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. john

    heaven forbid someone dosent worship obama like some sort of a god. People have opinions and when asked they will voice them. Im glad hes being crystal clear with what his views are coming from a military background and actually being in the field. and if Obama doesent like it he can sit on a tack. Im glad the general isnt a puppet to some political party.. at least this general has guts.

    June 22, 2010 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • echeeba

      Opinions don't count in the military. You keep them to yourself.

      June 22, 2010 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • TRUTHMAN

      This isn't about Obama though. It's about Generals misobeying orders on purpose. "Ouch I hurt my thumb, that damn Obama".

      June 23, 2010 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ThNosePicker

    Someone once quoted:

    "You see that flash of light in the corner of your eye? That's your career dissipation light. It just went into high gear ..."

    Farewell Stanley!

    June 22, 2010 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  3. FussyBunny

    It'a all Obama's fault. Everything.

    June 22, 2010 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  4. jon

    Toss this guy out - NOW!

    June 22, 2010 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  5. Doug

    A general should know better.

    June 22, 2010 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  6. TomTheSeal

    We are involved in the longest war in American history.

    Obama has proven himself to be a traitor ot America whith his stance on Arizona's immigration law and his giving aid and comfort to our enemy, Mexican President Calderon, by hosting him in our White House.

    Obama has lost all credibility, while the General is trying to tell us how our government is insuring that we lose this war.

    I believe the General, and I believe Obama is a traitor that needs to face articles of impeachment alleging treason for his conduct in inviting an avowed enemy of America who openly advocates illegal entry into America to our White House.

    I support the General, and I am sorry to say that I voted for Obama.

    Thanks, Tom

    June 22, 2010 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  7. Ron

    The President can handle this. This guy needs to have more respect when he walks away than he obviously had earlier. It is what it is. Punishing him could make things worse. Good leadership would collect information and move this guy to a better place in his head. If this were a situation where subordinates are truely against the VP then they need to know that they are wrong about him and that he deserves their respect, or he needs to know why they feel comfortable disrespecting him and they need to know that they are wrong.

    June 22, 2010 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
    • john

      or the president and vice president need to have less instutionalized apthy for whats going on on the ground and listen to thier general verses what the media is saying. Hes saying he needs more troops to do the job he was tasked to do. In a normal command structure the resources and personel would be given rather than the story spun to make the situation sound more appealing to his party to get his party re-elected.then deny the general what he needs. I would be frustrated too however my remarks would be much worse. This is all politics i hope the general tells them both to f*&$ off and to find a new puppet

      June 22, 2010 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  8. JJA

    I am Black so this whole deal is not about race, it's about wisdom. Here's my thought: if you were in a bad accident and went to the emergency room – who would you want to take care of you? The nurse who graduated from nursing school 2 weeks ago, or that old, grouchy nurse that has been in ER for 20 years? Mr. Obama had to experience and it shows.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Waleed

      What does someone being insubordinate have to do with the commanders experience? When MacArthur was insubordinate to President Truman (a former general himself), was it because of Truman's lack of experience? And for the record (since you felt it was important to say) I am black as well. Secondly, I hope you feel perfectly comfortable (if you are truly black) lumping yourself in with some of the racists who use the word "inexperienced" as another form of the old adage "unqualified" that is used against a black person that is not wanted in a position. Because our president and highly intelligent Harvard Grad had more education and an equal amount of war experience as Lincoln. But, Lincoln was white.

      June 22, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Andrea

    I don't think the issue is about the war or militray experience – it's about respect. The General has taken an oath and he knows he has clearly gone beyond the bounds when it comes to just your core Unuifromed Code of Military Justice. Just as a Private or Col. couldn't get away with disprespecting him publicly he can't get away with disrespecting The Commander and Cheif – whether you like him or not. I am a veteran and have been on assignments that I didn't personally agree with but as long as I was wearing that uniform I followed orders and respected my chain of command – all the way up to The Commander and Chief. The General is only sending a bad message to the "bad guys" when the top guys orchestrating the war don't believe in their leaders.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
    • TomTheSeal

      Sorry, but respect is for those who are respectable.

