McChrystal Apologizes for Reported Remarks on Aides, Washington Post Says
Jun 22, 2010
By Ernesto Londoño June 22 (Washington Post) -- KABUL -- The top U.S. general in Afghanistan apologized Tuesday for a magazine article that portrays him and his staff as flippant and dismissive of top Obama administration officials involved in Afghanistan policy. The profile in Rolling Stone magazine, titled the "Runaway General," is certain to increase tension between the White House and Gen. Stanley McChrystal. It also raises fresh questions about the judgment and leadership style of the commander Obama appointed last year in an effort to turn around a worsening conflict. McChrystal and some of his senior advisors are quoted criticizing top administration officials, at times in starkly derisive terms. An anonymous McChrystal aide is quoted calling national security adviser James Jones a "clown." Referring to Richard Holbrooke, Obama's senior envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, one McChrystal aide is quoted saying: "The Boss says he's like a wounded animal. Holbrooke keeps hearing rumors that he's going to get fired, so that makes him dangerous." On one occasion, McChrystal appears to react with exasperation when he receives an e-mail from Holbrooke, saying, "Oh, not another e-mail from Holbrooke. I don't even want to read it." U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry, a retired three-star general, isn't spared. Referring to a leaked cable from Eikenberry that expressed concerns about the trustworthiness of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, McChrystal is quoted as having said: "Here's one that covers his flank for the history books. Now if we fail, they can say, 'I told you so.'" A U.S. embassy spokeswoman said she had no immediate comment on the piece. The magazine hits newsstands Friday. The Washington Post received an advance copy from the profile's author, Michael Hastings, a freelance journalist who has written for the Post. "I extend my sincerest apology for this profile," McChrystal said in a statement issued Tuesday morning. "It was a mistake reflecting poor judgment and it should have never happened." The timing of the piece could hardly be worse. Amid a flurry of bad news in Afghanistan and a sharp rise in NATO casualties, U.S. lawmakers and senior officials from NATO allied countries are asking increasingly sharp questions about the U.S.-led war strategy. Dutch and Canadian troops are scheduled to pull out within the next year. And the White House has said it will start drawing down U.S. forces next July. The magazine story shows that McChrystal is also facing criticism from some of his own troops who have grown frustrated with new rules that force commanders be extraordinarily judicious in using lethal force. In his statement, McChrystal says he has "enormous respect and admiration for President Obama and his national security team." "Throughout my career, I have lived by the principles of personal honor and professional integrity," the general said. "What is reflected in this article falls far short of that standard."