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. Bob Camp

    The general just needs a talking to, and he'll be fine. You don't have to agree with everything your boss tells you to do, but you do have to pretend to like it. Especially when talking to other people. Especially since the 'enemy' can now see that the U.S. is divided. It gives the enemy incentive to hang on longer and cause more trouble, which doesn't benefit anybody.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  2. Kurt

    Yeah Tom, sure you voted for Obama. Uh huh..nice try. Generals should never cross the red line. McArthur should have been dismissed. He crossed it way too many times. And now this fool. Here's a newsflash for some of you geniuses. We should never, ever have the military usurp our CIVILIAN government. Ever.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  3. mike a, lakewood

    the general has overstepped his authority and will soon have it explained to him. one of the most famous and well liked generals in history was douglas macarthur. he was fired by the president, harry s truman, for making simllar statements. YOU DON'T CRITICIZE YOUR BOSS, even if you happen to be right.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  4. Another Active Soldier

    I actually will give President Obama our commander-in-chief a lot of brownie points if he can forgive this and move on. The general has made a mistake and he has learned his lesson. To forgive and to move on is the right thing to do.

    Having said that, I honestly have no idea why the general decided to do such an interview. I mean, he knew the interview would be published and he would be forced to apologize, what was he thinking? If he can't even deal with such a simple action/outcome analysis, what faith do I have in him leading us into victory in Afghanistan where the issue is a lot more complicated?

    June 22, 2010 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
    • TomTheSeal

      The mistake is in the Oval Office.

      June 22, 2010 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  5. George

    Blame this whole sleazy demoralizinf Obama/Mcchrystal affair on Israel and the Jews.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  6. Another Active Soldier

    @TomTheSeal: and I am sorry about you lied about voting for Obama. Let's see... Afghanistan War was 6 years Bush and 1 year Obama, and you are blaming Obama?

    I think if President Bush had done the right thing, the Afghanistan War would have been long over.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Get off his back

      what is would have been the right thing? since the Afghan war was Bush's fault you might want to call the Pentagon and tell them to stop searching for Bin Laden because it wasnt him that planned the 9/11 attacks it was Bush?? what a retard.

      June 22, 2010 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
  7. TomTheSeal

    Obama should be impeached.

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

    To Tom The Seal, what on Earth is the bug up your a......? So, based on your looney logic the president is not allowed to speak to any foreign leaders unless they pass your vetting. You're an idiot.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  9. George

    Blame it all on Israel and the Jews, they are responsible for the Afgan mess!

    June 22, 2010 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  10. Another Active Soldier

    It's good that in USA, the civilian trumps the military. The military serves the people, not the people serving the military – soliders, generals, need to understand that. I've met some soldiers who believe that civilians are hindering the military; I beg to differ. I think our duty is to abide to the wish of the people.

    Case in point – look at the world around you. Can you actually name any successful military controlled govt? Usually, military govt becomes dictatorship and it becomes horrible, and there is a reason for that. Practically every military dictatorship believes that military is beter than the civilians.

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

    OK all you MORAN'S. First of all, General McChrystal did not "diss" his boss "Obama." He smacked on Biden, Eikenberry, Holbrooke, and Jim Jones. Obama is not named as one of McChrystal's "team of rivals." McChrystal does not directly report to any of these yaa-hoo's. Secondly, I wouldn't be so quick to pass judgment. Let’s try this....Let’s put Obama, Biden, Eikenberry, Holbrooke and Jim Jones in a military uniform and have them walk in McChrystal boots for 30 years. Let’s see if they don't have a few things to say about their leaders after living the life McChrystal has. Everyone is so quick to rush to judgment because we don't walk in other's people's shoes. I am not condoning nor condemning his actions or words. I challenge anyone who does to volunteer to wear the uniform for 30 plus years and then see if you don't have some of the same skepticism the General does.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Suzie

      Not questioning his service or skepticism. Questioning why he sold his story to a friekne tabloid. He's a big boy / general. Why can't he tell that to Biden's face.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Betsy

      It's spelled moron...

