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McChrystal Controversy and Afghanistan Policy

Rolling Stone’s Michael Hastings, whose article put General Stanley McChrystal in the White House hot seat, joins us from Afghanistan.

Gen. Stanley McCrystal arrives at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, June 23, 2010. (AP)

Gen. Stanley McCrystal arrives at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, June 23, 2010. (AP)

Uproar over the top US commander in Afghanistan today.  A big piece in Rolling Stone has Gen. Stanley McChrystal and his top staff sniping all over the White House and their Obama administration bosses.

It’s contemptuous.  Derisive. It has the McChrystal crew trash talking Joe Biden, Richard Holbrooke, Ambassador Karl Eikenberry – the President, too.

McChrystal’s ordered home and at the White House today.  His fate, and a troubled war effort, all on the line.  It’s a rough moment.

This hour, On Point: The headline is “Runaway General.”  The fate of McChrystal and the Afghan war.


Michael Hastings, Contributing Editor at Rolling Stone. His forthcoming article is “The Runaway General.” He joins us from Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Eliot Cohen, Professor of Strategic Studies; and Director of Strategic Studies Program at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. He is author of “Supreme Command: Soldiers, Statesmen and Wartime Leadership.”

Robert Killebrew,  Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security.  Killebrew is a retired Army colonel who served 30 years in a variety of assignments that included Special Forces, tours in the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions, XVIII Airborne Corps, high-level war planning assignments and instructor duty at the Army War College.

Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, U.S. Army-Ret. He was chief of staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell from 2002 to 2005. A former director of the U.S. Marine Corps War College at Quantico, Virginia, he’s now a professor of national security studies at George Washington University and of government and policy at the College of William & Mary.

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    The President cannot FIRE General McChrystal.

    He knows the war plan in Afghanistan. I’ve seen him multiple times on 60 mins and prime time news. A conventional soldier that his main goal is to minimize civilian casualties while engaged in House to House fighting. Drone warfare is not his plans.

    Since the Afghanistan war started the US Government has been Firing and Hiring Generals. McChrystal is what? I think the third General to be fired.


  • Michael

    “The President cannot FIRE General McChrystal.”

    of course he can, and no he’s not the thrid to be fire in Afghanistan at least,McChrystal displayed unbelievable poor judgment on this one. They been times i disagreed with my commander in my unit but i was never dumb enough to tell someone that would go and tell them.

    McChrystal much like our government knows that the Afghanistan civil war is un winnable and there is much more support for the native Taliban than U.S. and NATO, but most Americans are to weak to know this, so the U.S. Military has to hire Merc’s to avoid the draft and bribe off Warlord and Taliban while fighting others.

    Hell i bet he still pushing for no timeline and 100k plus troops if he could, Longest War, and nothing to show from it except, mental pain, depletion of our coffers, and more terrorist in other countries.

    This show should be fun :)

  • Mark

    “The President cannot FIRE General McChrystal.”
    Lincoln fired McDowell,McClellan 2x, Pope, Burnside, and Hooker before putting Grant in charge.

  • cory

    I don’t accept the notion that no one can replace this one General. It is a sad statement about our armed forces if it is true.

    To Akilez… Insubordination in a military chain of command is unacceptable and inexcusable. McChrystal should know this better than anyone. Also, no military officer should ever feel free to challenge the civilian control of the military. McChrystal and his staff may or may not have been guilty of this as well.

  • Stanley Roberts

    What about McChrystal’s role in the coverup following the death of Pat Tillman? McChrystal should have had his head handed to him then.

  • Not a Chance

    This guy is from the “Stripes” era of american military “exceptionalism,” where paper warriors got to prove their metal in places like Granada and Panama. Such excursions filled them full of bluster, as they returned home as well-decorated heroes fighting for american superiority.

    Dump McChrystal and replace him with John Larroquette, who played Capt. Stillman- we’d do just as well, if not better than we’ve been doing, in Afghanistan.


    To Cory what do you know about subordination?

    Did the General disobied any orders from the President? NO.
    Did the General left the battle grounds? NO
    Was the General AWOL? NO

    The Rolling Stone reporter was SO stupid enough to write EVERYTHING down on paper. What those words are common Gestures for soldiers who had a bad day in the battle field.

    It must be a just typical Man Talk for the General.
    If you know what I mean.


    Thank God General McChrystal did not talk about his wife wearing big panties or else that Rolling Stone reporter will also write it down.

    Rolling Stone is not even a magazine it is Comics.

    We will never win the war if the Executive branch keep pushing war plans that will never work.

  • Michael

    “We will never win the war if the Executive branch keep pushing war plans that will never work.”

    wtf does that have to do with Gen McChrystal and his staff sticking there foot in there mouths?

    Nothing, anyways gotta go, I look forward to the show, BUR any chance your going to talk about that death (tiller) at all?

  • Michael

    “nothing close to a comic,”


    According to the RS reporter – even during the fact checking process over the last couple of weeks, McChrystal did not back away from the comments he & his staff made, so he KNEW what was coming out in the article. This is an OUT for him in a losing situation and possibly a future in politics. He should lose rank for his insubordination to the Head Leader of the Armed Services.

  • James

    In the Army there is ‘Key Leader’ training, whereas we train to lead in case the person in charge is lost in battle. McChrystal can be fired! He as a leader is required to train his subordinates should he fall in battle. Failure to do so is poor leadership.

  • jp

    It is about time Obama comes up with a plan to win the war

  • Not a Chance

    you’re a genius!

    Why didn’t we have Obama come up with a plan to win the war in the first place?

    Then we could have gotten rid of all those pesky generals a long time ago!


    I read the facts about McChrystal. I like him to stay and lead the American troops in Afghanistan.

    If you are against him and never read the facts about his plans in Afghanistan and Believe every Gossip/Rumours that you read. You got big issues.

    Michael if Rolling Stone is not close to a comic? what is Rolling Stone a Gossip magazine?

