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Rolling Stone editor: All quotes dissing Obama admin came from McChrystal's "inner circle"

Here's another reason why it's going to be very tough for Stanley McChrystal to survive tomorrow's meeting with the President: According to Rolling Stone's managing editor, all the quotes dissing Obama and his administration came directly from members of McChrystal's inner circle.

That's not too surprising, but it's worth noting, because the article itself isn't totally clear on where the worst quotes came from.

For instance, the "bite me" quote slamming Joe Biden, and the one hitting Middle East envoy Jim Jones as a "clown," are both sourced to "aides." The quote ripping Richard Holbrooke is attributed to a "member of the general's team." And the source for the damning assertion that McChrystal was "disappointed" by Obama is described as an "adviser."

Those who do this stuff for a living know full well that journalists often use terms like this to describe people who are not necessarily in the loop or even close to an article's subject at all.

But Rolling Stone managing editor Will Dana tells me that all of them come from people who have been very close to McChrystal for a long time.

"These are high level people in McChrystal's inner circle," Dana says. "It's a very close knit group. They see themselves as a real team. They are connected like an offensive line in a football team. These are people who have been loyal to him."

This makes the whole mess worse. It makes it even clearer that McChrystal tolerated such a tone among his closest advisers, people who he interacted with daily. And it makes it more likely that McChrystal had a pretty clear sense of what was happening as this profile was being reported.

Dana tells me: "In the world of McChrystal it was permissible to speak that way."

How does Obama keep him?

By Greg Sargent  |  June 22, 2010; 4:16 PM ET
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security  
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Comments

How does Obama keep him?

Foster at NRO suggests:

"One Way Obama Could Save Face... Refuse McChrystal's resignation. The general is a man of honor, and no idiot. There's a good chance he'll show up in Washington with a resignation letter in hand. President Obama could refuse it, and then go to the public and say something like "our efforts in Afghanistan are too important to let an unfortunate lapse of judgment like this undermine them. So I told General McChrystal that he must finish his task, and that I would not accept his resignation at this time."

Posted by: sbj3 | June 22, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Isn't the Defense Secretary his boss? Shouldn't he just reassign the guy to a dead end position, and if the General does not like it, he is free to retire.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 22, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

If Obama doesn't keep him I hope he gives him to a reputable shelter.

The abandoned generals problem is probably keeping the staff at the NRO up all night.

Poor neocons and their aversion to civilian control of the military (when it's not them).

Posted by: BGinCHI | June 22, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

NRO stupidity:

How the hell could Obama not accept the guy's submitted resignation. It would be Obama declaring open season on him, for all the Military, with no repercussions.

Of course that is what NRO hopes he will fall for.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 22, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

It is seeming to me that McChystal is far too damaged at this point. The troops he commands have laptops. They will read or hear about the article. He has allowed for compromise of the chain of command.

Remember, too, that this isn't his first time around with speaking out of turn to the press. He was reprimanded last year by Obama for the same damn thing. Add in the Pat Tillman cover up, and this guy just swung strike three.

RS should have titled the article, "Rogue General."

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 22, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Easy. "I accept General McChrystal's self-evaluation that he exercised very poor judgment. What's more he violated the Uniform Code in taking such positions with a reporter. Despite his previous accomplishments, we cannot have such a person leading such an important mission. I am therefpore repalcing him and the whole crowd he has surrounding him who took his poor judgment as license to denigrate the Commander in Chief to a civilian during wartime."

So what about the theory that Rolling Stone opposes the war and dropped this bombshell (which McChrystal handed them) to provoke a discussion about leaving, and/or the theory that McChrystal was afraid that Obama would withdraw the troops before he had a chance to win so he unloaded on him?

Posted by: Mimikatz | June 22, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

In A Nutshell:

Dumb Man Talking, translates to Dead Man Walking.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 22, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

@liam and bg: "How the hell could Obama not accept the guy's submitted resignation...Of course that is what NRO hopes he will fall for."

