Gen. McChrystal staff criticized Obama war management in magazine interview

Thomas Lifson
General Stanley McChrystal's career is hanging by a thread in the wake of revelations contained in a forthcoming article in Rolling Stone, quoting the General criticizing President Obama and some of his team members. Gordon Lubold of Politico writes:

The article, titled "The Runaway General," appears in the magazine later this week. It contains a number of jabs by McChrystal and his staff aimed not only at the President but at Vice President Biden, special envoy Richard Holbrooke, Karl Eikenberry, the ambassador to Afghanistan, and others.

McChrystal described his first meeting with Obama as disappointing and said that Obama was unprepared for the meeting.

National Security Advisor Jim Jones is described by a McChrystal aide as a "clown" stuck in 1985.

Others aides joked about Biden's last name as sounding like "Bite me" since Biden opposed the surge.
McChrystal has already apologized publicly:

"It was a mistake reflecting poor judgment and should never have happened," McChrystal said. "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."
The White House flacks at MSNBC's "Morning Joe," where they yesterday confessed to "working with the White House" on talking points, focused on the outrage of criticizing the commander-in-chief, not on the substance of the remarks:

"This general has to be fired, he has to be gone by the end of the day," said Joe Scarborough, on "Morning Joe" on MSNBC.

"Gates and Petraeus have to come out and fire McChrystal." They should have already done it - Petreaus and Gates should have already fired McChrystal."

But firing McChrystal could be a problem for Obama. First is the question of a replacement. Is there anyone as qualified as this widely-respected expert on counter-terror? The war is going badly, and a sudden change in command could make matters worse.

Then there is the awkward question of the substance of the General's remarks, especially about a commander-in-chief who doesn't do his homework. Afghanistan is Obama's war, the one he said we must win. His management of the war may be consistent with his inept, lazy management of the Gulf oil spill. The American people will not be reassured by the appointment of a replacement for McChrystal whose principal qualification is keeping his mouth shut about the incompetence he sees around him in the conduct of war.

I suspect the General assumed some of his remarks, and conversations with others, were off-the-record. The "Morning Joe" crew acknowledged that other senior military figures privately criticize Obama. McChrystal's error appaerently was in trusting a free lance journalist working with Rolling Stone, or perhaps in not clarifying what was off the record.

The article isn't yet publicly available. All we know about it comes from other media sources who have seen advance copies.

Gen. McChrystal is on his way to the White House from the Afghanistan theatre. There will be more news soon.

Update: The complete text of the Rolling Stone article, courtesy of Sweetness & Light.
It looks like sensational quotes from staff were released to the press prior to publication.

Update: Jeff Dunetz has an intriguing analysis at Big Government. A couple of highlights:

The interview of General McChrystal and his in Rolling Stone was not an accident, it's a perfect  example of suicide by interview.  The General knew that every criticism would be "on the record."  He also knew that the President will have no choice but to relieve the General of his command after their meeting tomorrow.

[....]
The Rolling Stone interview highlights the difference in the leadership styles of the President and the General. When this President faces a crisis,  he looks for someone either internally or externally to blame. On the other hand, the General sees the War in Afghanistan reaching a crisis point because of the way it is being waged, rather than looking to find a scapegoat in his ranks as Obama would do, McChrystal found a way to let the country know what is really happening, while at the same time redirect any criticism for the war effort, away from his men and on to his own wide shoulders.

General Stanley McChrystal's career is hanging by a thread in the wake of revelations contained in a forthcoming article in Rolling Stone, quoting the General criticizing President Obama and some of his team members. Gordon Lubold of Politico writes:

The article, titled "The Runaway General," appears in the magazine later this week. It contains a number of jabs by McChrystal and his staff aimed not only at the President but at Vice President Biden, special envoy Richard Holbrooke, Karl Eikenberry, the ambassador to Afghanistan, and others.

McChrystal described his first meeting with Obama as disappointing and said that Obama was unprepared for the meeting.

National Security Advisor Jim Jones is described by a McChrystal aide as a "clown" stuck in 1985.

Others aides joked about Biden's last name as sounding like "Bite me" since Biden opposed the surge.
McChrystal has already apologized publicly:

"It was a mistake reflecting poor judgment and should never have happened," McChrystal said. "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."
The White House flacks at MSNBC's "Morning Joe," where they yesterday confessed to "working with the White House" on talking points, focused on the outrage of criticizing the commander-in-chief, not on the substance of the remarks:

"This general has to be fired, he has to be gone by the end of the day," said Joe Scarborough, on "Morning Joe" on MSNBC.

"Gates and Petraeus have to come out and fire McChrystal." They should have already done it - Petreaus and Gates should have already fired McChrystal."

But firing McChrystal could be a problem for Obama. First is the question of a replacement. Is there anyone as qualified as this widely-respected expert on counter-terror? The war is going badly, and a sudden change in command could make matters worse.

Then there is the awkward question of the substance of the General's remarks, especially about a commander-in-chief who doesn't do his homework. Afghanistan is Obama's war, the one he said we must win. His management of the war may be consistent with his inept, lazy management of the Gulf oil spill. The American people will not be reassured by the appointment of a replacement for McChrystal whose principal qualification is keeping his mouth shut about the incompetence he sees around him in the conduct of war.

I suspect the General assumed some of his remarks, and conversations with others, were off-the-record. The "Morning Joe" crew acknowledged that other senior military figures privately criticize Obama. McChrystal's error appaerently was in trusting a free lance journalist working with Rolling Stone, or perhaps in not clarifying what was off the record.

The article isn't yet publicly available. All we know about it comes from other media sources who have seen advance copies.

Gen. McChrystal is on his way to the White House from the Afghanistan theatre. There will be more news soon.

Update: The complete text of the Rolling Stone article, courtesy of Sweetness & Light.
It looks like sensational quotes from staff were released to the press prior to publication.

Update: Jeff Dunetz has an intriguing analysis at Big Government. A couple of highlights:

The interview of General McChrystal and his in Rolling Stone was not an accident, it's a perfect  example of suicide by interview.  The General knew that every criticism would be "on the record."  He also knew that the President will have no choice but to relieve the General of his command after their meeting tomorrow.

[....]
The Rolling Stone interview highlights the difference in the leadership styles of the President and the General. When this President faces a crisis,  he looks for someone either internally or externally to blame. On the other hand, the General sees the War in Afghanistan reaching a crisis point because of the way it is being waged, rather than looking to find a scapegoat in his ranks as Obama would do, McChrystal found a way to let the country know what is really happening, while at the same time redirect any criticism for the war effort, away from his men and on to his own wide shoulders.