREADY UNEMPLOYED WITH NO BENEFITS...

    June 23, 2010 at 8:03 am | Report abuse |
  15. Firehimquickly

    If McChrystal was so brave in the battle field why would he need to issue an apology to some mere civilians? That is because he knows who his daddy really is... That's Mr. Obama...

    June 23, 2010 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
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