I think you both miss the point. The folks at NRO are wondering how OBAMA can save face. He's in a dilemma right now:

VDH at NRO: "Obama is in a terrible dilemma. If he doesn't fire McChrystal after a second indiscretion, he perhaps looks weak. If he does, it endangers the current effort in Afghanistan and looks like he's silencing an officer for having legitimate worries."

Liam was onto something earlier. Obama should have left this one to Gates.

Posted by: sbj3 | June 22, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

I see a loss of one of his stars, and a reassignment to a dead end position coming up.

The guy is a repeat offender, so he has to suffer a demotion.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 22, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

"Obama should have left this one to Gates."

He can't because then they would portray him as a wuss. Can't you just hear it? "Well, he did vote 'present' a lot when he was a Senator in Illinois."

Obama is the CiC. The buck stops with him. Not with Gates.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 22, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Two things I'm wondering about:

1) How and why did a top military officer like McCrystal pick such an unexpected venue as Rolling Stone to do a profile?

2) Assuming Obama wants the policy that he has in place continued, including the 2011 exit date, does anybody know who's likely to replace McCrystal if he's fired?

Posted by: AllButCertain | June 22, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

The stupid NRO meme that Obama needs to save face is absurd:


Lincoln picked Generals, and fired them, time after time, until he finally found Grant, and yet Republicans and Historians rave about how great Lincoln was. Not one word about how he needed to save face, for having picked the wrong generals, many many times.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 22, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Apologies if this has been posted before:

The guys got on a bus with some beers and a reporter. Talk about stupid.

How McChrystal And Co. Blew The Rolling Stone Profile

"A general, his aides, and one reporter, stuck on a bus from Paris to Berlin, and drinking case after case of Bud Light Lime ...

That's the movie trailer version of how Gen. Stanley McChrystal ended up with a trainwreck of a profile in Rolling Stone, in which he and his aides ended up on the record trashing President Obama and virtually every other important civilian decision-maker on the Afghan war.

Rolling Stone's Michael Hastings, still in Afghanistan, told NBC that it all started with the eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano -- which prolonged Hastings' time with McChrystal and his team. The ash cloud forced the general to take a bus from Paris, where he celebrated an anniversary with his wife, gave a speech. and met with French officials, to Berlin.

Hastings told NBC that McChrystal and co. were boozing on the bus "the whole way." He added: "They let loose."


http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/06/how-mcchyrstal-and-co-blew-the-rolling-stone-profile.php?ref=fpa

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 22, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

ABC: 1) How and why did a top military officer like McCrystal pick such an unexpected venue as Rolling Stone to do a profile?

The editor of RS said on MSNBC this morning that they were given access because of the common target audience of RS and the military: young people. Apparently the military advertises in RS regularly.

As far as a replacement, one name I have seen a few places today is a General Rodriguez. Apparently, he's got a lot of Af-Pak experience.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 22, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

O.K. I see from TPM that the incendiary parts of the interview came when it was extended to a long, drinking bus ride by the Iceland volcano. But I'm still wondering why Rolling Stone in the first place. Does McChrystal think he's a rock star?

Posted by: AllButCertain | June 22, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

It is not even the bus. It is the decision to grant the guy an interview, and to then embed with the guy, and let down your guard, and spill your guts to him.

He was a reporter before McChrystal met him. He was one, while McChrystal was running his mouth, on the record, and he was still a reporter, after he returned to his magazine's offices, and wrote the story.

Reporters seek interviews, in order to get something said, that will make big news.

McChrystal did not fall off the turnip truck yesterday, so he knew that, and still he could not control himself.

He is a big mouthed vainglorious fool.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 22, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

General Stanley McChrystal has submitted his resignation, an unnamed source has told Time magazine. CNN tweeted a report of the resignation. More details to follow.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 22, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

He needs to be fired. It is really that simple.

Posted by: maritza1 | June 22, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Sue. A little more of the why and who is useful.

Posted by: AllButCertain | June 22, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

ABC, the military needs recruits. Young people read RS. That is their audience. If they could have gotten a positive piece in RS, it could have been influential on some RS readers to join up.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 22, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Breaking News.

