Archive for Tuesday, June 22, 2010

General apologizes for Rolling Stone article

June 22, 2010


— In a new magazine profile, the top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, and his advisers appear to ridicule Vice President Joe Biden and are portrayed as dismissive of civilian oversight of the war.

The article, in Rolling Stone, says McChrystal’s staff frequently derided top civilian leaders, including special envoy Richard C. Holbrooke and U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry. One anonymous aide calls White House national security adviser James Jones a “clown.”

The detailed report on the top command in Afghanistan is likely to exacerbate tensions with the White House, which in the past has felt boxed in by military commanders anxious to get more troops for the war effort.

The article says that only Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton received good reviews from McChrystal’s inner circle.

McChrystal is reported as visibly exasperated by e-mails he receives from Holbrooke, appointed by Obama to oversee developments in Afghanistan and Pakistan. “Oh, not another e-mail from Holbrooke,” the article quotes McChrystal as saying after receiving one message.

McChrystal criticizes Eikenberry for writing a classified cable that critiqued the war strategy and was later leaked, saying he felt “betrayed” by the episode and that Eikenberry was trying to protect himself.

The article’s author, Michael Hastings, says that McChrystal and his staff, while preparing for a question-and-answer session in Paris, imagined ways of “dismissing the vice president with a good one-liner.”

“Are you asking about Vice President Biden?” McChrystal says, according to the article, trying out a possible answer. “Who’s that?”

McChrystal gave a speech last summer, just as a White House strategy review was beginning, in which he appeared to criticize Biden’s argument in favor of fewer troops.

President Barack Obama later dressed down McChrystal for his comments and for the implied criticism of Biden. The Rolling Stone report does not specify whether McChrystal is again criticizing Biden or possibly poking fun at his own difficulties last year.

Late Monday, McChrystal issued an apology for the Rolling Stone article. “It was a mistake reflecting poor judgment and should never have happened,” he said in a statement.


jaywalker 7 years, 10 months ago

Sounds like a man looking for a way out; criticizing the CIC is military suicide. And whoever called James Jones a clown doesn't have a clue.

jd 7 years, 10 months ago

Notice he apologized for the interview but not for what he said. You can't fight a politically correct war and expect to win -

jmadison 7 years, 10 months ago

Will this be Obama's Truman-MacArthur moment?

tomatogrower 7 years, 10 months ago

This guy needs to go. The military must always be under civilian control. If not, we'll end up like the latin american dictatorships. He was insubordinate and should at least be forced to retire, now.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 10 months ago

Even if Obama had managed to clean up all of BushCo's disasters, you'd be of the same opinion, wouldn't you, tom?

Stuart Evans 7 years, 10 months ago

you've got to get over the BushCo term; it's really unbecoming. Also, your pony at the gate now belongs to the same clubs that GWB does (and the Clinton's for that matter). They are all looking out for their own interests, not yours.

weeslicket 7 years, 10 months ago

hmmm. don't think i can quite agree with those opinions.

Alyosha 7 years, 10 months ago

Fantasy is a cruel thing too, TomShewmon. Your claim that Obama's presidency is unravelling is nothing but your own desires and fantasies. His approval ratings are better than Reagan's were at this point in Reagan's first term. He and the Congress the majority of Americans elected -- knowing full well their policies, and supporting and actively voting for those policies to be enacted -- passed reforms to health care and stabilized the economy after disastrous Republican policies since 2000, among other things.

Obama will be re-elected in 2012. Republicans will not make very many gains in the 2010 elections. Sorry to burst your bubble.

The truth is wonderful out here, even with the positives and negatives -- you should really try it.

Unless, of course, you actively seek for America to fail, that is.

ivalueamerica 7 years, 10 months ago

Reagan? Alyosha, Tom also forgest that Reagan is the creater of Amnesty laws for illegal immigration.