  • http://www.katherinejackson.com Katherine Jackson

    Tom, Please ask Eliot Cohen,who just called the General a “hero,”about McChrystal’s involvement in the Pat Tillman, friendly fire, cover-up. Thanks, and great program, as usual!!

  • Alec Walker

    McChrystal for President? McChrystal’s actions over the last several months are consistent with a plan to repair the current absence of viable Republican presidential candidates.

  • Gary

    Casual poor judgment over an extended period of time makes us wonder about the decision process of this general. Does he understand chain of command as per the US constitution and who he works for, or does he swear greater allegiance to personal fame, or does he want to be fired?

    IMO whatever the generals intent, he has to go. Everyone in the military learns one lesson: No single soldier is above the mission. This general like MacArthur has come to believe HE IS THE MISSION, and irreplaceable.

  • http://Onpointradio Celia Etie

    Why have there been so many disrespectful comments made toward this president? It seems unprecedented how much liberty everyone is taking at being uncouth. Thanks

  • Lynn Gaulin

    The General is fortunate to still have his job after his other missteps and involvement in Tillman coverup. Of course, he should go.


    When General MacArthur wanted to use Nuclear weapons at the North Koreans to stop them once and for all.

    President Truman fired General MacArthur. Decades later North Koreans is now a pain in American foreign policy
    what if Truman listened to General MacArthur Do you think North Korea will be selling weapons of mass destructions to Iran and other rogue States?

    When General McChrystal told President Obama to avoid drone attacks on Terrorist to avoid Civilian casualties Obama “might” fire the General. let us see.

    Michael wrote:
    wtf does that have to do with Gen McChrystal and his staff sticking there foot in there mouths? You are a wanna be smart man.

    Yes it has a lot to do with there foot in there mouths that’s why General and probably the entire US Armed Forces in Afghanistan are saying the same thing what General McChrystal said.

    Rolling Stone is not a magazine it’s Comics for Pot Heads.

  • Greg E.

    Is the President in a political lose/lose situation in his response to General McChyrstal? I think the President will be criticized as weak if he allows McChyrstal to continue leading the war effort. On the other side the President would be criticized for hurting moral, removing effective military knowledge and leadership, and directly damaging strategy to win the war if he demands McChyrstal resign.

  • Not a Chance

    I agree wholeheartedly!

    The first stupidity is being in Afghanistan in the first place!

  • Andy F

    I am sick of all the politicians, pundits and pinheads whining about doing this or that with Stanley McChrystal – this is like worrying about a deck chair on the Titanic while it slowly sinks beneath the waves.

    What the hell are we doing in Afghanistan??? We are once again, just kidding ourselves that Democracy is some kind of ointment that we can run around the world spreading – when in reality, we cant even manage our own sadly lacking implementation of it!

    Afghanistan, much like Vietnam, is a backward country that has been set in its ways for at least two thousand years. What collection of morons actually think we are going to somehow make ourselves safer by force-feeding any country something we cant even manage on our own!

    6,000 Americans are dead in Iraq – and a couple thousand more are going the same way in Afghanistan. That’s a lot of Americans who we call “heroes” so that we can lie to ourselves and not have to call these poor soldiers what they really are – just cannon fodder for our ill-planned, poorly though-out, and doomed ideas of “safety”.

    Fire McChrystal or keep him – who cares – the entire undertaking was flawed and failed from Day One.

  • Webb Nichols

    Obama must fire McChrystal because there must be total alignment in policy particularly in War. When you work for someone you can disagree with them directly and privately. If the policy is distasteful , you can resign and make your differing views public. You cannot have it both ways.

    I hope Obama does the firing with compassion and acceptance like a great leader.

    The war in Afghanistan cannot be won. It is strategically and tactically impossible. We do not have the resources to fight a protracted war nor should we. We need to make America whole again.

  • Ex Army Officer


    I have two points. One, a former soldier and officer as well, I was trained that the military is at the command of the President of the United States, and if I disagreed, I could leave. I worked under many Presidents whose politics I disagreed with, but the will of the people chose them, so I marched ahead.

    Two, does Gen. McChrystals arrogance and consistent examples of superiority complex issues reflect his upbringing in the USMA, SOG, or just that he is inherently consistent at making bad choices? It seems that many of the officers who have been accused of poor decisions came from that USMA track.

  • jeffe

    Lets be clear here MacArthur was fired for blatant insubordination, period. Obama is not Truman and this is not the Cold War. AKILEZ you have an interesting take on history based on hindsight which does not have anything to do the reality of the time period. (Korean War) I’m sure you’ll have some come back which is why I loath to respond to your comments. MacArthur was out of control.
    By the way Truman and the Joint Chiefs of Staff already had the nuclear option on the table, so you’re wrong about that. The other issue you fail to understand is this was not a war between the US and North Korea, it was a UN police action that turned into a war.

    Also dropping the bomb on North Korea was not the plan.
    The US was prepared to bomb targets in the USSR and China. This would have lead to a nuclear war, do you realize that?

    Gen. McChrystal is getting pretty close to being fired if you ask me. He should fire him, it’s a necessary as it’s not only Gen McChrystal it’s his staff as well. You can’t have this going on. Gen McChrystal is entitled to have his opinion but to air it in public is conduct not becoming an officer and a gentleman. He should resign.

    BUR please stop, stop your fund raising interruptions on a show with an important topic like this. It’s one thing to ask for donations it’s another to take up so much time with people begging for money.

  • JP

    If the Obama admin wants to win the war, we need to see what his plan is. Anything less than that we should pull all our troops out ASAP. This administration has been the least transparent in since WWII

  • JP

    I think Gen. McChrystal is fed up with fighting this war with no plans to win from his superiors.

  • John

    Obama should have fired him when he lobbied for his strategy in public. A leader should encourage dissenting opinions in private but subordinates need to follow after policy has been set or leave, not continue to fight through the press. I voted for Obama in both the primary and the general elections but I constantly frustrated by his spineless approach to everything.

  • ron

    Why cannot the president take a star or 2 from the general?