      Patriotism trumps respect any day of the week.

      The General is showing loyalty to America, and respect be damned.

      June 22, 2010 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  10. Pat

    What could be the motivation for this action? It's not a mistake, because I find it very hard to believe that he would be that careless.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  11. TomTheSeal

    Some pertinent considerations:

    Felipe Calderon publicly advocates illegal entry into America. When a head of state advocates invasion, its an act of war.

    Obama gave aid and cmfort to Calderon when he wined an dined him in our White House s an honored guest.

    This makes Obama a traitor, who should be brought up on trial under impeacchment articles alleging treason.

    General McChrystal is trying to tell us how our government is insuring that we lose this war.

    I believe the General.

    I am sorry I voted for Obama.

    Regards, TomTheSeal

    June 22, 2010 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Avg Joe

      Spoken like a true anarchist, ”Patriotism trumps respect any day of the week”. I wonder if you have any children and do they do anything they want to do, damn the respect for you…yeah it would be very interesting to see if you practice the venom that you spit out. Even Lord Jesus gave respect to Pontius Pilate; he was in authority at the time.

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

      Just another bitter white guy.

      June 22, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dave C.

    Big deal. If Obama wants people to express themselves openly he has to let this stuff role and get on with important things – like congratulating the L.A. Lakers.

    I used to have great respect for Obama, but he has fallen victim to a schedule of distractions. I hope he will realize this soon and rise above it.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  13. flycatcher

    Let me ask a question: If McChrystal should be fired for his comments shouldn't Obama also be fired for his idiotic comments as well or is it different somehow? If it's different then maybe that's why all politicians, lawyers, policemen, essentially anyone with authority or large amounts of money think of themselves as ABOVE the Law.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
    • marco60

      If McChrystal wanted to make those comments, why didn't he schedule a meeting and get on a plane to Washington. Why communicate with the President through Rolling Stone magazine? Pretty immature.

      June 22, 2010 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Music2mYears

      What idiotic comments should the President of the United States be fired for? Your argument is retarded. The general should be fired under the UCMJ for insubordination. How has the President been insubordinate, because you disagree with him?

      Get a grip. Yes, they are different.

      June 22, 2010 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ron

    The military must obey orders from and show complete respect to civilian authority, especially the White House. The General was wrong in granting an interview in the first place and in making those comments in the second. I personally feel that this administration is bad for America in almost every respect, but as a civilian (previously served in the Army) I can make such comments. The General should be relieved of duty. Hopefully this President will be relieved of duty in the next presidential election.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  15. Another Active Soldier

    @ACTIVE DUTY SOLDIER

    Obviously, you are a fake. Imagine if you make that kind of comment about the commanding general when the media journalist comes by to do an inteview, you will be promptly court martialed!!!

    Frankly, I am a soldier, but I believe in civilian control over the military. USA is great not because of its great military, but because of its great democracy!!!

    If our top generals cannot be bothered to listen to the civilians, then, he should resign.

    I am a soldier, but my first duty is to the country, not to the military, that means, I listen to what the people want, because people make up the country.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • chris

      Very true, what the general did was out of line, but I believe every US president should have at least served 1 tour in the military. Just so he has an idea what hes putting the soldiers thru as commander in chief.

      Somehow I get the feeling Obama couldnt lead his way out of a wet paper bag. Hes one of those spineless leaders who want to keep everyone happy. Hes another 1 termer. A lame duck whos done more harm than good for this country. Not to mention his administration had to threaten senators of taking away financial support to their state if they didnt sign the health Bill.

      I voted for that piece of crap...now I realize I was wrong. Hillarys more of a man than Obama is.

      June 22, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bubba

      " Somehow you get a feeling" that Obama can't lead? Let's look at the facts: he is the leader of the free world and this country. You are some bozo on a web site. What leadership feats have you accomplished? And by the way, don't try the ad hominem attack, it's pretty tough today.

      June 22, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
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