General Stanley McChrystal is being called on the White House carpet after a magazine article released this week quoted the general and his staff criticizing the Obama administration and its Afghanistan strategy. McChrystal and Obama meet regularly to discuss Afghanistan via videoconference. But after the Rolling Stone McChrystal profile broke, detailing the general’s disdain for his boss, Obama demanded to see him this time in person. This isn’t the first time the general has bad-mouthed the administration in public.
McChrystal’s Obama contempt
In the article, General McChrystal and his staff reveal their contempt with several officials carrying out the administration’s Afghanistan war policy. Fox News reports that the article in this week’s Rolling Stone quotes McChrystal making disparaging remarks about President Obama, mocking Vice President Joe Biden, feeling “betrayed” by U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry, and recalling how Obama looked “uncomfortable and intimidated” by a roomful of military officers. An aide to McChrystal also calls National Security Adviser Jim Jones “a clown” who remains “stuck in 1985.”
McChrystal Rolling Stone fallout
General McChrystal will attend a White House meeting with Biden and many of the other advisers whom McChrystal or his staff mocked in the article. The general has fired Duncan Boothby, the press aide who booked the McChrystal Rolling Stone interview. The Washington Post reports that the timing of the Rolling Stone article by freelance journalist Michael Hastings could hardly be worse. With little but bad news coming out of McChrystal’s Afghanistan war and increasing casualties, U.S. lawmakers and senior officials from allied countries are increasingly skeptical about the U.S. Afghanistan strategy. Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that Afghan President Hamid Karzai strongly backs McChrystal in Afghanistan and hopes Obama doesn’t decide to replace him.
General McChrystal does it again
General McChrystal’s Afghanistan remarks have veered off-message before. Last year after the general’s evaluations and recommendations for the Afghanistan war were made public, he gave a speech in London openly criticizing administration officials, vice president Joe Biden in particular, who disagreed with him. On that occasion McChrystal was called on the carpet of Air Force One in Copenhagen, where the president had traveled to speak about Chicago’s bid to host the Olympics. The New York Times reports that General McChrystal has apologized for his remarks, saying the article was “a mistake reflecting poor judgment and should never have happened.”