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. Bryce

    @ Teresa – James Jones was the Commandant of the Marine Corps. He has spent the majority of his life defending this country.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  2. tt

    General Mcwho? is making comments about the President – where was he when Bush dragged us into ths unholy war? Instead of helping to end this war in a strong fashion – it seems he is sitting with his buddies, probably in a green zone, poking fun at the president, while real soldiers are facing the Taliban all over Afganistan!

    June 22, 2010 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  3. KMAN821

    General McEgo needs to go find something he's good at ... he's certainly not a successful leader and has brought dishonor to his uniform ... what a t*rd!

    June 22, 2010 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  4. Mohammed

    The general has the right to express his opinions. But he owe respect to the commander-chief who happened to be the President of the country. However, I believe nobody is perfect and everyone of us will screw up at some point.
    I believe the general's apology is sincere. So, in my opinion, no-drama Obama should rise over the dust, show great judgment, leadership and grace, and give the general one final second chance!

    June 22, 2010 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Mitch

      The problem with giving the general another chance is that it will make Obama and the office of the Presidency look weak. The Office needs to be respected and everyone needs to know that and see what happens when it isn't respected. It sounds like this General is "immature" or like a child who has tested the limits of what he can do and say. He knows the rules and broke them once before and was reprimanded. Now he has broken them a second time. If he is not publically punished others will continue to test the rules of the Office of the President as well as our country, and that is not a good thing. For any of us.

      June 22, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. TomTheSeal

    If you are going to send our troops in harms way then you turn it over to the military and let them do their jobs. Period.
    General McChrystal is trying to tell us WHY this war is not being won and has become our longest war. I believe him.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • theTRUTH.com

      Let them do their jobs? the General's FIRST job is to report to and respect the commander in chief. He showed he is NOT capable of doing such.

      June 22, 2010 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  6. Cecilia

    General McChrystal, new member of the Tea party ! He comes out so Palinesque. Wonder how he made it to general with that sense of loyalty and duty. He should be asked to retire. I do not believe his apology is sincere, he got what he wanted, so saying he is sorry is only a formality. Now he can collect from whoever is making possible to destroy the tremendous job the government is doing with what got from the previous administration. In my book he gets an F- in military conduct.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  7. Jef

    I believe in freedom of speech but some of these comments go way over the edge.

    I sometimes fear for my President's life.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Which comments came close to a threat? Be specific and call the Secret Service to report them immediately!

      June 22, 2010 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. You dumb doorknobs

    Obama won't fire him. HIs administration is incapable of developing and executing a stratey to deal with this enemy. He is reliant on "ballsy", "tell it like it is" leaders because that skill set is not resident in the Obama team.

    June 22, 2010 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • marco60

      "Ballsy". you've got to be kidding. This coward goes around making jokes about his boss and colleagues behind their backs. Gutless!!

      Have the courage to resign if you disagree with the administrations strategy. We have all seen this type of person where we work. They criticize the boss behind his back but when the boss finds out, they can't apologize quickly enough. then they look for some subordinate to fire.

      Really courageous!

      June 22, 2010 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ice man

    He should be fire,if not the president will ready be weak and beside he can be replace by someone else.

    June 22, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jim

    Get rid of GEN McChrystal- the government needs more "yes" men to advise this country!

    June 22, 2010 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ExMil

    McCrystal fired a press aid of the article in Rolling Stone? Sounds like the scapegoating has begun. He's a typical military officer/politician announcing his ambition to go on as a Faux News commentator. If McCrystal isn't relieved of his duties then the "wimps in the White House" remark will be proven true.

    June 22, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  12. john

    I dont think the president listened to anything he said until now. I guess now that he has their attention he can ask for the troops he needs again

    June 22, 2010 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • john

      paradigme's need to be updated also mike just like operational procedures and command structures. Im glad we dont still fight in rows getting mowed down by cannons.

      June 22, 2010 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  13. AKSEN

    I have heard in CNN news that Gen McChrystal stated that our troops may not leave Afghanistan by 6/2011. Why this General defying Commander in Chief's order? Military must respect the order by Commander in Chief Mr Barack Obama and not find excuses and bring all soldiers home by June 2011.

    June 22, 2010 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Tina

    I am a military wife of a active duty member and GeneraL needs to go. If my husband would have said anything like that to Pres Obama, or his commander, etc he would have been in so much trouble by now that my husband would not have known what hit him. You don't say certain things about the Pres ( no matter who it is) or commanding officers. That is just how it is. With the General being who he is and the rank of which he is, you would have thought he would have known better but I guess not. The problem is if the General is given another opportunity then I guess when a Airman, Private etc,says something about the Pres, or whoever then I guess they should get a second chance as well right? NO, because that would never happen. They would be punished so fast that their head would spin.

    June 22, 2010 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. steven harnack

    Mc Crystals idea of running the war is to pay the Taliban protection money. He is military, he just wants a war to fight even if he has to pay the other side to play. Any general will do, fire him and put someone in there who will take orders from their commander-in-chief.

    June 22, 2010 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Prometheus

      I took exception to your statement: "He is military, he just wants a war to fight even if he has to pay someone else to come play."

      Believe me when I tell you that no person hates war more than a soldier. There may be exceptions to that....but they are very hard to find wearing boots on the ground.

      June 23, 2010 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
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