  • http://randolin.com Nowa Crosby

    Generals are not irreplaceable. Any General who disagrees with his Commander in Chief, should be sacked. Look back thru history, especially American military history shows this may be the best policy. To have someone and his staff say things, that border on RACIST AT A TIME WHEN WE HAVE SUCH A NEED TO OVERCOME THESE KINDS OF IDEAS, is not ok. Ultimately, we need to get out of there. This is all a failed war and foreign policy. Time to go for the door. Wars that are fought for ten or more years are rarely if ever won. Afghanistan is an ancient trap.


    First of all General McChrystal didn’t SHOT Mr.Tillman.

    We will never know what happened with Mr.Tillman.
    Who ever SHOT Mr. Tillman is the one responsible.

    There were a lot of Friendly fires victims in Iraq, Afghanistan and the 2 Gulf Wars.

    Did I hear the American people complaining about those victims? NO

    I GUESS money and Fame is still important in this world.
    even in war famous people still gets the special treatment and forget about those Not So Famous people.

    President Obama is not a War expert he should listed to the people on the field. I am always for Obama but when it comes to war policies he and his cabinet members should listen to the people who actually on the Field and trying to save civilians and US soldiers.

    President Obama should also visit the Afghanistan not once but multiple times to know what is going on.

    What we read and see on TV are scripted and catered to American viewers. We Don’t see the real war and the truth about what is going on all over the world.

    Afghanistan is the training grounds of Terrorist from all over the world. Abu Sayaff, Jameel Islamiyah etc etc.

  • Ex Army Officer


    Blaming the press is horrific.

    Gen McChrystal allowed this man to follow him, and he opened his mouth. Poor decision. Venting to the press is NOT personal time.

    Another example of bad decision making from him.

  • John

    Public figures should know better than to let off steam in front of the press. Is stupidity a lesser offense than insubordination?

  • BJ

    Face it, Afghanistan has defeated another invader. Generals and the higher ups whose life and pension aren’t threatened will always vote to keep the war going and come up with ways that they can win it. How do we still get the fools to sign up and get their faces burn off for “our freedom”… A BS line for idiots.

  • Ex Army Officer


    Just as a point of fact, and personal experience, the majority of the training is not occurring in Afghanistan, as the turf is just too active. It’s mostly occurring in the hinterlands of Pakistan under ISS support…

  • bumbra

    I appreciate Bob’s comments regarding the article is not a story that should have been printed as it isn’t news but was an opportunity for officers to release tension. Bob eloquently spoke my thoughts. Seriously isn’t there more items that the media should be concentrating on? i.e. the oil gushing into the gulf, Iran, etc., etc.

  • Mike J

    There would appear to be two choices:

    1. Fire GEN McChrystal (or allow him to tender his resignation).

    2. Allow GEN McChrystal to retain his position, and continue prosecuting the war.

    Either option presents grave problems for President Obama, who already has a lot on his plate.

    If the General is replaced, the Afghan strategy is substantively harmed given the imminent re-taking of Kandahar and the fact that the General has established strong ties and respect with the Afghani tribal leaders—he is not irreplaceable, but it would be very difficult (and time-consuming) to replace him and we may simply not have the time needed to bring in an -effective- replacement. Additionally, the General’s departure would be a blow to the leadership and credibility of the Afghani president, who has publicly come out supporting the General (and so whose standing with his own people would be compromised).

    If the General is not replaced, President Obama’s own leadership capabilities is thrown further into doubt. The General’s own comments (both in the current brouhaha, as well as in the past) and those of his staff, already imply that the President is not capable of handling certain military matters—this would be a substantive blow to his own credibility and authority as Commander-in-Chief.

    There may be a narrow, middle-of-the-road option that walks a tightrope between both: The President could send the General back to Afghanistan, but publicly denounce his comments and note that he sends him back because it is the right thing to do. Much rhetorical skill would be needed to -successfully- sell such a compromise to the American people and her armed services, but the President has a strong command of rhetoric and so this may end up a viable solution. However, his challenge would be to upbraid the General for his role in the current situation, without undermining the General’s own authority once back on the ground in Afghanistan.

    If the President chose to go with this third option, he would also need to involve the larger issue of the existing Afghanistan team (Ambassador Eikenberry and Special Representative Holbrooke), as they have clear disagreements with the General and so this core team -must- be able to function well together—it would be an extreme irony if the President found himself in the position of having to replace one (or both) of them, if he felt the General’s presence truly was indispensable at this time.

  • Jessica

    I would like to believe that this is NOT the way “men” talk when they get together like your guest says. Is there no accountability with this position. What about professionalism? It is absolutely ridiculous! Why are people making it seem like it’s ok for a high ranking official trash talking. I bet if you gave his job to someone who has always worked for minimum wage and was not a privileged, white, middle-aged man, you might get the job done without that entitled perspective. How audacious! He is never off-duty and needs to behave as such! If he just can’t NOT bad mouth the administration, this is not the job for him.

  • Nick

    Blunt comments by the General + his aides.

    Must be frustrating fighting a war that the US/NATO will probably never achieve.

    US cannot financially afford either war in I or A.

  • Not a Chance

    The Generals never came up with a way to win in Afghanistan because there is no way to win in Afghanistan… centuries of stupid invaders have proven that the region belongs exclusively to the indigenous peoples to do with as they please.

    Foriegn invaders have no business being in Afghanistan and will never be welcome or successful there.

  • Gary

    The caller who wants the press to turn off the cameras or close their notebooks whenever news occurs is self deluded. The general was well aware of what a reporter does for a living, and if he doesn’t then there is a much much bigger issue.

    The only reason that the general sat around with Rolling Stone is because in his mind he is living the dream of being a rock star, and not a military commander.

    What people say in their off hours is important as to their true character. We all have know employees that were fired for their actions regardless of the venue.


    Jeffe Said

    “Also dropping the bomb on North Korea was not the plan.
    The US was prepared to bomb targets in the USSR and China. This would have lead to a nuclear war, do you realize that?”

    America never planned to dropped Nukes on Russia and China Do you understand also? That should have start WW3. America founded the United Nations Korea was America’s war.

