Via Fox News:
The top U.S. war commander in Afghanistan is being called to the White House for a face-to-face meeting with President Obama after issuing an apology Tuesday for an interview in which he described the president as unprepared for their first meeting.
In the article in this week’s issue of Rolling Stone, Gen. Stanley McChrystal also said he felt betrayed and blind-sided by his diplomatic partner, Ambassador Karl Eikenberry.
McChrystal’s comments are reverberating through Washington and the Pentagon after the magazine depicted him as a lone wolf on the outs with many important figures in the Obama administration.
It characterized him as unable to convince some of his own soldiers that his strategy can win the nation’s longest-running war and dejected that the president didn’t know about his commendable military record.
In Kabul on Tuesday, McChrystal issued a statement saying: “I extend my sincerest apology for this profile. It was a mistake reflecting poor judgment and should never have happened.”
NBC reported first Tuesday that McChrystal was called to the White House Situation Room on Wednesday to explain his comments to the magazine directly to the president.
The article says that although McChrystal voted for Obama, the two failed to connect from the start. Obama called McChrystal on the carpet last fall for speaking too bluntly about his desire for more troops.
“I found that time painful,” McChrystal said in the article, on newsstands Friday. “I was selling an unsellable position.”
It quoted an adviser to McChrystal dismissing the early meeting with Obama as a “10-minute photo op.”
Here’s a PDF link, courtesy of The Politico, of the Rolling Stone article.
Jim Geraghty has a good take:
Many people I know think highly of McChrystal, and he has earned his accolades. But a general in the American armed forces cannot, on the record, mock or deride the vice president and the U.S. ambassador, much less the president of the United States. You and I can; we’re just some schmoes; we don’t report to him in the chain of command. I’m sure many generals have thought many colorful expressions of criticism toward presidents over the years, but they cannot blab them to reporters.
Presuming these quotes are accurate and that McChrystal wasn’t foolish enough to think that an “off-the-record” quote of such color and power would stay off the record, one cannot help but get the feeling that McChrystal is ready to leave, and has chosen this manner to do so.
Will be interesting to see the left’s reaction to McChrystal’s comments in light of how they viewed crictism of President Bush from active duty troops who were serving in Iraq an Afghanistan, which is to say they viewed them as a “free speech” issue – especially if the criticism was especially harsh (which was rare). Now, of course, they’ll be on the “correct” side of the issue but not because they believe the CIC shouldn’t be slammed by his own Generals in a time of war, but rather because this particular General criticized The One.
Geraghty is right on criticism of the CIC during a time of war by the Armed Forces. That’s not to say you can’t criticize, but you have to do it in a way that is constructive and doesn’t give off the impression of disunity between the military and the CIC while boots are still on the ground. That was true when Bush was President and is true now with Obama as President and will be true for future Presidents, even in the cases where we might agree with the criticisms.
Am interested in your thoughts, especially those of you who have served in the military (past and/or present). I know this is a particularly sensitive issue for people in the military, especially the ones who want to speak out about a particular issue but feel honor/duty-bound to keep quiet.