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McChrystal Apologizes for Scandalous Magazine Profile (Updates)

Posted on Jun 22, 2010
White House / Pete Souza

Updates: The Rolling Stone piece is now online and you can read it here. McChrystal has been summoned to the White House, and Politico reports he could be fired. Andrew Sullivan, meanwhile, observes that the Rolling Stone revelations were written by a freelancer, not by a beat reporter for a major news outlet, a fact that points out the failure of mainstream media: “The better their sources, the less we know.”

Original Post:

America’s top general in Afghanistan, Stanley McChrystal, and his staff are quoted saying nasty things about Obama administration officials in a new Rolling Stone article, for which McChrystal apologized Tuesday.

Among others, Team McChrystal reportedly cut down Richard Holbrooke, Karl Eikenberry and National Security Adviser James Jones (the latter dubbed a “clown” by one aide).

Holbrooke is the State Department’s special envoy to the region and Eikenberry is the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan. Together with Jones, the three men constitute the president’s top representatives to McChrystal’s theater of operations.

Even the president caught some grief. According to the article, McChrystal thought little of their first meeting.

Washington Post:

McChrystal and some of his senior advisors are quoted criticizing top administration officials, at times in starkly derisive terms. An anonymous McChrystal aide is quoted calling national security adviser James Jones a “clown.”

Referring to Richard Holbrooke, Obama’s senior envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, one McChrystal aide is quoted saying: “The Boss says he’s like a wounded animal. Holbrooke keeps hearing rumors that he’s going to get fired, so that makes him dangerous.”

On one occasion, McChrystal appears to react with exasperation when he receives an e-mail from Holbrooke, saying, “Oh, not another e-mail from Holbrooke. I don’t even want to read it.”

Read more

Can’t say that we blame him. We wouldn’t want to read Richard Holbrooke’s e-mail either. In case you’ve forgotten the name, he’s the Clintons’ pet hawk who prefers bombs to common sense.

More dirt on the Rolling Stone piece here—PZS

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By TongoRad, June 23, 2010 at 2:28 am Link to this comment

I suspect it was a very calculated move by McChrystal to cash in.
He’s following the lead of Sarah Palin. Millions,Book tour and media gig to follow, just you watch.

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By samosamo, June 22, 2010 at 11:28 pm Link to this comment


What disturbs me in the rolling stone piece are the troops coming
over from another theater or on another deployment being trilled
to orgasmic heights that mccrystalmeth is the guy in charge and
that the shootin can commence asap, and equally disturbing was
the ‘let down’ when mccrystalmeth slammed them with the rules
of engagement stuff. These troops were elated at the idea of
wanton killing of anyone apparently and I would think that isn’t
too healthy for the military, after all, how many of them ghost
terrors you gotta kill to ‘wipe em out’? So our all volunteer army
mercenaries have ulterior motives for ‘joining up’.

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By T. A. Madison, June 22, 2010 at 8:41 pm Link to this comment

This issue is about the chain of command.  That ought to be sobering to everyone.  The President is the Commander in Chief and we live in a democratic culture.  It is not democratic within the Chain of Command.  When the Chain of Command leaks with flagrant contempt from the main general in the field for his Commander it is not simple insubordination. If we want democratic rule of law and a democratic republic we ought to take this very seriously.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, June 22, 2010 at 4:21 pm Link to this comment

One thing our military doesn’t lack is Generals.

Get his money, plenty more where he came from.

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By radson, June 22, 2010 at 2:38 pm Link to this comment

“Little monk, little monk,you are taking a hard road!” Seems like the General is following the footsteps of another feisty warrior:Heinz Guderian.

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By rollzone, June 22, 2010 at 1:31 pm Link to this comment

hello. misery is not new to Afghanistan, and we were
only trying to help. the administration failed the
military, in too many ways to mention ...the
information leaks, the funding of enemies, the public
internet blogging, strategies, incoherent goals, it
has been as if by design- so his anger and
protectionism for his command is understandable.
firing him is a mistake. he is right where they want
him- the fall guy. Tman made an interesting point, of
military peaceful coup, as the staff have all been
described as wimps. but then ?Pelosi? at the helm?
the whole mistake has been the tax payer does not
belong in the equation. we know if corporations are
doing glorious humanitarian accomplishments, it
should be at their risk, with their blackwater type
security: and not free loading on the backs of the
American tax payer. we should not be allowed to
influence policy, and i mean ignored- not censored. a
war against peoples is what the military is good at-
scorch and burn, and move on. this has not been a
war, it has been target practice and home invasion.
the drugs are complicit, the Afghan government is
greedy, the enemy is transitory, and our unchecked, unlimited military spending extends way beyond budget
constraints (in sane budgets); and our administration
just plain ran out of celebrity favor, before
installing important policy directives: from all the
time, and collateral invested in that wonderful
health care fiasco. the public entered, where the
administration faltered, and ‘bring the troops home
now’ seems most sensible to the will of the people.
our commander chief has been MIA in everything since
winning the cheer leading position he so coveted, and
he can still be re-erected. scary that even without
the Congress he may still do his best work. perhaps
it is time to consider the military option for
closing the oil gusher, and let them continue to
pound that hole until they open the gusher up on the
other side of the world -that could take some
pressure off.