    Russian exploded their first nuclear weapons on 1949. I believe that was the only Nuclear weapons the Russian had at that time and China exploded their first Nuclear weapons in 1953. America has already develop nuclear weapons and stock pile them

    My posting about North Korea is NOT hindsight I JUST MADE THE STORY SHORT. My point is if America use Nuclear weapons use on North Korea. The problem today shouldn’t Exist.

  • Paula

    During his campaign for President, Obama consistently disparaged the then-Commander-in-Chief, and he frequently remarked that HE would be a much better leader, because, if the goal was to kill Osama Bin Laden, he would just send people to find him and kill him. We can only hope that, by now, he understands that things are not so simple.

    I don’t blame Gen. McChrystal, or his staff, for their comments expressing frustration. They’ve worked hard to meet ever-changing goals, since Obama can’t seem to make up his mind why we have all those personnel over there, many of whom have died for a very uncertain cause. If Obama wants to fight for something, he should define what that is and stick to it. Only then can he expect his subordinates to perform their jobs in a reasonable manner. If he doesn’t want to fight for a specific goal that will benefit this country, he should pull all the troops and pay attention to all of the problems that we have right here at home.


    I keep researching about the General’s comments on Television. I can only find one, When he said about the drones that was the only comment he said and it wasn’t even bad he was just telling the truth.

    The reporter for Rolling Stone was interviewed last nighy on ABC via phone. he said that frustations of US soldiers in Afganistan about Washington strategic plans was ridiculous and especially the US government supporting the corrupt government of Karzai.

    A lot of Leaders in Afghanistan likes General McChrystal because HE DIRECTLY APOLOGIZED TO THE FAMILIES THAT WERE KILLED BY AMERICAN FORCES or should I say Friendly fires.

    He is the only General who ever did this since the war started.

    I guess the Power of Journalism can destroy a man’s reputation because everyone believe the Media even though the reporting is unquestionable.

  • William

    If we had a General like this guy back in 1965/66 who stood up to LBJ we might have been out of Vietnam a lot sooner or taken a different approach.

  • loninappleton

    It gratifies me that so many of the writers here remember Pat Tillman and the circumstances of his death.

    What we are seeing here is an example of arrogance and exceptionalism. But how was it ever any different in the military?

    Code Pink recently celebrated the last Hummer to roll off the production line. The sale of such a vehicle to the public was one among many examples of military fetishism over the last 9 years. Some of that is seen here today in defense of the military.

    What remains to be seen is how the White House takes this snub. Regardless, the new boss in Afghanistan will not be substantially different than this one.


    It doesn’t gratify me when the writers only think about Mr.Tillman a famous person in America.

    How about the 18 year old kid from San Diego or my neighbor who was killed by our own Bullet.

    It does not make me happy for some people are only concern about Mr.Tillman but how about the other Young soldiers who were killed,rape and murdered in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    How about the other unsung heroes that are not famous.

    If Obama will Fire General McChrystal We Lost the War.

    Afghan leaders trust him because he is not only a soldier but good with ordinary people. He talks to People in Afghanistan.

  • jeffe

    AKILEZ I knew you would have this absurd answer.
    There was a documentary about the US’s involvement in the Korean War. In it they produced documents with a plan to use nukes. It was not only North Korea, but target in the USSR and China. It was the cold war. If they only bombed North Korea it would have started WW3, are you that naive to think that if the US dropped used nukes on North Korea that the Russians would not have retaliated in kind?

    My posting about North Korea is NOT hindsight I JUST MADE THE STORY SHORT. My point is if America use Nuclear weapons use on North Korea. The problem today shouldn’t Exist. If this comment is not hindsight I don’t know what is/ If we did X the outcome would have been different. How do you know that? What if we had dropped nuclear bombs on North Korea and the Russians felt the need to do the same to our European bases? Like I said, hindsight is 20/20.

  • bumbra

    AKILEZ – I appreciate your comments. Thank you for voicing them.

  • Jeff Larson

    I think McCrystal’s interview was planned. He could see that if he stayed he would get blamed for us losing the war. Being fired out for a bit of insubordination leaves him in a position to be president or whatever.


    Bumbra Thanks. I followed General McChrystal ever since he commanded the forces in Afghanistan.

    If you noticed there are lesser Friendly fire casualties and I will say this again that the Tribal Leaders like the General.

    If the Afghan people are requesting more troops in their villageS. The General listened and he did what the people of Afghanistan wanted securities in their villages.

    The reporter of Rolling Stone reminded me of the reporter who interviewed Michael Jackson on the television special show about MJ. I forgot his name he was a Indian/British reporter. If you get my thoughts you will know what I am talking about.

    The Indian/British reporter destroyed MJ reputation more than helping MJ the same with the Rolling Stone reporter. Not only he destroyed the General’s reputation and help the Taliban/Terrorist to win the war.


    General Diap said “the American people will help me win the war in Vietnam” he was right. The same in Afghanistan “The Western Press will help the Terrorist win the war”

  • Nina

    Killebrew lost all credibility when he said that the Pat Tillman issue was resolved and shouldn’t be revisited in the discussion of McChrystal’s history and judgement. McChrsytal’s role was deplorable. And to further that by saying that McChrystal’s motivation in the lies/coverup was to get Tillman a medal for his family’s sake is absurd and makes the rest of his commentary irrelevant.

  • Michael

    ‘Shocking’ Report: U.S. Funding Afghan Warlords

    In the push to get supplies into Afghanistan, the Pentagon is inadvertently lining the pockets of warlords and other unsavory characters. That’s the thrust of a new report by congressional investigators, who urged the Defense Department to do a better job of oversight.
    The 79-page report, titled “Warlord, Inc,” tracks more than $2 billion in contracts covering trucking and security for most of the supplies that reach U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
    The report acknowledges that getting cargo to its destinations in Afghanistan is tricky. Still, the chairman of a House subcommittee on national security, Massachusetts Democrat John Tierney, says the findings are shocking


    Some call NPR nation pentagon Radio, but every so often they do some okay reporting. Kind of self defeating when your funding the tailban/Warlord while fighting them at the same time.

