July 23rd, 2010
09:14 AM ET

McChrystal: Career didn't end as I wished

[Update] At his retirement ceremony, Gen. Stanley McChrystal says his career didn't end as he'd wished. Watch part of McChrystal's speech

[Original post] A ceremony honoring retiring Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal is scheduled for Friday in Washington.

McChrystal's illustrious career came to an abrupt end when he resigned as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan after he and his staff were quoted in a Rolling Stone magazine article criticizing and mocking key administration officials.

The West Point graduate and a former Green Beret was a senior official for Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen.

Between 2003 and 2008, he was the commander of the highly clandestine Joint Special Operations Command, which oversees the military's most sensitive forces, including the Army's Delta Force.

In 2009, Defense Secretary Robert Gates asked for the resignation of Gen. David D. McKiernan, the former U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan. McChrystal would have "fresh eyes on the problem" in Afghanistan, Gates said at the time.

President Obama tapped McChrystal in June 2009 to be the top commander in Afghanistan.

McChrystal was known for his discretion and keeping the media at arms length. That perception was shattered when the infamous Rolling Stone article came out in June.

He did not directly criticize Obama in the article, but reporter Michael Hastings writes that the general and Obama "failed from the outset to connect" after the president took office.

Sources familiar with their first meeting said McChrystal thought Obama looked "uncomfortable and intimidated" by the room full of top military officials, according to the article.

The journalist wrote that an unnamed aide to McChrystal mocks Vice President Joe Biden.

McChrystal did not deny the article's accuracy. In a statement, he called the comments "a mistake" and apologized for "poor judgment."

The retirement ceremony will be at 6 p.m. at Fort McNair, the Defense Department said.

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Filed under: McChrystal
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. IListen

    I completely disagree that McChrystal shoould be allowed to retire with full honors. Not only for his very embarrassing, highly unprofessionalism, but solely that his conduct was a way of walking away with accepting responsibility for a failed military strategy in Afghanistan. McChrystal's comments in Rolling Stones was a shift of responsibilities from himself to the WH. As a retired military vet, I am shamed by McChrystal speaking of his commander, our commander, iin such a manner. To me, McChrystal disrespected our entire nation and an important foundation of it. I would not trust him in any elected office or on any executive board. It was McChrystal who developed the war plans for Afghanistan, as generals do for all wars. The president provides what the objective is and then the general develops military plans to accomplish those objectives. Just like during WWI & WWII the generals for major campaigns bore the responsibility for success or failure in a military campaign. Actually, it has been this way since war came into fruition. This is the chivalry of being a general.

    July 25, 2010 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |

    Here is a man who dedicated his whole life to serve and protect.if you could do better drop in to your recruitment office and join up. If you want to see real villains look at bp and the boys and how they destroyed the gulf.

    July 25, 2010 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  3. David

    Gen. McChrystal is ten times the man President Obama is and i would vote for him in a secound. I am one of those crazy Tee Party people.

    July 24, 2010 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |

      Well I'm not,David.But I guess you Tea Partiers will get your candidates elected this fall and this country will spiral downward like Germany did during WW2.

      July 25, 2010 at 2:10 am | Report abuse |
  4. Joe Roberts

    Gen. McChrystal was both a BN and Regimental Commander of mine (2/75 Rangers and 75th Ranger Regiment). As busy as his schedule was, I was fortunate enough to have him re-elist me in July of 97. Just prior to attending the CDQC (Combat Diver Qualification Cource) Key West FL. As last mintute as the event was (cetainly not on his schedule of events while visiting) "Ranger McChrystal" took as much time as needed to talk one on one with my wife at the time.
    It was a huge learning event for me as leader when he asked "So why is she (my wife) standing over there and we are over here (meaning she should be recognized as well). It was great reminder for all that personally/professionally don't take for granted who and what yo have around you.

    July 24, 2010 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  5. IFM

    Attention! There's a "General Officer" in the room. "Airborne All The Way" Retired US Veteran.

    July 24, 2010 at 7:07 am | Report abuse |
  6. Lin McKay


    July 23, 2010 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. nik2

    the wrong guy in that room got fired

    July 23, 2010 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jesus

    He leaves with a legacy of incompetence, insubordination, and gross stupidity. Too bad he didn't get out as an LTC long ago. He obviously rose to a position way above his capabilities. Thank goodness we have intelligent and competent leaders like General Patraeus to clean up this schmuck's mess.

    July 23, 2010 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Smith in Oregon

    How do you honor the commander of the most depraved torture camp in all of Iraq, Camp NAMA? Gen McChrystal should have been entirely stripped of his ranking as General and forced to resign. It is utterly corrupt when Army Investigators were forced under threats of death to not be able to enter camp NAMA and see the reported blowtorch burns on Iraqi soldier POW's themselves and now treat that commander like a hero.

    July 23, 2010 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel-2

      Quite right again,Smith.