Tom does not need facts to make points, he just makes them up to suit his needs as he goes along.

weeslicket 7 years, 10 months ago

facts are most bothersome things. most bothersome.

rhd99 7 years, 10 months ago

Alright, I will play devils advocate here for one moment, if I may. General McChrystal screwed up, fine. Maybe another Truman-MacArthur moment in our nation's history. Let me ask you all this, just for grins: Reading the Rolling Stone article at the end, I find it hard to swallow that those guys at the magazine can say with a straight face that Obama dislikes using the "V" word, as in victory. Is Obama afraid of success in Afghanistan? If he is, then maybe there is some truth to why some on the general's team feel a bit uneasy about this Community Organizer-in-Chief.

notajayhawk 7 years, 10 months ago

Almost exactly what I had planned to say - except the part about McChrystal screwing up. What did he do, exactly - imply the Communityorganizer-in-chief doesn't know how to run a military operation? That would be unequivocally true.

tomatogrower (anonymous) says…

"This guy needs to go. The military must always be under civilian control."

"Control" does not mean micromanaged as to day-to-day operations.

At least MacArthur didn't have to deal with e-mails from a nitwit working for an incompetent president.

rhd99 7 years, 10 months ago

Jayhawk, I see exactly where this is going. I grew up in an Army family & knowing what I know, I can say this. McChrystal's words are painted as being insubordinate to this President. Andrea Mitchell of NBC told Brian Williams (please bear in mind we are talking about partisan journalists) that what General McChrystal & his subordinates told Rolling Stone magazine crosses the line of insubordination against the National Command Authority. NBC further presses that in his (General McChrystal's) first run-in with Obama, Admiral Mullen, the current chief of the Joint Chiefs was taken to task for this. NBC said it was NOT Admiral Mullen's fault whatsoever, but Admiral Mullen was painted as a scapegoat. In this case, General McChrystal knew what he was doing when he accepted Rolling Stone magazine's invite for an interview. I know that in this case, Admiral Mullen does NOT deserve any blame at all. Now, we here, (some of us), share the opinion that Obama knows NOTHING about war. General McChrystal does. It all unfortunately boils down to one word: POLITICS. Chuck Todd of NBC said that though it was said over & over, this feud between the general & Obama is NOT the same as Truman - MacArthur. It's worse.

beatrice 7 years, 10 months ago

A general brought down by a magazine that will put Lady Gaga and the Jonas Brothers on their cover. Ouch.

Tom ... oh, never mind.

weeslicket 7 years, 10 months ago

nod to jmadison and rhd99: has general mcchrystal sufficiently offended his duties and requirements in service of the nation (at least as we now see and hear and feel it) in this? probably, yes.

does that mean any president should relieve general mcchrystal of his duties becasue of any particular bad example? (lincoln did it a lot. other examples?) this is maybe playing out 50/50 right now. those of the meritocracy, i shall hear you now.

but: i would imagine that general mcchrystal will be retained as the lead dog. but: with a newfound understanding of his constitutional limits.

and that's a good lesson for everyone in: the life of our constitution.

jaywalker 7 years, 10 months ago

Pantoozo wrote:

"This evil tea bagger General probably thought Bushwacker was the President. President Obama has so many Bushwacker disasters to fix. Oil spills, Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel, Healthcare, Arizona, earthquakes in Haiti, it will take President Obama years to turn things around. He needs to have Generals like this and Betrayus gone so that he can get the important work done."

With the exceptions of the words "President Obama has so many ...disasters to fix"...., the remainder HAS to be the hands-down winner of DUMBEST Post of the Day. Please pay kudos to Pantoozo; if it weren't posted at 2:39 in the afternoon I'd say copious amounts of alcohol were to blame, but......

Congrats on such a dubious distinciton, Pan. I certainly hope you're not affiliated with KU in any capacity.

rhd99 7 years, 10 months ago

Hey, this reminds me of something that happened during the early days of Desert Storm. If I screw it up, even ever so slightly, please tell me what I am missing. Do any of you remember a now retired U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff named General Michael Dugan? Well, General Dugan got a bit cozy with the press, causing Dick Cheney (the SECDEF (Secretary of Defense) at that time) & General Powell lots of angst. Cheney afterward canned Dugan as Air Force Chief, effectively forcing the general into retirement. Both McChrystal & Dugan have something in common in all this: They got a bit too cozy with the press. Irony here possibly?

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