June 22nd, 2010
07:21 AM ET

McChrystal apologizes for remarks critical of civilian officials

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, apologized early Tuesday for a magazine profile in which he and his staff appear to mock top civilian officials, including the vice president.

Follow the latest developments at CNN's This Just In blog

The article is scheduled to appear in Friday's edition of Rolling Stone. [Update: Rolling Stone's article online]

"I extend my sincerest apology for this profile. It was a mistake reflecting poor judgment and should never have happened," McChrystal said in a Pentagon statement. "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."

In the profile, author Michael Hastings writes that McChrystal and his staff had imagined ways of dismissing Vice President Joe Biden with a one-liner as they prepared for a question-and-answer session in Paris, France, in April. The general had grown tired of questions about Biden since earlier dismissing a counterterrorism strategy the vice president had offered.

"'Are you asking about Vice President Biden?' McChrystal says with a laugh. 'Who's that?'" Hastings writes.

"'Biden?' suggests a top adviser. 'Did you say: Bite Me?'"

The article goes on to paint McChrystal as a man who "has managed to piss off almost everyone with a stake in the conflict," including U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, Special Representative to Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke and National Security Adviser Jim Jones.

Of Eikenberry, who railed against McChrystal's strategy in Afghanistan in a cable leaked to The New York Times in January, the general said, "'Here's one that covers his flank for the history books. Now if we fail, they can say, "I told you so.'"

Hastings writes in the profile that McChrystal has a "special skepticism" for Holbrooke, the official in charge of reintegrating Taliban members into Afghan society.

"At one point on his trip to Paris, McChrystal checks his BlackBerry. 'Oh, not another e-mail from Holbrooke,' he groans. 'I don't even want to open it.' He clicks on the message and reads the salutation out loud, then stuffs the BlackBerry back in his pocket, not bothering to conceal his annoyance."

"'Make sure you don't get any of that on your leg,' an aide jokes, referring to the e-mail."

The White House could not immediately be reached for comment on the article.

"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," McChrystal said in the closing to his apology.

CNN's Barbara Starr contributed to this report.

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