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. Ashwin

    A good friend of mine was a medic in the US Army. He has served several tours of duty in Iraq. Although I knew he was a fairly liberal guy before he joined the army, when I asked him what he thought of the wars during the Bush administration, he said he couldn't comment on them because to show dissent against the President or the war effort was not allowed under military rules. He wouldn't even tell me, a friend of his for many years, what he thought about our elected officials. What makes this blowhard McChrystal think its appropriate for him to share his opinions of elected officials with the press is beyond me.

    June 22, 2010 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
    • John C

      He is white.

      June 22, 2010 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |

    I wonder how many of you have served in the military and in combat? This is my 3rd deployment and we (the 1/10 of 1% of the U.S. Population) the military will continue to fight for as long as it takes or until our civilian leaders call us home. Our nation has been at war for 10 years. Our Gen, has been at war for most of his career. If our nation was fighting this war and not just a small minority, no one would care about a few petty comments. Hell, every service member make comments while in the fox hole. If you have ever served you would no this. Grow some thicker skin and shut the hell up. Also, a large majority of us are very much against gays serving openly in the ranks. When this happens, there will be trouble. I'm a democrat, but when POTUS and the congress repeals DADT, I will be a republican for life.

    June 22, 2010 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Suzie

      Excuse me – he wasn't in a fox hole. He was paid by a tabloid to do it. As someone serving under him I would think you would be furious in the example he sets. This is like teenage highschool girls talking about eachother behind their backs not top militiary persooneell

      June 22, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Prophet


      June 22, 2010 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • ras02

      Yeah – there was no hate in the Democratic Party while Bush was president, "Prophet." And while I agree he should respect the office, don't act as though Obama's never out of line with his critics. Remember when he very unbecomingly talked down the Supreme Court Judges at the State of the Union Address and could even manage to get his facts straight – or maybe he just distorted them for his own political agenda – or... maybe his teleprompter was off.

      June 22, 2010 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Umm

      What does "being a soldier" have to do with a man that PUBLICLY attack his boss, his team, and his decisions who just happens to hold the most power office in the world (Our President)?? You should know better than anyone about the chain of command. If you were to do the same thing to your commanding officer I guarantee you would be on the front line of every nasty battle soldier. If I was your commander you would be the first one in and the last one out. You can not have that type of public division when engaging in a war THAT OBAMA had nothing to do with. It is an inherited disaster my friend. DADT..again nothing to do with the General being an absolute idiot by conducting a very damaging interview. Sure bet this won't incite and excite the terrorists you are fighting...you get it now?? It strengthens the enemy...ya know...the one you are fighting...

      June 22, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • oda155

      Yeah… I see… you must be one of these “new breed soldiers” they keep talking about, asking why all the time. Sure soldiers complain, but NCO’s do not complain to privates and officers do not complain to NCO’s, and NOBODY complains in public to Rolling Stone Magazine… or did your NCO’s teach you right. Young man, I HAVE been in combat, in more places than one and there is no way you nor anyone else can or should condone what Gen. McChrystal has done. I had the pleasure of serving under him in another time and place and I know that he is an honorable man, but he is wrong on this.

      June 22, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • oda155

      Here... lets try this. @ACTIVE DUTY SOLDIER

      Yeah… I see… you must be one of these “new breed soldiers” they keep talking about, asking why all the time. Sure soldiers complain, but NCO’s do not complain to privates and officers do not complain to NCO’s, and NOBODY complains in public to Rolling Stone Magazine… or did your NCO’s teach you right. Young man, I HAVE been in combat, in more places than one and there is no way you nor anyone else can or should condone what Gen. McChrystal has done. I had the pleasure of serving under him in another time and place and I know that he is an honorable man, but he is wrong on this.

      June 22, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Article 88 UCMJ


      I completely agree with you.....the General was out of line!

      June 22, 2010 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lucky

      He wasn't in a fox hole he was drinking at the PX!

      June 22, 2010 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Roger

      HOOAH!!!! Pround of my 21 yrs of service and my "Brothers" fighting the war ... well said Active Duty Soldier

      June 22, 2010 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • M.L. Bates

      You tell em. Good luck and Godspeed . Come home in one piece.

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

    Fire the guy. Over Tillman, over behavior unbecoming an officer. More thinkers, less power hungry jerks.

    I like how almost every person on here supporting this pompous general has a general disdain for the President and their response has mostly been reduced to name calling and belittling words for the left. I suppose the left did it to Bush too, but it seems like a bunch of grow crybabies either way. Keep it classy America.

    June 22, 2010 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  4. Tom

    Professional soldiers do not give interviews, period. They're neither in PR nor politics; they kill enemies until the commander in chief tells them not to. If this moron's judgement about something this elementary is questionable, then everything else he does is, too. If he doesn't like how his boss runs things, he can quit, then say anything he wants to anyone who will listen. An abject idiot.

