Sunday 23rd of January 2022

reflecting poor judgment

bad call...

From the 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 top US commander in Afghanistan has apologised for a magazine article that mocks senior Obama administration officials and diplomats.

Gen Stanley McChrystal said the article in Rolling Stone showed "poor judgement" and a lack of integrity.

In the article Gen McChrystal said he felt betrayed by US ambassador to Kabul, Karl Eikenberry.

The general's aides mock Vice-President Joe Biden and say Gen McChrystal was "disappointed" in President Obama.


The Rolling Stone article - The Runaway General - is due out on Friday but Gen McChrystal has quickly sought to limit the damage.

He said in a statement on Tuesday: "I extend my sincerest apology for this profile.

recalled to Washington

The future of the US military's top commander in Afghanistan is in doubt after he and his staff made disparaging remarks about the Obama administration to a journalist.

General Stanley McChrystal has been recalled to Washington to explain the comments, made during an interview with Rolling Stone magazine.

The article quotes the general and his aides criticising vice-president Joe Biden, describing another official as a "clown", and voicing the disappointment the general felt when he first met president Barack Obama.

This morning Mr Obama, who will meet General McChrystal in Washington tomorrow, refused to rule out sacking the general, who is in charge of the current US-led surge in Afghanistan.

"I think it is clear that the article in which he and his team appeared showed a poor judgment," Mr Obama said. "But I also want to make sure that I talk to him directly before I make any final decision."

down in a platoon

General Faces Unease Among His Own Troops, Too


Riding shotgun in an armored vehicle as it passed through the heat and confusion of southern Afghanistan this month, an Army sergeant spoke into his headset, summarizing a sentiment often heard in the field this year.

“I wish we had generals who remembered what it was like when they were down in a platoon,” he said to a reporter in the back. “Either they never have been in real fighting, or they forgot what it’s like.”

The sergeant was speaking of Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal and the circle of counterinsurgents who since last year have been running the Afghan war, and who have, as a matter of both policy and practice, made it much more difficult for troops to use airstrikes and artillery in the fight against the Taliban.

No matter the outcome of his meeting on Wednesday in Washington over caustic comments he and his staff made about President Obama and his national security team, the general, or his successor, faces problems from a constituency as important as his bosses and that no commander wants to lose: his own troops.

As levels of violence in Afghanistan climb, there is a palpable and building sense of unease among troops surrounding one of the most confounding questions about how to wage the war: when and how lethal force should be used.

Since last year, the counterinsurgency doctrine championed by those now leading the campaign has assumed an almost unchallenged supremacy in the ranks of the American military’s career officers. The doctrine, which has been supported by both the Bush and Obama administrations, rests on core assumptions, including that using lethal force against an insurgency intermingled with a civilian population is often counterproductive.

top goner...

The top US military commander in Afghanistan, Gen Stanley McChrystal, has been dismissed by President Barack Obama after critical comments about senior US officials in a magazine.

He will be replaced by Gen David Petraeus, who led the "surge" strategy in Iraq.

Mr Obama insisted it was "a change in personnel but not a change in policy".

Gen McChrystal said in a statement he had resigned out of a "desire to see the mission succeed".

The announcement that Gen McChrystal was standing down came after he had met Mr Obama at the White House on Wednesday to discuss the content of the Rolling Stone magazine article.

Mr Obama said he had made the decision to replace Gen McChrystal "with considerable regret" but added that he had failed to "meet the standard that should be set by a commanding general".

"I believe it is the right decision for our national security," Mr Obama said.

"I don't make this decision based on any difference in policy with General McChrystal... nor do I make this decision out of any sense of personal insult."

He said that the general's conduct "undermines the civilian control of the military that's at the core of our democratic system".

rules of engagement...

But the command has concluded from its own review of events that McChrystal was betrayed when the journalist quoted banter among the general and his staff, much of which they thought was off the record. They contend that the magazine inaccurately depicted the attribution ground rules for the interviews.

"Many of the sessions were off-the-record and intended to give [reporter Michael Hastings] a sense" of how McChrystal's team operated, according to a senior military official. The command's own review of events, the official said, gleaned "no evidence to suggest" that any of the "salacious political quotes" in the article were made during a series of on-the-record and background interviews Hastings conducted with McChrystal and others.

The official, one of many subject to a Pentagon advisory not to discuss the situation without authorization, spoke on condition of anonymity.


That's right — blame one journalist...

In this case the most mighty of men, a four star general leading 150,000 elite troops, in a war against an elusive pissy poorly equiped enemies who use a few dirty tactics to defend their land, is humbled by a couple of hours of chitchat...

Not on your nelly.

If that chitchat was able to expose the achilles heel of the man or the colour of his guts, it also shows he's not fit to actually negociate, nor fit to deal with tricky situations nor have the magnitude of command necessary to do the job in a difficult political environment. This includes the dicey politics of Afghanistan and the directives of his commanding officer, the president of the USA.

Many journalists live on crumbs. The modern scribes have a small tape recorder at their disposal to show that all that had been written was said in earnest.

Strangely, many journalists live by the journalist code of ethics and are above reproach. A few are not journalists despite having the label — they are gutter snipers. But I firmy believe that McChrystal was too naive to talk, thus too naive to lead. He was not mislead. He was coaxed into expressing his true sentiments. That, my friend if you don't want the world to know your angsts, you make sure you hold the gun and don't spill the beans at any time...

Many a good journalists do a fine job — often a job that is not easy in the fog of war and the bullshit from politicians. The mighty general should have stuck to the bullshit if he was prepared to win. Not only that, the team contesting of the article shows the entire team of the General, is suspect and easily subject to the style of army jokes that lead to innocent lives being taken with inhumanity and without care. We expect better than that.

he knows a reporter...

McChrystal Ends Service With Regret and a Laugh


WASHINGTON — Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal retired on Friday with the full pageantry of a 17-gun salute, an Army marching band and an emotional send-off from the secretary of defense, but with his own acknowledgment that he was not leaving the military on his own terms.

“Look, this has the potential to be an awkward or even a sad occasion,” he told 500 guests on the historic parade ground of Fort McNair, in his first public comments since he was fired by President Obama. He added, “My service did not end as I would have wished.”

But General McChrystal, who was relieved of his command of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan last month after he and his aides were quoted in a Rolling Stone article making disparaging remarks about Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and other top civilian leaders, also took the occasion to joke about his circumstances.

“I have stories on all of you, photos on many,” he told his old friends in the crowd. Then he suggested that he had just the method for making those stories public, adding, “And I know a Rolling Stone reporter.” The crowd broke into laughter, then applause.