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. NoWay

    Ask for and demand his immediate resignation

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

    The General committed truth, but violated the UCMJ (Article 88, I believe). As a result, the Secretary of Defense has no choice but to fire him and probably reduce him in rank (which will set off another fire storm). The option would be for the General to walk into Gates office and hand him a one liner – I hereby submit my resignation. The General voted for Obama and like too many Americans voted for someone about which they knew nothing except he was a good speaker as long as he had a teleprompter. He may be a good orator, but his lack of experience and knowledge on any issue is killing this country in the name of European socialism.

    June 22, 2010 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
  3. Scott

    Good for McChrystal, what the hell does Biden and Obama know about the military and a war anyhow, I don't think any of them have served and knows what it is like to have your boots on the ground.

    June 22, 2010 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
    • marco60

      Hey Scott, that's why he listened to McChrystal and enacted "HIS" plan. Now that it's not working he's blaming everyone else. Obama put his trust in this guy and this is what he gets in return.

      June 22, 2010 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • 11banger

      becaUSE obama dont know nothin!!!

      June 22, 2010 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Robert Austin

    Like a lot of military brass McChrystal is an arrogant ass and denies responsibility for his own failures.

    June 22, 2010 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  5. Ralph

    Someone here said, "You don't make in the military (as long as McChrystal has) without knowing what you're doing." Excuse me, but you really don't have to know what you're doing, you just have to know the right people to suck up to to climb the ladder of rank. Just ask Colin Powell.

    June 22, 2010 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  6. Smart Person

    General should be fired. Where is the the military discipline? Oh, it's ok when a general to badmouth democratic administration. If it was the other way around, the same nuts would be calling him a traitor and worse...
    BTW, he should be fired not because what he did was so bad – but just to make a point – what the heck.
    Ok, right wing stupidos, I have given you so much fodder – starting with the name.. Go at it

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

    We have a democratic government that is run by elected Civilians. Generals and our military men and women are supposed to carry out the orders of our elected leaders. President Obama, and many on his team who are military experts, has carefully listened to Gen. McChrystal and given him support and lawful orders in this war. The President , now must consider whether he can still have confidence in the General. All of us should support the President who was elected by this Country. When we refuse to do that, when it happens to be a black President for the first time in 300+ years, that's where race comes into play, for all you who don't seem to know!

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

      Here we go with the race card. Mr. Obama's color has nothing to do with the issue at hand; it has everything to do with his policies. When intelligent discussions are in play, why play the race card? It is the people who keep bringing up race as an excuse to overlook incompetence and bad policies who have issues, i.e., they are a bigot. As for the issue at hand, the President should fire the General, period. The General and his staff (fire them, too) have disrespected the Commander in Chief and whether one is a D, R, or unaffiliated as am I, we should respect the office even if we can't respect the man and his policies.

      June 22, 2010 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  8. Mikey

    This is much more fundamental than whether or not the General agrees with his Commander in Chief. This is about Chain of Command, the flow of leadership from the top, and the structure of the government of the country the General is defending. How can one inspire subordinates, when they have shown disdain for the very source of their own authority?

    June 22, 2010 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
    • john

      thats a real old paradigme. Command structure breakdowns come from failed leadership and trickle down. How dare he have an opinion thats diffrent from king Obama. At least he dosent follow blind and isnt a mear puppet on strings for a political party. Im sure Obama knows so much more than him about operations on the ground and military strategy.. Im glad to hear our 4 star general has guts even if its not politicaly correct. What are we going to start firing anyone that criticizes our worshiped king? off with their heads! all kidding aside its critical that within command structures leadership listens to the people on the ground. a prime example is the space shuttle challenger disaster. Fair warning if we as society allow political correctness to eliminate criticism we are in sierious trouble. Some officials in washington did not formally criticize president Bush duiring the Iraq invasion FYI so if they did would you be saying the same thing about them? ( I know its hard to be objective but try it some time)

      June 22, 2010 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Mikey

      You're right. The concept of leadership flowdown and chain of command is an old paradigm. And still valid. And it is the foundation that our military is based on. As a senior officer and well experienced veteran, I can tell you that there is a process, and room, for disagreement in the ranks. And it works, when done properly. Off-handed disrespect to the office of the Commander in Chief in an interview with Rolling Stone isn't exactly the process. I didn't vote for President Obama, but I respect the office he holds. Any person serving in the military, particularly when on duty, owes respect to that office. The alternative is anarchy. Some old paradigms are worth keeping...