      July 23, 2010 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
      • Batnasty

        Guys like you really push my buttons. This guy has served over 34 years for this country, sure he should be able to step down with honor. If everyone were like you guys, we wouldn't have a military. Its the heart of the volunteer that makes the US so great

        July 23, 2010 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • BFOTO

      If it were not for guys like McCrystal then numb nuts like you would not have the luxury of being able to utter such stupid stuff. The secret police would come knocking at your door in the middle of the night. MccCrystal may not be perfect but he and his men spoke th truth about out "courageous" President and VP.

      July 26, 2010 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
  10. Melvin

    Who looks uncomfortable and intimidated now, he who laughs last laughs the loudest.

    July 23, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • gsnlou

      I know, it is Osama Bin Laden!! Am I right?

      July 24, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
      • "JOE"

        OR maybe that piggyback ridding loser from Cuba or N.Korea. I hope they are next.

        July 28, 2010 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Tom

    I cant believe Obama decided to dismiss McChrystal from his duties . McChrystal is gun slinger and gets his hands dirty, so he spoke the truth. Rolling Stone is a liberal magazine that will never have another opportunity to have connection with military operations. McChrystal was making a different in afghanistan then the previous commanders. I cant believe this leaders of this so call free nation are weak minded and have to be mentally prepared from what others have to say. Nevertheless, McChrystal is force to retire and end his 30 plus years in service. And i dont even want to start with Obama. So I wish the best of luck for General McChrystal and I would love to see him run for president because obama isnt going to be there for the next president reelection. Remember, the only way to beat the insurgent is to destroyed or denied there resources but their own country men and women are the ones that can only destroy the insurgents not us.

    July 23, 2010 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dennis1020

      If a couple of Colonels under General McChrystal's command spoke the same way of him that he spoke of the POTUS, what do you suppose would have happened to their careers? McChrystal was a great warrior, but as he himself admitted he showed poor judgment and had to know his career was over when his words hit print.

      July 23, 2010 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
      • BFOTO

        Lack of judgement, or just big enough cojones to call it like it is?

        July 26, 2010 at 12:16 am | Report abuse |
    • gsnlou

      Good call, Tom. Gen. Stan McCrystal was a real warrior. Sure he is not as classy and philosophical as Gen. Patreaus, but that guy got the job done. Offing Abu Musab Al Zarkawi and authorizing black missions to Pakistan targeting Al Qaeda/Taliban higher up were part of his work, and the Army needs a guy like that. That man eats and sleeps and even went for patrols like them grunts. It was just too bad that he, as the top guy in 'ghan, has to deal with the bureaucratic cr@p and protocols that never has been his nature. You can catch that in that interview itself that he had been trying to explain strategy to his troops and some of the strategies that he was not agreed on but had to defend because of some civilians in DC said so.

      Much like the cliche of CIA, if secrets were his power, then only the most damaging secret would be leaked out while the good stuffs still remain classified. Sure, he has, on paper, "overseen" the torture camps in Iraq while chairing for JSOC, sure he was part of the Pat Tilman coverup, sure there will be fault if it is your job to keep secrets because they are controversial and not to be publicized, but he did do those things because that mess of DefSec Rumsfeld told him so. Would we ever know the full story? not by a long shot. What a waste of potential indeed.

      Personally, I do not think that he would fare well in election. Both Grant and Eisenhower ran with their fame as the generals of the armies and as the persons that ENDED a war. McCrystal is not well known before his story ran into Rolling Stone and Afghanistan has not been won yet.

      July 24, 2010 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ken

    Right now, as in 1952 when General Dwight Eisenhower was elected President, we need a military mind to reverse our liberal bent. Personally I for one believe most of what was said and reported in Rolling Stone was not an accident. It just rings much to true coming from a military mind. He simply spoke the truth!

    July 23, 2010 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • jesus

      Comparing a remarkable General like Ike to stumble bum McChrystal is an insult to Ike. Ike was brilliant. Stanley was a fool. It's as simple as that!

      July 23, 2010 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • "JOE"

      HOOAH again! ! !

      July 28, 2010 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Frank

    Personally I wish he would run and yes it would be interesteing. I would love to see a democratic option with his crdentials, love of country and ability. Anybody but the clown/socialist that's in the WH now.

    July 23, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • jesus

      Perhaps a Sarah-Stanley ticket would suit your political leanings. It would go well with the GOP's apparent desire to dumb down America with more incompetent choices.

      July 23, 2010 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • "JOE"


      July 28, 2010 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Tweet

    I second that, Jerry get a job and then you'll have more money to do the things you proabaly like. You know, support illegals, fund abortions , gay rights, Al Queda and the ACLU.

    July 23, 2010 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  15. Frank


    You sound like another wacko liberal (for the record I'm an Independent). Typically naive and ultimately dangerous. Idiot.

    July 23, 2010 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Jerry

      If McChrystal decides to run,who are the ignorant,lame-brained Tea Partiers going to vote for?Quite interesting,don't you agree,Frank?

      July 23, 2010 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  16. Daniel-2

    But will he run against Barack Obama in 2012?Quite interesting,but as president he can hardly do worse!

    July 23, 2010 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Jerry

      Better him than some kneejerk Republican.

      July 23, 2010 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |