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. Rob Harris

    Don't give in General, we will make you President !!!!!!!!

    June 23, 2010 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
  2. Mr. X

    It took more brains, guts and determination for McCrystal to become a General, than it did for Obama to become President. I think we know who the better man is here.

    June 23, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  3. sue carson

    People wake up! We did not do it right the first time, what makes you think, we will do it now. I applaud the Gen. for saying what we are all thinking. This is another V. war. They are rats that live underground and cowards, for they use children to do their dirty work. So, our boys do not know them apart, and they are on our bases,disguise,waiting to kill our boys. They need to be brought back, and build our military to protect us, citizens or the USA.We are letting the government make a joke out of us. They have destroy our schools, sold our land to outsiders. Everyone is laughing about how stupid the US is. Even the Mexican think we are afraid of them and that comes from the horses mouth.Tell me why , someone in the white house use common sense. Give those that took their companies overseas, one year, to come back. IF REFUSED THEN TAKE THEIR CITIZENSHIP, and let that become their country. Send anyone that does not belong here, back to their country. Stop, making it where a child is born in this country, auto become a citizen. At least, one should be a citizen and paying the same taxes as we do. What if it had been the Times doing the interview? Once, they succeed, taking GOD out of what we stood for. Personally, I say give the man a medal.

    June 23, 2010 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  4. patriot mom

    COURT MARTIAL general stanley mcchrystal!!! EVERYONE in the US ARMED FORCES knows that this would be a must!! McChrystal was fully aware of the consequences of making the statements he made!! Court Martial Gen. Stanley McChrystal!!!!

    June 23, 2010 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  5. patriot mom

    There are many racist comments on here! Who do these people think they are?! COURT MARTIAL GEN. MCCHRYSTAL, it IS the law!!!

    June 23, 2010 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  6. Pretend Hero

    It took the better part of two decades before people actually admitted that politicians deserved a great deal of the blame for the mess in Vietnam. Obama is President. He can choose to not listen to the experts on the ground, but to do so would mean that he alone is shouldering the blame for any failures yet to come.

    Instead of this outrage and denial, perhaps its time to face the fact that while the General should not have aired his issues in public, he may have thought it was the last avenue available to him. A man who did not care would simply have walked away. One who did care would use every option to make sure that the country he serves is protected, even if that means calling out his President in public.

    Instead of being mad, Obama should take a long hard look in the mirror, and at the people around him, and then decide who, exactly, needs to be fired.

    June 23, 2010 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  7. patriot mom

    The US Code of Military Justice states that Gen stanley mcchrystal must face COURT MARTIAL.

    June 23, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Rev.Dr. S.A.Wozencraft

    Karzai's weighing in could force President Obama to fire McChrystal. Can he/we afford to appear to allow another country to dictate our foreign/war policy?

    June 23, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Anton Abeysundera from Sri Lanka

    No one is indispensible, discipline has to be maintained at all cost, McChrstal should be demoted and sent home.

    June 23, 2010 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. MDH

    You liberals are totally clueless. Commanders have been dissing their leaders since war was invented. This whole media firestorm was created to get the pressure off the abysmal failure of the great "0"'s administration in the continuing gulf oil disaster. Leaders lead and have a plan and execute that plan with feedback from the results. The Obama administration is systematically destroying the United States.

    June 23, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Shari

    After just a quick scan ... the most repugnant thing I saw was that McChrystal said he had admiration and respect for Obama. It's a wonder he didn't choke .

    June 23, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Tim

    As a prior service military person, I can see that it would be difficult to have real respect for a 'Commander-in-Chief' that has not a lick of military service time to his credit and probably would not pass some of the qualification requirements of most high security military positions. Amazing that this is allowed.

    June 23, 2010 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dee

    The President did a great job today and there should be no doubt about his leadership skills and abilities. He is the Commander in chief and should be respected as so.

    General McChrystal was wrong and insubordinate and his conduct set a poor example for the military and those under him. The President handled this situation with dignity and respect and congratulated McChrystal on his service to this country.
    This is the type of President that we have. Yet when I read some of your comments you should be ashamed still trashing this President who you will never like because of embedded hatred you have for this him because of the color of his skin and not of his race because his mom was a white woman.

    May God continue to bless the President and his staff because he has endured more than any President and kept his composure but everyone should remember this "There is calm before the Storm" and don't misjudge this man.

    June 23, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Fox News to hire Gen McChystal

    Gen McChrystal will be hired by Fox news......all it takes is someone smearing a democrat regardless if its accurate or not......you are hired, welcome to Fox.

    June 23, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |

    Senior Chief (U.S. Navy Retired) is about the only comment worth reading. THIS IS NOT ABOUT IF OBAMA SHOULD BE PRESIDENT. THIS IS ABOUT INSUBORDIANTION BY A TOP GENERAL. If you want to keep claming every issue this country has is Barraks Obamas fault you really may consider getting a Psychological Evaluation. America search for the facts and quit paying attention to the HATE and MISINFORMATION it will be the downfall of our country.

    June 23, 2010 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
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