"General Stanley McChrystal has submitted his resignation, an unnamed source has told Time magazine. CNN tweeted a report of the resignation. More details to follow."

Posted by: lmsinca | June 22, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Beer & bravado are a bad combination, apparently.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 22, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Sue beat me...McChrystal is gone.

I'm assuming his resignation is for commanding US Armed forces in Afghanistan, and not from the military entirely.

I'd imagine that it would be a good idea to keep him in the military, just send him to oversee training exercises in the Arctic or something.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | June 22, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Joe Klein, citing an un-named source tells CNN that McChrystal has resigned.

Posted by: lmsinca | June 22, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

From Josh Marshal:

"It's being reported that Gen. McChrystal has submitted his resignation to President Obama and Secretary Gates. And that's being played in some publications as meaning McChrystal's out.

Not even close. It's entirely possible that McChrystal will be out this afternoon. But in the present circumstances McChrystal submitting his resignation is a given; it is absolutely essential for him to do. He has no choice. And it goes without saying.

The question is whether Obama and Gates choose to accept. His submitting his resignation simply isn't the bombshell some are presenting it as.

(It's definitely a scoop for the folks reporting it correctly.)

Wait till you hear that the resignation has been accepted."

Posted by: lmsinca | June 22, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

But has the resignation been accepted? I haven't seen that it has.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 22, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

This is actually a pretty amazing story. Given the demographic, McChrystal and his people were savvy enough to try to find recruits via Rolling Stone, yet stupid enough to forget Rolling Stone was going to do, like, reporting.

Doesn't really sound like a big picture guy.

Posted by: AllButCertain | June 22, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Imsinca. Tendering his resignation is not the same as "he's out."

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 22, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

sbj - you voice a kind and romantic notion of NRO's intentions re Obama in this situation. But I don't know how I could argue with you because, after all, NRO writers have consistently demonstrated their affection and respect for this President not to mention their high hopes for the success of his administration.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 22, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Really though, he's gotta go. He and his inner circle wagged their tongues while under the influence. Pretty damn poor, but I don't see how he can regain the lost trust.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 22, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Sue, I don't think any decision will be made until he meets face to face with the President. It sounds like submitting it is SOP in this case. I feel bad for all the guys and gals over there, I'm sure it's unsettling coming in the wake of some difficult numbers this past week.

Posted by: lmsinca | June 22, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

The resignation has to be accepted, because if it is not, then President Obama will be sending a signal to the military, that he is fair game, for verbal target practice, and there will be no repercussions.

If he does not make this Renegade pay the price, then he can not punish the next Renegade that acts up.

Sending a message to the rest of the military, that they will pay a price, if they go renegade, is very important.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 22, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

ABC, McChrystal had a civilian PR guy who arranged the RS interview. Of course, he "resigned" first thing this morning.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/22/duncan-boothby-resigns-mc_n_620965.html

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 22, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

I expect the American forces are similar to the Canadian where alcoholism is a very common problem, individually and culturally.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 22, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Imsinca, I agree. There will be no decision until after the face-to-face with Obama. And, that is how it should be, IMO.

And yeah, I hear you about the troops there, what they have been through recently, and now this. Jeebus.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 22, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

"NRO writers have consistently demonstrated their affection and respect for this President"

Bernie,

Yes, there's that and they wouldn't want to join Cantor in politicizing this split during war time or anything. Only best wishes for Obama navigating this mine field, right?

Posted by: lmsinca | June 22, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Often an officer submits his resignation, after it has been asked for. They receive an offer that they can not refuse: submit your resignation, so you can save face, and make a graceful exit, or you will be fired.

Do not be too surprised, if that is how this resignation has played out.

Then the President and Secretary of Defense can say: If is with deep regret that we accept the resignation of General McChrystal. We want to thank him for his many years of outstanding service to his nation..........

Posted by: Liam-still | June 22, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

I'd say McChrystal was trying to sneak his way away from war and should be discharged from the army without ceremony. But however one cuts it, his actions are un-American and Obama will be left to tend against more PR damage whether he stays or goes: he stays, Obama has to reestablish chain-of-command; he goes, Obama de facto owns Afghanistan and when the next general fails it's going to go right at Obama like Vietnam went up LBJ's trousers and ate his balls up.

