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. Colusakid

    He has to go.

    June 22, 2010 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  2. Frank

    The General is spot on. Liberals in charge is the US military is never a good thing.

    June 22, 2010 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
  3. tom

    he should be history

    June 22, 2010 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  4. Ed

    Picture this-President Obama firing the General for telling the truth (when you tell the real truth you should expect to get fired if your a General), when he is an complete incompetent with absolutely no executive/decision making experience. We hired a President who's primary goal is reelection and that is what you get. Obama essentally thinks he knows all and in fact it is a fantasy, the yes men around him will not tell him he has no cloths.

    June 22, 2010 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
    • jimmy

      Ed...I'm not sure where you get off saying that Obama's primary objective is getting re-elected...he's taken on some tough problems that administrations have been avoiding for decades...health care, financial regulation, environmental policies, gay rights...these are all considered the third-rail of politics. But I'll fault him if he doesn't show some courage and fire an insubordinate general

      June 22, 2010 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
    • John C

      Ed is not living in reality. he is in fox news land.

      June 22, 2010 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kardiac

      You ARE the idiot. It's You ARE. Not "YOUR" Look it up.

      June 22, 2010 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kardiac

      @jimmy....+1 that's the best post to date on here

      June 22, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Veteran

    While I agree, a military officer should not publicly criticize their superiors, it seems to be lost on everyone how frustrating it is to operate under inept leadership. The situation speaks for itself when it has gotten so bad, that generals can no longer maintain their silence.

    June 22, 2010 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Appreciate your service, but by no means does your service mean you have a clue about world affairs, John. Inept leadership got us into Iraq and Afghanistan at the same time anc aused the deaths of thousands of our young people. Point us to your complaints about that online, or else you are just a right wing smear merchant, which is not uncommon these days in America...sadly.

      June 22, 2010 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • marco60

      Leadership?? Obama bought McChrystal's Afghan "plan" hook, line and sinker. now the President has to wear McChrystal's failure. McChrystal is a rat trying to pin his own failure on Obama.

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

    McCrystal wanted more troops and he was given 30,000. Obama did not just send these troops he considered it and decided it was necessary to win this war, now McCrystal realizes he is fighting a war he can NOT win so he needs to blame someone," it certanily is not my fault". This is a war that can NOT be won and it was NOT Obama that put us in it. Bring the troops home and have them protect our home soil and get on with life.

    June 22, 2010 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  7. Sofrito

    He's a redneck bigot who was Bush and Cheney's lapdog. Of course he didn't "connect" with the current president. Fire him. If we fail in Afghanistan it's on him - he's in charge and he's spending his time dissing his commander-in-chief and anything else that moves.


    June 22, 2010 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
    • hanging on

      I also believe that it has become so common to voice your opinion on everything that the president does (ESPECIALLY this president) that the Gen just forgot where he was (probably had too many drinks in the hotel , stupid ... thought his off color remards would be edited )or thinks " everybody thinks like me, so I am not saying anything the everyone else is not thinking"... but guess what.. he apparently forgot who he worked for ... he better hope they don't find a way to courtmarshall him...

      June 22, 2010 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Lpais

    If General McChrystal worked for Donald Trump, the words "You are Fired" would be ringing in his ears about now
    What was he thinking? No wonder we are having a hard time winning the war.This is an act of insubordination.
    The President needs to replace this Bozo and some of his cronies.

    June 22, 2010 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  9. jimmy

    During WWII, Patton was sidelined due to his proclivities for independent thinking and media grandstanding. During Korea, MacArthur suffered the same fate. Generals tend to forget that the buck doesn't stop with them and that they are just another link in the chain of command. If a subordinate of the general's were to criticize him in the media, that would be the end of him/her. When a top general criticizes civilian leadership it has global ramifications and affects the confidence of our allies in us. The administration needs to get some backbone and remove him. I don't believe there aren't others capable (and more respectful) of doing this job.

    June 22, 2010 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Mel

      Exactly right. McChrystal has made fun of top military advisers of the President, including General Jones (Marine Corp.), Secretary of Defense Gates, etc. McChrystal's behavior actually encourages the enemy and causes are allies to lose respect for us.

      June 22, 2010 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. hasc

    How many of us have not rolled our eyes and made a snarky remark when our boss has said something absurd? I recall Gen Dugan, USAF, being fired just before the Operation Desert Storm because he spoke "candidly" to the press. I fully support General McChrystal and I hope the President has the good sense not to fire a top commander at a time like this.

    June 22, 2010 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  11. Mike

    My father – 1942 graduate of West Point always said, OFFICERS especially General officers are hired to exercise good judgement. McCrystal has admitted it himself – it was poor judgement. Patton, McArthur they too exercised poor judgement in the end....... Power corrupts – absolute power corrupts absolutely. Too bad Stanley – time to retire.

    June 22, 2010 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Lpais

      Well said Mike!! Could not have articulated it better myself.

      June 22, 2010 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
  12. Doc

    Regardless of what you personally think of the President he is still the President and Commander in Chief. The General has now set a very dangerous precedent that his subordinates will surely follow if he does not gracefully retire. He needs to remember the core values Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage, three of which he seems to have forgotten. It is in the best interest of his service and his country that he retire rather than be "fired".

    June 22, 2010 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
    • xpsiter

      I really have t agree with you on that. Early retirement, in spite of current war activity is best. He cannot be effective with insubordination to his superiors and expect to have effective command over troops at the same time. Get out now, Stan....

      June 22, 2010 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • eddale

      The general needs to be fired immediately, minus a couple of stars. This will teach others like him some respect.

      June 22, 2010 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  13. alan

    I noticed since He closed Bugger King, Pizza Hut etc that the Taliban did not surrender in mass. This guy needs to pay back his parents his tuition money apologize to them.

    June 22, 2010 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
    • LAma

      McCrystal is a graduate of the West Point. His parents didn't pay for his tuition, the US Taxpayer did.

      June 22, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Thomas

    Stanley is in trouble and the Principle Obama is going to paddle him. The biggest fallacy I know of is that anyone ever grows up. This is a General in our military, in charge of a war and he acts like a 12 year old school boy. Its amazing we ever get anything done in this nation with leaders like these. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, what a loser.

    June 22, 2010 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      It's "principal", dude.

      June 22, 2010 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  15. Navyman

    The only thing this general did wrong was to publicly announce the truth. Had he gone one on one with the Prez, SECDEF etc the situation would not even been newsworthy. In general (sic) getting fired for telling the truth sends the wrong message, but saying it in the public domain does not do justice to all the men and women who honorably serve this country. Expressions of honesty and truth to a limited audience is essential for any leader to make logical, intelligent decisions. and Rolling Stone for gosh sakes?????

    June 22, 2010 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
    • poppy

      The "only thing he did wrong" carries with it the possibility of court martial under the Code of Military Justice. This is not a small thing. It's a very, very big deal.

      June 22, 2010 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
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