    ” “The Western Press will help the Terrorist win the war”

    This is a troubling statement and is at odds with Free Press and a Free democracy.

    My bad AKILEZ i could of swore you were a chick, how things go with the kind that send you emails cutting russians people heads off? You inform the Russians Government yet?

  • Michael

    “National Pentagon Radio”

  • Julie Rohwein

    @Jeff Larson:

    An interesting possibility. It does offer an explanation for the double stupidity of a) trash talk in front of a reporter who you are cooperating with, and b) APPROVING all those quotes before the article went to press. McChrystal certainly can’t plead ignorance of what the reporter was going to include in the article, nor did he apparently make any attempt to stop it becoming public.

    I think the morale and discipline consequences within the army of not dismissing him would be serious. It would certainly reinforce the perception of “different spanks for different ranks”


    My bad AKILEZ i could of swore you were a chick, how things go with the kind that send you emails cutting russians people heads off? You inform the Russians Government yet?

    Michael I only saw one video and if your interested they are all over Muslims web site. I think you just have to be a member of the web site and speak and write Arabic. About the Chechnyan rebel who beheaded a soldier. The Russians know everything what is going on in Chechnya because they do the same with the muslim rebels. Just like what Al Jazeera news been showing all over the world except IN America how civilian are getting killed by Americans forces.

    Did you call the American government and ask them how come they don’t show those footage in American television?

  • Michael

    “Facts show other generals have been sacked before”
    “Facts state within the Military Structure comments,statments like these of a superiors is a no go.”

  • informed American

    Thank you for your dedicated service to our country General McChrystal. The President may not appreciate your many years of sacrifice for the defense of this country, but millions of Americans do and are grateful.

  • Mike

    I think the general should have been demoted and reassigned.


    Facts what about that Senator who yelled and called Obama a Liar during his State of the Union address? While the entire world heard that Senator’s anger towards Obama. What happened to him?

    Facts: The General never bad mouth President Obama it was Obama’s cabinet that the General had a Conflict of Interest.

  • John

    It was a congressman not a senator. Members of the legislative branch are not under the command of the president.

  • jeffe

    “The President cannot FIRE General McChrystal.”

    He did not have the man did the honorable thing, he resigned.


    Wow!!I should have wrote Politicians.

    Anyway, YELLING AT PRESIDENT OF AMERICA on live television and the world is very disrespectful.

    Compared to General McChrystal who did not even say a word in front of the President or the tv cameras.

    If the Congress is not under the President who is?

  • jeffe

    The good congressman from South Carolina, Joe Wilson, was reprimanded by his party. He then made a public apology. Which was rang hollow as he then used the statement to gain political points.

    AKILEZ, do you know how our government works?

    The president is the commander in chief. He is in command of all the armed forces, so he can fire anyone if he wants to. Bush fired Casey who was in command in Iraq in 2007.

    Congress can declare war, but the president cannot. He needs the approval of congress, in theory. The legislative branch is congress. The administrative branch is the presidency and vice presidency, and then there is the judiciary which is the courts, such as the supreme court.


    The General resigned We are back to first base in the war in Afghanistan.

    May GOD Help us end the war!


    While drinking with Rolling Stone’s journalist his staff openly and knowingly talking smack about their administrators.

    McChrystal wasn’t being insubordinate. He was being a Rockstar!

  • Brett

    This Rolling Stone article represents the second time McChrystal has shown public disrespect for his Commander in Chief (the first was in a press conference McChrystal held in England several months ago, when he decided to lobby for his strategy in the court of public opinion). McChrystal’s staff had invited the Rolling Stone reporter into their day-to-day operations this time and knew everything they said on front of the reporter would be considered on the record, they knew his “tape” recorder was always rolling.

    McChrystal has been playing politics ever since he was given his command. Truman fired MacArthur, Lincoln fired McClellan, and I believe it was appropriate for Obama to fire McChrystal. I was also glad to hear Petraeus will be put in charge of Afghanistan.

    I heard a retired military officer who had trained with McChrystal years ago commenting on one of the NPR programs this afternoon. He said he thought McChrystal should have been given all of the troops he wanted (100k or more) and that McChrystal would have had “the right stuff” to “win the war!” Win the war?!?!? We aren’ t going to “win the war” no matter how many troops are there. We don’t have clear objectives, the government and their leaders are corrupt, their military lacks motivation, and the idea of instilling a desire for a centralized government among the native people there, an identity that has been divided into tribal factions for well over a thousand years, is ludicrous.

    We also can’t keep stepping up to the price tag this war is costing. I heard a report yesterday on contractors and budgets (maybe it was All Things Considered, I can’t remember) for getting supplies in, out, and around Afghanistan; I believe this all comes out as the result of a congressional investigation. The Pentagon paperwork is sketchy, the payments to Afghan transporters are exorbitant, they are hiring their own security without documentation about how much they are paying them, to whom the money is going, etc.; some evidence is indicating money is being funneled by them to pay off Afghan soldiers not to fight (essentially, we are just giving them large sums of money to transport goods with no accountability or cost itemization). Sounds like corruption and an effort on their part to undermine our efforts, perhaps to keep the ride going. Our own contractors are not much better, and you’d think with all of the problems with private contractors in the past the US would have put them on a shorter leash by now. I am tired of hearing stories like this. Let’s get the hell out of there!

  • Bush’s fault

    We aren’t going to win any wars until we get over our fear of killing people and breaking stuff. Once we gain control of a country’s balls their hearts and minds will follow. It always worked before.

  • Michael

    After re-listening to the podcast(Thanks onpoint)

    It’s good what Michael Hastings did, Journalist should not be cozy with the Military. We saw when a group gets cozy with the ones there supposed to be reporting,regulating,overseeing it never really turns out to be a good thing.

    To bad the U.S. Reporters couldn’t take some course from the BBC on how a good journalist should act, the notion that Journalist work with the Government on how to report leaks, Bad News or Omit information is a sad thing for democracy.