      June 22, 2010 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  9. Ryan

    McChrystal is a disgrace. He's a trash talking, selfish, unpatriotic partisan tool. How dare he criticize the commander in chief in – of all bloody things – Rolling Stone magazine? I can not believe how disrespectful he is. Don't they teach you proper respect for your superiors in the military?

    June 22, 2010 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  10. Wasted1

    If this story is true, this jerk should be fired today. His true personality does not seem at all appropriate.

    June 22, 2010 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  11. Avg Joe

    If one disagrees with the boss you take it behind closed doors and you voice your disagreement in private. When you are done venting and if you presented a good argument for your opinion than things will probably go your way; if you did not, than once the door opens you are in-line with the boss showing no disagreement. This is what I learned as a Senior NCO! I don’t understand why my flag officers don’t get this; is it because of the god complex? Maybe McChrystal would have benefited from seeking the advice of a professional Senior NCO to discipline his staff and possibly the Gen himself. Oh well, another one bites the dust. President Obama is doing an exceptional job, having to deal with enemies inside and outside of the administration. As Americans we should come together on this…a house divided cannot stand!

    June 22, 2010 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
    • eddale

      Well said Joe. This guy needs to go!

      June 22, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jeff

    amazing on how many "military experts" are all of a sudden out there. when those in the government criticized george Bush, you were all invoking your First Amendment rights, now all of a sudden it is bad to say anything. The typical democrat double standard

    June 22, 2010 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  13. mary

    McChrystal was insubordinate. He has to be fired. As for the great military mind, Abe Lincoln had no military experience to speak of (really) but he won the Civil War by getting rid of some of his top generals who obviously were losing it.

    June 22, 2010 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Dr. Hanus

      Hahaha. Spoken like a a true soldier. But I bet you've never been one.

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

      McChrystal is a Bush era hold-over. Some think he's a criminal for his involvment with the disgraceful Abu Ghraig torture scandal and the cover-up of Pat Tillman's murder shortly after Bush's Iraq war was started under false pretenses.

      A report described in The Washington Post on May 4, 2005, (prepared upon the request of Tillman's family) by Brig. Gen. Gary M. Jones revealed that in the days immediately following Tillman's death, U.S. Army investigators were aware that Tillman was killed by friendly fire, shot three times to the head.[12] Jones reported that senior Army commanders, including Gen. McChrystal, knew of this fact within days of the shooting.

      June 22, 2010 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • tcaros

      Don't be so easy to endorse people you know little about their history. Do you like Bush's murders that much?
      A report described in The Washington Post on May 4, 2005, (prepared upon the request of Tillman's family) by Brig. Gen. Gary M. Jones revealed that in the days immediately following Tillman's death, U.S. Army investigators were aware that Tillman was killed by friendly fire, shot three times to the head.[12] Jones reported that senior Army commanders, including Gen. McChrystal, knew of this fact within days of the shooting.

      June 22, 2010 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mick

    Could have said it better than @Ryan:

    "McChrystal is a disgrace. He's a trash talking, selfish, unpatriotic partisan tool. How dare he criticize the commander in chief in – of all bloody things – Rolling Stone magazine? I can not believe how disrespectful he is. Don't they teach you proper respect for your superiors in the military?"

    June 22, 2010 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • jeff

      you are obviously so well versed in all that he does, you years of service to this country are so apparent

      June 22, 2010 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
    • TomTheSeal

      Respect is for the respectable. Clearly, Obama is not in that category.

      June 22, 2010 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • jwaggs

      yes the military teaches you to respect your superiors. you are an idiot to think that obama is superior to anyone, especially a seasoned vet like mccrystal. he has 30 plus years of service and after a couple years of being forced to listen obama, he lost his military bearing. but he made his opinion public. and he will enjoy his 60 grand retirement salary.

      June 22, 2010 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mick

    Couldn't have that is!

    June 22, 2010 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
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