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By Mike3, June 22, 2010 at 12:32 pm Link to this comment

This is all very interesting, who’s in, and who is out in Obama’s court of powdered wigs and scented handkerchiefs. But it conceals the main and more important point that the charade in Afghanistan is over. Afghanistan was not a necon war (a war fought for Israel) as Iraq was; it was a good old standard kick ass imperial war. In fact the necons opposed it and wanted a direct attack on Iraq – which of course they got later. Unfortunately, the humiliation of defeat will never equal the death, misery and suffering they have brought to the innocent people of Iraq and Afghanistan.

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By tony, June 22, 2010 at 11:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Time to banish him to the canary islands and hope he loses his nerve…

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By MeHere, June 22, 2010 at 11:02 am Link to this comment

When Obama said early on in his campaign that he would expand the war in
Afghanistan, what did people think?  The hope of many was that he was just
posturing in order to get right wing votes. That’s called wishful thinking.
Immediately after winning, Obama surrounded himself with war hawks, the type
of people who, because of ideology and/or career goals, have continued to
support violence abroad.

The problem is they haven’t succeeded in accomplishing their misguided goals
which were to install puppet governments in Afghanistan and Iraq and leave it
up to them to keep the population under tight control and in line with US
interests -as in Saudi Arabia. That was their best hope in regard to the “war on

Afghanistan (and to a certain extent also Iraq,) is not one country but many
“countries.”  They have a history and a culture.  No Holbrook, H. Clinton, 
McChrystal, the death of US soldiers and Afghans, or any military spending can
or is entitled to change that. No surprise then if the Obama Cabinet gets

Sometimes, it takes years, even decades, to assess the actual harm that a
government has produced. The present government has already done enough
harm by omission and commission.  Given the self-interest and the corruption
that the two ruling parties continually exhibit, can we honestly say that one
party is really better than the other?

Think before you vote.

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By NC_Vet, June 22, 2010 at 10:49 am Link to this comment

All the “stupid, uninformed” comments from some of the masses here who have not put on the uniform and served this great country of ours!  Stupid comments coming from individuals who chose “Fort Living Room” versus “Fort Bragg/Fort Steward/Fort Hood” or any other military installation!

Unbelievable!!!!!! We have men and women who are in the line of fire 24/7 and we have the top general in Afghan. displaying “insubordination.” He should have been fired yesterday!!!! Gomer Pyle wouldn’t have been this stupid in his actions and openly speak out againt Gunnery Sgt Carter! If he didn’t agree with the war strategy, then he should have resigned or retired. Once you are a civilian, then you voice your opposition to the war: NOT IN UNIFORM FIGHTING A WAR. BTW, I am a veteran and I do have some worries about BOTH wars. Being in the military; especially as a leader, you give your honest opinion to your superiors and after that: you salute, shut-up, and follow orders! From there on, you do your best to take care of those who you lead!

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By samosamo, June 22, 2010 at 10:32 am Link to this comment


I was glad to hear mccrystalmeth had derogatory words about o,
he deserves them and needs a lot more. But as evidenced, and
particularly with the whistleblowers, one doesn’t disparage,
criticize or contradict o as he has many penchants and one of
those is to diss his antagonists. But if anyone is worthy of
bringing home it would be mccrystalmeth, but actually it should
be the whole military. But I rather think he wouldn’t do that
because that would put the military and veterans but in the u.s.a.
which could be something the aristocracy doesn’t want.

But o, in his infantile behavior of being a traitor to his party,  his
incompetent lead role in this horrific play and brown noser of the
elite, to keep his job until 2012, he can’t have people questioning
his motives or actions under no circumstances, as it exposes his
ineptness of his responsibilities to the people who elected him
and further exposes his loyalty, fealty and love for his handlers.