Posted by: Papagnello | June 22, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

The right really ought to follow McCain, Lieberman, & Graham's lead on this. (That was hard to type!)

Their statement today:

"We have the highest respect for General McChrystal and honor his brave service and sacrifice to our nation. General McChrystal's comments, as reported in Rolling Stone, are inappropriate and inconsistent with the traditional relationship between Commander-in-Chief and the military. The decision concerning General McChrystal's future is a decision to be made by the President of the United States."

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 22, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

It is a quite perfect moment to view the NRO, folks. This crowd is seriously warped.
http://www.nationalreview.com/

Posted by: bernielatham | June 22, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Since we haven't heard from Chairman Steele in quite awhile, here's a reminder:

"Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele appeared on CNBC this morning to bash President Obama for supposedly not having a clear plan to create jobs. But when hosts Erin Burnett and Mark Haines pressed Steele to present an alternative, all he could offer were predictable Republican talking points like, “Don’t trust the government to get it done.” When Burnett pressed again, asking, “What specifically is the Republican Party going to offer?” Steele simply continued attacking Obama, adding that we should “trust” job creators, like Wall Street.

Steele then suggested that we return to the failed economic polices of President Bush, because, Steele said, Bush “created a lot of jobs.” Haines, obviously stunned by the remark, exclaimed, “Beg your pardon?”

http://thinkprogress.org/2010/06/22/steele-bush-created-jobs/

Posted by: lmsinca | June 22, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

@Ims - As Robinson said in his wonderful column this morning:

"A group constituting roughly two-thirds of all Republicans in the House takes the position that President Obama was wrong to demand that BP set aside money to guarantee that those whose livelihoods are being ruined by the oil spill will be compensated. In other words, it's more important to kneel at the altar of radical conservative ideology than to feel any sense of compassion for one's fellow Americans. This, ladies and gentlemen, is how today's GOP rolls." http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/21/AR2010062103699.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

And kneeling at the alter of militarism, trumping citizen activism (Move On) and even the civilian administration is how the NRO rolls.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 22, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Not one net job created during the eight year Bush/Cheney reign of terror.

That is Michael Steele's idea of a policy that created jobs? He is a blithering moron.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 22, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

McChrystal and his staff in my opinion spoke the truth. Speaking the truth, is something our pompous leaders can't afford. We are fortunate thank God to have patroit's like general McChrystal & his staff for telling the truth to the American people.

Posted by: PALHOLLY | June 22, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

From the Uniform Code of Military Justice: "Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Transportation, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct. "

Posted by: TruthInBlogging | June 22, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

All, Happy Hour Roundup posted:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/06/happy_hour_roundup_34.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 22, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Big Mouthed McChrystal did more damage fragging his superiors, than he ever did to the Taliban.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 22, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

PALHOLLY,

McChrystal and his staff are failures. Their AfPak record speaks for itself. They are think-tank COIN indoctrinaires with intellectual theories out their wazoos espousing beliefs that combat forces can rebuild a country. Their RS pub-crawl words were lazy and sophmoric, no wonder AfPak is failing...are you impressed they needed to use the media for a last impression rather than making that last impression an improvement of the conditions on the ground as was their job?

Posted by: Papagnello | June 22, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

From the Uniform Code of Military Justice: -- "Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Transportation, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct. "

Posted by: TruthInBlogging | June 22, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

@PALHOLLY - Will be also be thanking God for the Bud Light that gave these patriots the drunken courage to speak truth to power?

Posted by: bernielatham | June 22, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

McCrystal didn't know how to fight the Taliban and I doubt if Petraeus does either. It's not Iraq. The majority of Iraqi insurgents were ex-Iraqi Army and not religious radicals living in the 6th century. The only way to get rid of these people is to cut off their financing, supply chain, and kill every single one of them. This isn't a war for diplomats and the faint of heart, it's a knock down drag out war that you can only win by buying off who you can and killing the rest of them.

Posted by: JustSayNoToOil | June 23, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse

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