    June 22, 2010 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  5. Matt

    This isn't news. Period. I am no military man, but have worked with many ex-military people. It doesn't surprise me at all that the generals on the ground don't have much use for the suits in Washington. They need to be a little more careful about who they flap their lips to, though. If I were a general in Afghanistan, I don't think I'd much care for Biden or Obama either. I can't even remember how old the Afghan and Iraqi wars are now, but these generals have invested years and years of their lives in these conflicts, and here come Obama/Biden and they're probably trying to change the way the generals are doing their jobs. I can see where there may be some conflicting viewpoints there.

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

      Finally, an intelligent disagreement! I agree that, given years of being in war (if I was), I would have a raised brow for the administration while they go home at night and get a good rest before waking the next day to make decisions on what I'm doing. I would still do my job though, without question of authority.

      In any way, he should have never said what he did, whether in an article/interview or to any trusted troops under his command. He is in a position to simply do the job, not make public hay about his disdain and disagreement with the administration.

      June 22, 2010 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Robert Austin

      Obama has supported McChrystal to the hilt and McChrystal is failing. The Obama should admit placing faith in the general was a mistake, fire the man, and move on.

      June 22, 2010 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  6. Spartan

    American generals are all for 'more boots and equipment on the ground'. If you disagree with them, you get no respect. This is a no-win situation for American forces in Afghanistan, and the sooner the military realise that the better. That said, the general should not have made his feelings about his bosses known in public, not least in front of the press. Period.

    June 22, 2010 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Robert Austin

      Only the "gutless" mock their superiors. If the general had a problem he should have confornted it like a man instead of denying his own failures by mocking others.

      June 22, 2010 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  7. Mike

    Well, he clearly let his guard down. And letting his "aides" make similar comments is not advisable. He has allegedly fired his media advisor. Too little to late. We've all made comments like this about some issue, at some time, in our past. But he's in a very delicate position. At his level, he should have known better. His career won't survive this. And frankly, it shouldn't. Don't care whether you like Obama or not.

    June 22, 2010 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  8. joseph

    Thie guy is head of the war in afg. give me a brake he needs to go. its not that he did this but come on! have the B LLs to live up to it .what punk b itch!!!

    June 22, 2010 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  9. Steve

    Dump him.

    June 22, 2010 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  10. Navyman

    Mike, if as you say absolute power corrupts, lets look at all of the self-serving congressmen and women and the executive branch who all spend so much money, even personal wealth , to get elected/re-elected and for most of them, the term ego-trip is a by word. The concept of ego-tripping extends to our athletic superstars, hollywood etc. I had a saying on my door when I was in command, "there is a fine line between self-confidence and arrogance, I admire the former and have disdain for the latter."

    June 22, 2010 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  11. Joseph

    General McChrystal has been an insubordinate military officer since he was put in charge of the war in Afghanistan. He has violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice many times. I am retired from the U.S. Air Force after twenty (20) years. This General should not only be relieved of his command and and forced to resign his commission, he should be court-martialed for his numerous security violations and conduct unbecoming an officer. Do you realize that he has no support from the pilots and troops in the field of battle because of his ridiculous decisions involving them and endangering their lives. General McChrystal needs to go!!

    June 22, 2010 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Grafixer

      Yep. His comments sound like a bitter and jealous high school bully. Sounds as though he gets along with no one. Sad and angry man with a lot of power. Time to take the power away.

      June 22, 2010 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  12. Cajun Reb

    McChrystal may have shown a lack of judgement inhis comments but ther is no doubt about the truth of comments attributed to him and his staff. Obama and his sock puppet Biden have no clue in how to rosecute a war againstteh enemies of this country. McChrystal asked for 40,000 troops to be sent to him immediately. Obama can not make any decision unless he wases six months in doing so. God save this country from the Liberal elite dedicated to destroying it from inside Congress and the resident of the White Mosque.

    June 22, 2010 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Robert Austin

      Cajun your words indicate that you are an idiot.

      June 22, 2010 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  13. Eromer

    He should be relieved of his command at the very least.

    June 22, 2010 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  14. Katinnc

    It is also possible that this is a hatchet job done by activist reporters. Occasionally, journalists have been known to stop quotes mid sentence in order to construct the "story" they want to tell, regardless of what the actual truth is. Hopefully the administration will not rush to conclusions and will listen to all sides of this issue before taking disciplinary action.

    June 22, 2010 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Veteran officer

      There you go! The conspiracy theory – it's all a liberal conspiracy. The "general" wasn't even there, but was forced to apologize. Now we have it.

      June 22, 2010 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  15. Carlton

    Another example of United States hypocricy and total disrespect of this President. It doesn't matter when you are in the military, you take an oath and are suppose to obey ALL orders of the President of the United States and the Officers that were appointed over you. So how it is that a General Officer can give orders but can't obey and folllow them, I say it is because of who's in charge!!! No matter how bad of a job Bush did, nobody openly displayed this kind of behavior against him!!!

    June 22, 2010 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
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