Everything this clown does runs contrary to why the people
elected him from sustaining the imperial wars, facade of handling
man made natural disasters and the man made, and o enabled,
financial crisis. All of which puts the bright spot light on his
preference of working for the aristocracy.

I now think of o as sitting around wondering who else has
‘slighted’ him in his eyes & mind and what he can do to ‘get back
at them’, and if you don’t remember, that was exactly one of w’s
traits all his life, revenge and retribution, destroy your enemy
even if he is your best friend.

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By Charlie Kasnick, June 22, 2010 at 10:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

McChrystal has been setting up Obama for the fall when this war turn bad for a while.Just like Vietnam they still think they can win.1/10 of a way into a hundred year war does not bode well for the USA.

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By Ed Harges, June 22, 2010 at 9:54 am Link to this comment

”...We wouldn’t want to read Richard Holbrooke’s e-mail either. In case you’ve
forgotten the name, he’s the Clintons’ pet hawk who prefers bombs to common

Hey, yeah—if this guy doesn’t like Holbrooke, he can’t be all bad!

Report this

By Bill Britton, June 22, 2010 at 9:21 am Link to this comment

Top Commander in Afghanistan Replaced by Sergeant

By Bill Britton

General Stanley A. McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, was forced to step down from his post today. His replacement, Master Sergeant Goober Heap, will assume his duties immediately. McChrystal’s position became untenable after he gave the “bird” to Vice President Biden, U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry, and an unnamed minister in the French government.

McChrystal’s conduct was exposed in an article that appeared in a recent issue of Rolling Stone magazine.
“We cannot have a hired gun like McChrystal giving the bird to members of this Administration,” said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. “The French, yes, and it’s OK to flip one when Senator Man Tan [Rep. John Boehner, R-OH] walks by. After all, Boehner, or Big Boner as we prefer to call him in the White House, does it to the President all the time. One of the President’s goals is to bring more civility to Washington.”

McChrystal was interviewed by this reporter at his retreat in Bladensburg, MD, where he was found cleaning a 155-mm howitzer. “Yeah, I picked up this baby in Kuwait. It’s a bit rusty, but I figure once it’s tidied up, I’ll test her out with a few dummy rounds. Has a range of 16,350 yards, you know—about from here to downtown D.C.”

Sergeant Heap was somewhat confused by his new appointment: “Who the [bleep’s] supposed to salute who? I’m up to my [bleepin’] ass in [bleepin’] majors and [bleepin’] colonels who earn ribbons sittin’ on their [bleepin’] butts playing with each other. Meanwhile, I’m on my fourth [bleepin’] tour in [bleepin’] turbanland with a new [bleepin’] baby at home that looks like the [bleepin’] Tasty Freeze man.”

Larry King, rumored to be still alive, will interview Sergeant Heap on his show this week.

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By kerryrose, June 22, 2010 at 9:21 am Link to this comment

What did Obama expect in his bipartisan appointment of McChyrstal?  Why was he hiring a hawk from the right?

Did Obama think the guy would respect him, tow the line, and not try to line up a more war-friendly replacement for 2012?

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By gerard, June 22, 2010 at 9:00 am Link to this comment

When the Military insults the President the Ship of State is sinking.  All hands on board!

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By Peetawonkus, June 22, 2010 at 8:45 am Link to this comment

Middle East strategy: more bombs, troops & money. So far that’s worked out dandy.

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By tman, June 22, 2010 at 8:15 am Link to this comment

This president and his congress have trashed the constitution. The general should bring his troops with him and arrest the whole bunch as traitors.

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By Ouroborus, June 22, 2010 at 7:39 am Link to this comment

Leefeller, June 22 at 11:31 am

Oh, please, I’m ready! I just hope it’s as crazy as it
was way back when; France still fears it’s citizens.
What could be healthier than that?

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By Leefeller, June 22, 2010 at 7:31 am Link to this comment

“If Obama doesn’t fire McChrystal NOW; he’ll never see a
second term.
A 2nd term is doubtful anyway; Obama just hasn’t got
what it takes. He’s done!”

Same point taken when Bush ran the second time and it seems he fired many generals?

All the opinion in the world will not sway the elite from their tunnel vision, actually the only thing that could possibly work may be a guillotine, then visions could become a prevalent reality.

