You may have heard by now that Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. general in Afghanistan, inexplicably gave Rolling Stone unparalleled access to his inner circle, and the magazine dropped a bomb on him today, feeding reporters a story that finds him dissing Ambassador Karl Eikenberry on the record and quotes his aides mocking Vice President Joe Biden, special representative Richard Holbrooke, and National Security Advisor Jim Jones. We also learn that McChrystal was none too impressed when he met President Barack Obama for the first time last year.
As you might imagine, folks in Washington are not pleased. "Within hours after today's Rolling Stone story
broke," reports the Atlantic's Marc Ambinder, "McChrystal was called by the White House, the Secretary of
Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They were not
Here's McChrystal's statement:
I extend my sincerest apology for this profile. It was a mistake
reflecting poor judgment and should never have happened. Throughout my
career, I have lived by the principles of personal honor and
professional integrity. What is reflected in this article falls far
short of that standard. 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."
Too late? It's hard to imagine how McChrystal survives what is going to be an epic sh*tstorm all week long. And then the article itself goes up Friday.
As James Dobbins noted last fall in a prescient article for FP, the disagreements between McChrystal and Eikenberry have been unusually public, to the long-term detriment of U.S. efforts in Afghanistan. But I wonder why Eikenberry was able to stick around so long. After all, he clearly didn't believe in the mission, as his leaked memos made clear. And those memos made it impossible for him to get along with Afghanistan's president, Hamid Karzai -- which is one of the main jobs of an ambassador. How could he possibly be effective?
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