  • Michael

    “We aren’t going to win any wars until we get over our fear of killing people and breaking stuff. Once we gain control of a country’s balls their hearts and minds will follow. It always worked before.”

    Yea just look at the Korea’s and Vitnam, only if we have killed more people there. Look at iraq 100k plus deaths there and they love us.

  • cory

    Hey Akilez,

    General Petraeus is the “wunderkind” who created the counterinsurgency strategy that McChrystal subscribed to. How is that going back to first base? Isn’t it more like replacing the novice with the master?

    I’d also like to call out all those who said McChrystal couldn’t possibly be replaced… How about General Petraeus?! If ours is the greatest military is the greatest in the history of the world, it most assuredly must be bigger than any one individual, right?

  • david

    General McChrystal did what the military code of conduct required him to do. He honored the code by resigning for the comments he made. The meeting lasted 20 mins. McChrystal handed Pres. Obama his resignation when he walked in the door. Pres. Obama had no choice but to accept his resignation. We move on.
    My question is this and one that is not been addressed?
    If McChrystal was totally committed in doing his duty to country and to his men and carry out the mission of winning this thing, which I think he was.
    Why???? did he make this mistake????
    Some would say he was a “Runaway General”, Maybe so!!
    If sounds like a mistake caused by frustration.
    If so, what could cause a General to become so frustrated that he would speak negatively about his superiors before the most anti-war magazine around????????

  • Tom Berke

    Obama is dead wrong! It is the WRONG decision for the country’s national security and the future of the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.
    Also, the the reporter M.Hasting from rolling stone is
    a despicable character. This not a reporting this is trash! I am sure he’ll get Pulitzer for this cowardly act.
    If I was in Obama’s place I would seriously look into my own staff including V.P. Since when talking the truth is wrong..?
    Civilian President with no military experience has no business in terminating decorated GENERAL!

  • david

    If Bush were President, General McChrystal might have come out of this being called a hero.
    Just a thought.

  • Michael

    “I’d also like to call out all those who said McChrystal couldn’t possibly be replaced”

    Cory you got me i didnt think he had it in him and were going the middle ground route , I guess obama’s balls are bigger than i thought on this one.

    a little AC/DC for Pres Obama

  • david’s subconscious

    The Federal Deficit is close to 13 Trillion dollars the is boat is sinking and we have people wishing to stay in Afghanistan and elevate more troops.

    Mass corruption in Afghanistan and wasting our Tax Payers dollars on buying Afgan votes for its government, And giving hand-outs to the lazy and poor. There is not enough money to go around feeding every Afgan and the government can not do anything right. Stop this Afghan Socialism and let the free market in.

    The Ship is sinking in Afghanistan and theirs not enough space on the rafts to support everyone, Gen. Stanley McChrystal is just the first one on the boat.

  • cory

    Tom Berke,

    By your reasoning (if we can call it that), Harry Truman had no authority to relieve Douglas MacArthur during the Korean war. In fact, Abraham Lincoln could not have changed generals during the civil war because he had no military experience.

    Tom, I would like to suggest that you make no sense.

  • twenty-niner

    “I would like to believe that this is NOT the way “men” talk when they get together like your guest says. Is there no accountability with this position.”

    As a former member of the military, it’s exactly the way men talk and drink when they get together, and it will likely always be that way.

    Fetal positions, move.

  • Richard Johnston

    There are the likes of Eisenhowers today. The problem is that they are accustomed to carrying on casual conversations as though they were sitting in their living rooms, as most of the public regularly do now in movie theaters and on their cell phones.

    Tom, the word is “enormousness” of the task, not “enormity,” which means monstrousness.



  • john smith

    why did one of your guests refer to the comments not mattering because it was only an article in rolling stone? Does he think that one of those puff piece articles in the n.y. times somehow is more important? like judith miller’s syncophantic articles supporting the idea that there eapons of mass destruction iraq following cheny’s instructions for what to write? Now that was real journalism in a real news journal

  • Brett

    It is as clear as an azure sky, in Article 88 of the UCMJ, regarding contempt toward officials: “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.”

    The maximum punishment is dismissal, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for one year. Allowing McChrystal to resign was as honorable an action as the President could afford to extend toward him. Obama already let one of McCrystal’s infractions go when McCrystal initiated a press conference to gain support in the court of public opinion for his requests in Afghanistan.

    Anyone who thinks McChrystal resigned purely of his own volition is either naive or engaging in propaganda (such as our sinking-ship-metaphor-loving friend).

  • jeffe

    Tom Berke if you publicly talked trash about your boss, if you have one, you would be fired.

    The good general served at the pleasure of the president.
    He could have fired him for a lot of things, as Bush did to Casey in 2007. You can politicize this all you want, as I’m sure the right will be doing for the next week or so.
    The bottom line is the office of the president deserves respect no matter who is in charge. You can dislike the man but the office, and how the chain of command works has to be honored. Otherwise we have dissension in the ranks, or worse coups.

  • jeffe

    Thanks Brett for posting that. Pretty cut and dry.

  • Brett

    When I worked for a county Dept. of Human Services I attended many public functions and was even interviewed for an article in the local paper once. When use permits for our programs were before the county board, I was often asked to represent our organization when those permits were on the docket at the public hearings. I privately often disagreed with our policies; but, in the board meetings or in the case of the newspaper article, if I had voiced those concerns and views I would have been fired the next day, no resignation, no extension of benefits, no if’s, and’s or but’s!

    McChrystal will probably parlay this event into a launching pad for a conservative political career! ;-)

    Additionally, contrary to what Akilez believes or posits, “The General resigned We are back to first base in the war in Afghanistan,” we are actually in a much better position in Afghanistan, as Gen. Petraeus wrote the field handbook on counterinsurgency that is in current use in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Essentially, Gen. Petraeus is the architect of modern counterinsurgency military strategy.