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By Ouroborus, June 22, 2010 at 7:10 am Link to this comment

This is a classic case of career ending stupidity and

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By Ouroborus, June 22, 2010 at 7:08 am Link to this comment

This smacks back to Truman and MacArthur; civilians
rule, not the military. McChrystal is guilty of gross
insubordination! Off with his head!

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By Ouroborus, June 22, 2010 at 7:01 am Link to this comment

If Obama doesn’t fire McChrystal NOW; he’ll never see a
second term.
A 2nd term is doubtful anyway; Obama just hasn’t got
what it takes. He’s done!

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By dihey, June 22, 2010 at 6:30 am Link to this comment

The Obama administration may have been incompetent on issues of war and peace but the fundamental issue that absolutely must be decided now is: “who is in charge of defense/war policy, the Pentagon or White House/Congress”? One must demand that Mr. Obama and the Congress have the fortitude to recover their primacy. That is what the country must demand. Excuses by McChrystal are to be ignored. Even though we are in the “middle of wars” McChrystal and every one of his supporters in the military and administration must be replaced. It has been done before “in the middle of a war”. By President Truman.
The issue is no longer whether president Obama can be re-elected. At issue is the sanity of our nation in which a General gives an interview to “Rolling Stones”. What is next? Playboy?

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By Wounded and Dangerous, June 22, 2010 at 6:18 am Link to this comment

Well, when a president wins an election saying he is against war and is committed to bringing the troops home, then what do you expect?

Obama is like so many of our contemporary American politicians. They talk a nice tune, but when the chips are down they follow the orders of their masters. These masters are based in the large international corporations and in companies that profit from war. This war continues because those who profit from it want it to continue. There is no other reason for its continued existence.

To see the generals and the Administration squabbling should make us cheer. Thinking people know that this war is long past its due date. They are not focused and they are not committed to ’ winning ’ the war. No such objective exists. The war is not winnable and it is wrong. It is illegal and it is unjustified. It is a civil war with a foreign invader involved. Obama is the leader of this foreign invader. The more they fight amongst themselves the more you know there is something wrong with this war.

Obama should never have committed more troops and money for this false war of aggression. This is the price one pays for making a wrong decision. He should have stuck to the original game plan even if that upsets his controllers, namely, the business classes who profit from this and other wars. Time to get the hard-thinking ideas guys in the Administration working on a ‘Peace With Honor Plan ‘. That is where the focus should be going. If Nixon could pull something like that off why not Obama? Surely, he can wiggle his way out this war and save his political hide as well. No sense in continuing a game that is not really winnable or acceptable to the modern thinking mind. Sooner or later Obama is going to have to make a correct decision in foreign policy - a policy that is good for the American people and the world in general.

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By the worm, June 22, 2010 at 5:47 am Link to this comment

It is Obama who should be apologizing to the nation for this disaster.

McChrystal’s poor judgement has been clearly visible from his encouragement and
recommendations to continue with the current mindless and antiproductive ‘war
on terror’; but, jingoism is to be expected from a military man.

It’s the ‘civilian leadership’ that is expected to bring other perspectives and is
charged with making decisions in the interest of the American people rather in the
interests of the military and its contractors.

The judgment that failed was Obama’s.

Obama owes the nation an apology.

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By Ouroborus, June 22, 2010 at 4:51 am Link to this comment

We’re a culture of liars. Obama lies, Palin lies,
McChrystal lies, Pelosi lies, Wallstreet lies, BP lies
and even the Church lies.
To be successful in today’s society one must lie.
Doesn’t bode well for our future does it?
I don’t see much of a future for most humans; at least
those who follow the herd.

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By FiftyGigs, June 22, 2010 at 4:51 am Link to this comment

I’m not sure which is more boring McCrystal or
Rolling Stone.

On the one hand, you have a tough guy allegedly
leading an assault against the horrific Taliban and
Al Qaeda yet unable to solve something so simple as
gays. On the other hand, you have a magazine trying
to pass off “I don’t even wanna read it” as
absolutely SCATHING tough talk.

Jeez. Somebody needs to teach Rolling Stone the real
way to tear down somebody they’ve built up. As for
McCrystal, what in God’s name are you doing in a
Rolling Stone interview? GET FRICKIN’ BIN LADEN!

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By ardee, June 22, 2010 at 4:38 am Link to this comment

McChrystal is lucky that he isnt working for Harry Truman. If he were he’d already be collecting his pension. But, in an administration filled with incompetence and headed by an inexperienced leader far,far out of his depth, the usual action is running in little circles.

Of course, the fact that we are in another unwinninable war makes the military as wrongheaded as the Executive.

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