Report: General McChrystal ‘offered to resign’
General Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, has “offered to resign” according to Time magazine’s Joe Klein, who spoke to CNN.
Klein cites an unnamed yet “very reliable” source. The network was working to confirm the claim at time of this writing.
An earlier version of this story cited Klein in reporting that McChrystal had already resigned. Klein, via Twitter, later issued a “clarification.”
General McChrystal was summoned to Washington, D.C. on Tuesday morning after an unflattering profile by Rolling Stone magazine quoted him mocking Vice President Joe Biden, and his aides slamming Obama and other officials.
An earlier wire report follows…
In the feature, McChrystal jokes sarcastically about preparing to answer a question referring to Vice President Joe Biden, known as a skeptic of the commander’s war strategy.
“‘Are you asking about Vice President Biden?’ McChrystal says with a laugh. ‘Who’s that?'” the article quotes him as saying.
“‘Biden?’ suggests a top adviser. ‘Did you say: Bite Me?'”
McChrystal tells the magazine that he felt “betrayed” by the US ambassador to Kabul, Karl Eikenberry, in a White House debate over war strategy last year.
Referring to a leaked internal memo from Eikenberry that questioned McChrystal’s request for more troops, the commander suggested the ambassador had tried to protect himself for history’s sake.
“I like Karl, I’ve known him for years, but they’d never said anything like that to us before,” McChrystal tells the magazine.
“Here’s one that covers his flank for the history books. Now if we fail, they can say, ‘I told you so.'”
Eikenberry, himself a former commander in Afghanisan, had written to the White House saying Afghan President Hamid Karzai was an unreliable partner and that a surge of troops could draw the United States into a open-ended quagmire.
The article revisits the friction between the White House and the military last fall as Obama debated whether to grant McChrystal’s request for tens of thousands of reinforcements.
Although Obama in the end granted most of what McChrystal asked for, the strategy review was a difficult time, the general tells the magazine.
“I found that time painful,” McChrystal says. “I was selling an unsellable position.”
An unnamed adviser to McChrystal alleges the general came away unimpressed after a meeting with Obama in the Oval Office a year ago, just after the president named him to take over in Afghanistan.
“It was a 10-minute photo op,” the general’s adviser says.
“Obama clearly didn’t know anything about him, who he was… he didn’t seem very engaged.
“The boss was pretty disappointed,” says the adviser.