    [[As an editing note, Akilez, I think you meant to use the phrase "square one," as the phrase "first base" is used when teenage boys refer to how far they might have managed to get with girls sexually--the first rung, as it were, e.g., holding hands, putting one's arm around a girl at the movies, that sort of thing. Second base would be kissing; third base would be caressing certain upper-torso, anatomical parts which girls posses and boys do not, parts with which teenage boys generally might very well lack tactile familiarity in experiencing; and, of course, one can well imagine what reaching home, or a home run, or a "run batted in," if you will, might represent.]]

    As is currently scheduled, we are to begin withdrawing combat troops next summer. If this happens, and I hope it does, at least with Gen. Petraeus we won’t be leaving with our exit strategy in as much disarray as it would have been under McChrystal. I believe Gen. Petreaus will allow an appearance that we are leaving Afghanistan after doing all we reasonably can for the Afghan people, as opposed to looking as if we are leaving because we have failed and our policies are inept. If Afghanistan does not become a fully-functioning, centralized government above reproach, and it can not keep encroaching fundamentalist religious groups/terrorist organizations in check or prevent them from seizing power, the world should view this as purely Afghanistan’s problem and purely Afghanistan’s fault.

  • David

    Micheal Hastings evaded and Tom Ashbrook ignored a key question in this story. One Tom’s first questions was: “How long were you with General McChrystal and in what sort of circumstances to get this dope…Just trying to get a sense of what kind of environments you met with them in where they were talking so glibly, loosely, even offensively…”
    In his rambling answer Hastings briefly mentions that he was with them at McChrystal’s “wedding anniversary with him and his senior staff where they proceeded to get fairly inebriated as one would expect from a bunch of infantry guys when they were out on the town in Paris.”
    Well one would not expect generals and their staffs to get drunk as a matter of course and if they were drunk at a family party when the comments were quoted that context is a critical factor in interpreting the meaning of the comments.
    But Ashbrook missed it completely. Instead of asking whether all the incriminating comments came from this setting or just how drunk was the group or what time of night the comments were made he takes it for granted that the comments were the result of sober rational thinking by asking “Did you have any sense that General McChrystal was trying to send a message to Washington through the things they told you?”

  • Ellen Dibble

    Rahm Emanuel on Sunday was pointing out that on Obama’s watch half of al Kaida had been killed, and as I recall NPR quick-checked and found out that “half” equals 10 out of 20 (counting only the leadership). And that was achieved (my conclusion) mostly by the drone strikes (which have collateral damage to civilians to also to America’s reputation) which were greatly intensified by Obama.
    I gather that Al Kaida is an extension of the offense wahibi Islam feels from the presence of infidels on their territory post World War II, starting in Saudi Arabia but anywhere else in the Muslim ooma (I think that’s the word for their diaspora/home territories), so The Base (“al kaida”) is not 20 leaders in the Pakistani hinterland. And if Rahm Emanuel is expressing Administration perspective, that’s sad. The droning would seem to me to be counterproductive.
    The book on counterinsurgencies is said to be written by Petraeus. I never thought McChrystal was the real deal. They say Petraeus will be better in communications, in the politics of dealing with the leaders in the training camps in the mountains. That is not the same as dealing with insurgency. But I’m not sure we have the mission to transform Afghanistan. Flipping TV channels, I hear Amy Goodman talking with someone about how the United States finances military operations in Central America to prop up dictators because they guarantee stability. I don’t know what decade she was referencing, but now we are propping up elected democratic regimes for the same purpose???? What gives? We are just plain being imperial, and drowning ourselves in debt. The terrorists have taken far more actions in other NATO nations (Spain, England…). The more we get involved, the more we seem to get targeted. What we’ve been doing is like stepping in a hornet’s nest and getting chased all down the path by the whole colony, to my mind. Hopefully, Petraeus will unwind things with more dignity than was done in Vietnam.
    Meanwhile, at the White House web site, interesting videos about LGBT celebration (last night I think) wherein Obama lists what he is doing for that 15 percent (more or less) of our population. Maybe he didn’t want that to be headlined? Be amazed, people. The fact of him taking time — in the middle of the Gulf situation and the McChrystal situation — to set forth his sense of justice here and what he is doing (rather under the radar), wow.
    And there is a video in the last day or so where Obama gives a speech to some relevant audience enumerating what is being done relative to health insurance, both within the new law and beyond it, many times his Admininstration simply requested this or that, and insurers apparently have obliged. Again, apparently under the radar.
    All network news tonight locked onto the BP oil spill and the McChrystal story. If I like McChrystal slept four hours a night, ate one meal a day, and ran an hour before breakfast (more or less what Martha Raddatz at ABC reports of him), I would flat burn out in a year. Such heroics are only 24/7 for so long. And in today’s world, they say “there is no privacy.” Only those 30 and younger can really live comfortably with this. As we see.
    Anyway, newswise, if there is not a big legislative fight involved, or a splash in Rolling Stone, just Administrative phone calls and consequent changes, well I guess we don’t get that information.

  • david

    A country that has people that are not willing to die for their own freedom is a country that will remain in bondage.
    The Afghan people as a whole have not reached that point. They are willing to die for their tribes but are not yet willing to die for their country.
    If these people are not willing to throw out the trash, why should we die doing it for them?
    I am willing to think McChrystal knew he screwed up and resigned in recognition of what the MCC required. Or maybe, if dissension exist among men, one realizes one must leave.

  • Brett

    “A country that has people that are not willing to die for their own freedom is a country that will remain in bondage.
    The Afghan people as a whole have not reached that point. They are willing to die for their tribes but are not yet willing to die for their country.
    If these people are not willing to throw out the trash, why should we die doing it for them?
    I am willing to think McChrystal knew he screwed up and resigned in recognition of what the MCC required. Or maybe, if dissension exist among men, one realizes one must leave.” -david

    You and I can agree about the Afghan people not being willing to die for their country, and that we should not be putting the lives of our soldiers at risk as overcompensation for their lack of unity, or patriotism, or whatever one would call their lack of a call to arms to have a unified and well-functioning country (at least in looking at Afghanistan through our western lens, as it were, anyway).