      June 22, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Betsy

      Teresa, it's spelled moron

      June 22, 2010 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Snow

      First of all, learn how to spell....it's MORON's not MORAN's, LMAO!! Secondly, Jim Jones served 40 years in the Marine Corps and retired as a 4-star General. And Karl Eikenberry spent 35 years in the Army and retired as a 3-star General. He also spent 2 years as the top U.S. Commander in Afghanistan prior to his retirement. So it's safe to say that they have filled the boots that McCrystal is wearing. Please know your military history before you run your mouth.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Suzie

      Snow "First of all, learn how to spell....it's MORON's not MORAN's, LMAO!! Secondly, Jim Jones served 40 years in the Marine Corps and retired as a 4-star General. And Karl Eikenberry spent 35 years in the Army and retired as a 3-star General. He also spent 2 years as the top U.S. Commander in Afghanistan prior to his retirement. So it's safe to say that they have filled the boots that McCrystal is wearing. Please know your military history before you run your mouth."

      Yes, do learn how to spell. It is spelled McChrystal not McCrystal and it should be morons with no apostrophe. When you google information about someone to act like you know what you are talking about – it is best to cut and paste key elements like their names. Please learn the english language before striking the keyboard.

      June 22, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Snow

      Suzie, you might want to look at your 2:23pm post and your 2:26pm post before you correct me on anything. I'm quite sure foxhole is one word. And I've never seen "friekne" and "persooneell" spelled that way. You might have meant "freakin" and "personnel". Just a thought!

      June 22, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • sue carson

      Have been in our schools. Her spelling is an example, so don't dish her. You know the great slogan, NO CHILD WILL BE LEFT BEHIND. That's right , they are all left behind. Our Education system is a joke, just like our government. And everything you write, post,email, etc. is being analyze. So, what if someone misspelled, most of time you are excited, and hit the wrong keys . May God bless you

      June 23, 2010 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
    • OARFNY

      You're apparently not familiar with Jim Moran, an alleged Congressman from northern Virginia. The use of MORON or MORAN is interchangeable.

      June 22, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shaunda

      yes but there are military laws against the what he did. he should be court marshalled.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mel

      It is General Jim Jones. General Jones had an outstanding career as a Marine General!

      June 22, 2010 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. mike tatum

    send the general home and bring the troops back also. Lest all be home in two weeks

    June 22, 2010 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  13. @ACTIVE DUTY SOLDIER

    I see you are really busy on your "deployment". Most deployed soldiers are emailing family members when they get some down time. And you have time to play around on CNN.com, so that tells me you have more time on your hands than the average deployed soldier.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      So during a deployment we aren't supposed to stay informed or educated during a little down time?

      June 22, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • BaltoPaul

      If you're not deployed, you need to crawl back under your rock, troll.

      June 22, 2010 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rod

      So, since you have nothing intelligent to say you are attacking active military personnel? Way to go, Grace.

      June 22, 2010 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • To @ACTIVE DUTY SOLDIERRod

      So, since you have nothing intelligent to say you are attacking active military personnel? Way to go, Grace.

      Rod

      June 22, 2010 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. mike tatum

    With all the money we will save we can have even better public health care

    June 22, 2010 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  15. Joseph

    The blatant disrespect has gone on far too long. General McCrystal should step down as his comments are not in keeping with the traditions of the US Army and as an Army Officer. As an Army Officer I am very disappointed with this story. There is absolutely no respect anymore in this country. We have a war going on in Afghanistan and an oil spill in the Gulf, now the president has to indulge the media with a response to this. Clearly with everything said on every news outlets, this country has lost touch with traditional values and has displayed little respect to anything that walks, just to get hits on twitter. We all forget that President Obama is not only our Commander in Chief, he is the face of our country and he represents us to the world. I’m not speaking to all, but most people in the position of authority or influence are like crabs in a bucket, everyone is trying to get on top, even if that means pulling others back in. We all need to get a grip. Golf on Mr. President!

    June 22, 2010 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
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