After apologizing for comments, McChrystal heads to Washington

By Laurie Bennett

June 22, 2010 at 7:39am

Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s future with the Obama White House is being likened to that of Gen. Douglas MacArthur under Harry Truman.

After apologizing for his comments in an upcoming issue of Rolling Stone, the head of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan headed to Washington Tuesday for a meeting with the president.

The magazine piece, titled “The Runaway General,” includes negative comments by McChrystal about many administration officials involved in the war in Afghanistan.

National security adviser James Jones is a “clown,” he says, who remains “stuck in 1985.”

Stanley McChrystal
Stanley McChrystal

An aide quotes McChrystal as believing Richard Holbrooke, senior envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, is “like a wounded animal. Holbrooke keeps hearing rumors that he’s going to get fired, so that makes him dangerous.”

On Karl Eikenberry, U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, McChrystal is quoted as saying, “Here’s one that covers his flank for the history books. Now if we fail, they can say, ‘I told you so.’”

Obama chastised McChrystal last fall for speaking too openly about his desire for more troops in Afghanistan.

“I found that time painful,” McChrystal says in the article. “I was selling an unsellable position.”

As the uproar built Tuesday, McChrystal issued a statement saying: “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.”

“I extend my sincerest apology for this profile,” the statement said. “It was a mistake reflecting poor judgment and should never have happened.”

McChrystal at the White House in December
Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, National Security Adviser Gen. James Jones and Gen. Stanley McChrystal with President Obama after a Dec. 7, 2009, meeting in the Oval Office. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
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  • #1.   Mark Gregory 06.23.2010

    The McChrystal affair emphasizes the fact that there exists a Pentagon culture eager to fight wars for the next 1,000 years. The culture disrespects diplomacy. This is “old America”. There is a better way. According to Clausawitz, the “will of the people” is more powerful than the generals and the politicians. Wake up people.

  • #2.   Sri 11.10.2015

    As a military vearetn I have a deep respect and understanding of the importance of chain of command and civilian leadership of our military. History has proven, e.g., Truman’s sacking of MacArthur, that chain of command and civilian leadership is sacrosanct and violations should be dealt with swiftly and decisively. To have the top general in a war zone undermine the civilian leadership of the war effort warrants an immediate dismissal of that general, as was properly done in this case. That said general was careless and arrogant about what statements he and his staff shared with a reporter evidences more than insubordination, but the kind of character and discipline (or lack thereof) that has no place anywhere in the chain of command, let alone at the top. Thus, I find the reporting incisive, warranted, necessary, and nothing close to just looking to put another scalp on the wall.

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