As Gen. Stanley McChrystal makes the long trip back to Washington, pundits are weighing in on whether a Rolling Stone magazine article about the “Runaway General” could be grounds for the man in charge of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan to step down from his post.
Below is a roundup of the top 10 excerpts from that article, which is slated to come out this Friday.
- “Are you asking about Vice President Biden?” McChrystal says with a laugh. “Who’s that?”
“Biden?” suggests a top adviser. “Did you say: Bite me?”
- Even though he had voted for Obama, McChrystal and his new commander in chief failed from the outset to connect…. According to sources familiar with the meeting, McChrystal thought Obama looked “uncomfortable and intimidated” by the roomful of military brass. Their first one-on-one meeting took place in the Oval Office four months later…. “It was a 10-minute photo op,” says an adviser to McChrystal. “Obama clearly didn’t know anything about him, who he was. Here’s a guy who’s going to run his fucking war, but he didn’t seem very engaged. The Boss was pretty disappointed.
- Last fall, with his top general calling for more troops, Obama launched a three-month review to re-evaluate the strategy in Afghanistan. “I found that time painful,” McChrystal tells me in one of several lengthy interviews. “I was selling an unsellable position.”
- The biggest military operation of the year – a ferocious offensive that began in February to re-take the southern town of Marja – continues to drag on, prompting McChrystal himself to refer to it as a “bleeding ulcer.”
- In private, Team McChrystal likes to talk shit about many of Obama’s top people on the diplomatic side…. Politicians like McCain and Kerry, says another aide, “turn up, have a meeting with [President Hamid] Karzai, criticize him at the airport press conference, then get back for Sunday talk shows. Frankly, it’s not very helpful.”
- “Oh, not another e-mail from Holbrooke,” [McChrystal] groans. “I don’t even want to open it.”
- By far the most crucial — and strained — relationship is between McChrystal and Eikenberry, the U.S. ambassador.
- “We’ve shot an amazing number of people,” McChrystal recently conceded.
- “Bottom line?” says a former Special Forces operator who has spent years in Iraq and Afghanistan. “I would love to kick McChrystal in the nuts. His rules of engagement put soldiers’ lives in even greater danger. Every real soldier will tell you the same thing.”
- McChrystal may have sold President Obama on counterinsurgency, but many of his own men aren’t buying it.