    And, whether McChrystal resigned completely of his own accord or whether it was at Obama’s urging, the most honorable action under the circumstances transpired.

  • Brett

    David @ 11:03pm.

    Ah, so they were drunk, so that excuses it……maybe other factors were with McCrystal’s lack of enough regular sleep activity, or fluctuations in his blood sugar levels due to his one-meal-a-day regiment. He could have been suffering from a lapse of judgement because of sleep deprivation, or high or low blood sugar levels?!?

  • wavre

    Poppies,Oil and Gaz pipelines,money to contractors,the military industrial complex, and…LITHIUM!!!!

    Don’t let this circus distract you,Let’s just Follow the money.Wars are fought to plander ressources. PERIOD!

    We will not leave that country voluntarely, our army is in the service of corporations.

  • joshua

    the general’s purpose was political–its an attempt to discredit the President and the Democratic leadership–that is he too weak, that the security of the nation is at risk. its all political maneuvering. its no secret that most military personnel are Republican hotheads, teabaggers, birthers, brownshirts, KKK, and Nazis.

    But they dont understand or didnt get the memo that Democrat and Republican are two wings of the same house, the fascist party with the same interests and motivations.

  • joshua

    Where are the Eisenhower? History tells us that many generals and leaders are incapable, inadequate, or poor leaders. Or simply not suitable for the task at hand. Lincoln went through many generals before he found one that could win the war. In the Civil War, many of the “best” generals sided with the South–which is no surprise because a thin red line lies between war-mongers, war-like mentality and disregard of humanity, human-life–thus slavery. The South is culturally anti-human, pro-war, pro-slavery–still is.

    But to get back to my original point, the civilian leadership must pick out the bad apples to get at the really good ones in the basket.

  • joshua

    Special Ops personnel in the military are exceptionally radical and extreme–that is well known in the military. many are Christian apocalyptic nuts, and many are KKK Nazi types. They used to publish, maybe they still do–the resisters rag–which is exceptionally racist and misogynist. it is well-liked in the military though illegal and underground.

    Like he said–special ops do not follow chains of command in the normal way.

    to the commentators and guests who said this reporter had no right and should not have been there–you are unreasonable, ignorant and maybe fascist–these are exactly the kind of reporters we want–that is the point of a journalist–we don’t want spin doctors repeating the Nazi line.

    This is the problem we have today–no respect for democracy, freedom, liberty, equality, justice, truth or honor. This country is dying.

    Mc’Chrissy’ is manuevering. he is in the camp of fascism and coup. he knew very well the troops on the ground are Republican Bush heads and hate Obama. This is dissent. It is an attempt to stir dissent among the ranks. NObody gets to this level without understanding morale, honor, leadership, fortitude–all officers understand that you do not belittle people or let off steam publicly or in the face of a superior commander or subordinates–it breaks down the chain of command–respect and makes people wonder if the leader is capbale with your life in their hands. When the men lose faith in the leader stability breaks down. There are proper channels.

    The man has it right, an officer is never off duty. That is stated in every manuel and book and known by all in the service–its tradition.

    There are rebels among us and they are not democratic. They certainly are not patriotic. A patriot questions his country and is not afraid to speak of its dark past or dark present. All those who today who claim to be patriots–are far from it–they are fascists and men of one book. They love only their narrow view of America–they do not love America. America is its black people, its brown people, its poor people, its Asian people, its Mexican people, its socialists, its anarchists, its atheists and scientists and pro-lifers–America is many things but it has never been–was never meant to be–traditional, fascist, war-mongering, un-democratic, or Christian.

  • joshua

    America is its anti-war activists. America is its environmentalists and tree-huggers.

    its time we start asking Afghans and Iraqi and others what we can do to help–instead of kicking them around and murdering them with bombs on their houses and bullets between the eyes, or torturing them until we get what WE want.

    This country is the Nazis–the fourth Reich. it is the greatest terror the world has have ever seen. The father of terror. We are just more advanced.

  • William

    The single characteristic of a person serving in “Special Operations” is they are very intelligent, loyal and professional. Working “within” the system does not always work for them and perhaps the General was trying to quicken the process. I think his idea of using the Roling Stones magazine is a typical “out of the box” thinking for that community.

  • Casey

    “Colonel” Wilkerson earned his rank and still contributes to society. But he achieved what little fame he has as a bureaucrat. That is his strength. Analysis clearly isn’t. Please stop framing him as an expert on the military. He isn’t. As an active-duty colonel, I am a little taken aback by some of his elementary mistakes and misstatments of easily checkable facts. The trouble is that people who don’t know better will think he knows what’s he’s talking about. I am even more disappointed with his constant little insertions to gain credibility–things like his comment about the Rangers (“a topic with which I have more than a little familiarity”) and his constant stream of “I get emails from all kinds of people in Afghanistan.” It’s clear that he doesn’t have a clue about the Rangers as they are now. Maybe as they were in Vietnam and shortly thereafter, but not in this generation. Nor is receipt of emails remotely equivalent to firsthand experience. It was sad, hearing what were essentially pleas to be taken seriously. I cringed at his glaring out-of-touchness. Please. Invite him if you must as a person whose voice is in the public arena. Ask his political opinions. That’s all fine. Just don’t confuse him with a military expert. He’s a bureaucratic expert who once served quite honorably in an Army from a bygone era. He’s hopelessly disconnected from today’s reality.

  • David

    I just finished reading the Rolling Stone article. What’s all the fuss about? McChrystal and his aids like to talk a little trash. Big deal. I thought the article was basically flattering toward McChrystal(except the part about his role in the Pat Tillman coverup).

    He cares about his troops, he walks the frontlines with them, and he is also in a no win situation (COIN won’t work). So what if his aids take a crack at that clown Biden (who can barely speak a sentence without saying the word “literally”)? McChrystal and his aids are a little rough around the edges, is all. Big deal.

  • Scott Allen

    Truth is Truth 

  • Art Toegemann

    Kudos to On Point to question Hastings’s recent death. Journalists and readers must take a hard look at this “accident”.

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