McChrystal Apologizes for Remarks on Administration Officials in Magazine

The U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, apologized for criticizing top officials of the Obama administration in a magazine profile to be published this week.

McChrystal issued a five-sentence statement after news organizations published excerpts from an article to appear in Rolling Stone. The article quotes the general and his aides as disparaging Vice-President Joseph Biden, special envoy for Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke and U.S. ambassador to Kabul Karl Eikenberry.

McChrystal spoke with exasperation upon getting a BlackBerry message from Holbrooke during the Rolling Stone interview, according to an account by the Washington Post, which said it got a copy of the article from its author, Michael Hastings. “Oh, not another e-mail from Holbrooke. I don’t even want to read it,” it quoted McChrystal as saying.

“I extend my sincerest apology,” McChrystal said in the statement e-mailed by the press office of his command, the International Security Assistance Force, in Afghanistan. “It was a mistake reflecting poor judgment and should never have happened.”

The Post’s and other accounts say McChrystal spoke of feeling betrayed by an Eikenberry memo leaked to news organizations last year in which the ambassador criticized Afghan President Hamid Karzai as an inadequate partner for the war effort McChrystal was leading. As the top U.S. civilian and military officials in Afghanistan, Eikenberry and McChrystal are required to jointly implement U.S. policy in the country.

“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 statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: James Rupert in New Delhi at jrupert3@bloomberg.net

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