McChrystal’s candid view of his civilian leadership


Originally uploaded by The White House

President Barack Obama meets with Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the Commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, aboard Air Force One in Copenhagen, Denmark on Oct. 2, 2009. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza)

Rolling Stone gets McChrystal to give his honest opinion of members of the Obama Administration.

Gen McChrystal also appears to joke in response to a question about the vice-president.

“Are you asking about Vice-President Biden?” McChrystal asks. “Who’s that?”

An aide then says: “Biden? Did you say: Bite Me?”

Another aide refers to a key Oval Office meeting with the president a year ago.

The aide says it was “a 10-minute photo op”, adding: “Obama clearly didn’t know anything about him, who he was… he didn’t seem very engaged. The boss was pretty disappointed.”

Gen McChrystal himself says: “I found that time painful. I was selling an unsellable position.”

Another aide refers to national security adviser, James Jones, as a “clown stuck in 1985”.

Of an e-mail from US special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke, Gen McChrystal says: “Oh, not another e-mail from Holbrooke… I don’t even want to open it.”

Last year’s Afghan strategy review by the new president was detailed and drawn out, with Gen McChrystal finally getting an additional 30,000 US troops from Mr Obama.

Analysts say Gen McChrystal disagreed with the pledge to start bringing troops home in July 2011.

Meanwhile the US congressional report says that trucks carrying supplies to US troops allegedly pay the Afghan security firms to ensure their safe passage in dangerous areas.

The convoys are attacked if payments are not made, it is alleged.

via BBC News – US general McChrystal sorry for Rolling Stone ‘error’.

Sound familiar? Remember McChrystal’s speech in October 2009 speech in London?

An adviser to the administration said: “People aren’t sure whether McChrystal is being naïve or an upstart. To my mind he doesn’t seem ready for this Washington hard-ball and is just speaking his mind too plainly.”

In London, Gen McChrystal, who heads the 68,000 US troops in Afghanistan as well as the 100,000 Nato forces, flatly rejected proposals to switch to a strategy more reliant on drone missile strikes and special forces operations against al-Qaeda.

He told the Institute of International and Strategic Studies that the formula, which is favoured by Vice-President Joe Biden, would lead to “Chaos-istan”.

When asked whether he would support it, he said: “The short answer is: No.”

He went on to say: “Waiting does not prolong a favorable outcome. This effort will not remain winnable indefinitely, and nor will public support.”

The remarks have been seen by some in the Obama administration as a barbed reference to the slow pace of debate within the White House.

via White House angry at General Stanley McChrystal speech on Afghanistan – Telegraph.

It seems the White House aide may be the naive one and McChrystal is an upstart who understands Washington politics well enough. Or maybe McChrystal is the angry guy who vents every smoke break. Either way, his disdain for the strategy he has been tasked to execute needs to be dealt with by the Administration since he cannot deal with it himself.

UPDATE: Looks like it’s being dealt with.

An angry President Obama summoned his top commander in Afghanistan to Washington on Tuesday after a magazine article portrayed the general and his staff as openly contemptuous of some senior members of the Obama administration.

An administration official said the commander, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, would meet with President Obama and Vice President Biden at the White House on Wednesday “to explain to the Pentagon and the commander in chief his quotes in the piece,” which appears in the July 8-22 edition of Rolling Stone. General McChrystal was scheduled to attend a monthly meeting on Afghanistan by teleconference, the official said, but was directed to return to Washington in light of the article.

via McChrystal Is Summoned to Washington Over Remarks –

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