The top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, has been summoned to the White House to explain biting and unflattering remarks he made to a freelance writer about President Barack Obama and others in the Obama administration.
The face to face comes as pundits are already calling for McChrystal to resign for insubordination.
McChrystal has been instructed to fly from Kabul to Washington today to attend Obama’s regular monthly security team meeting tomorrow at the White House.
An administration official says McChrystal was asked to attend in person rather than by secure video teleconference, “where he will have to explain to the Pentagon and the commander in chief his quotes about his colleagues in the piece.”
Both Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have spoken with McChrystal. Capt. John Kirby, a spokesman for Mullen, said “the chairman spoke to Gen. McChrystal last night and expressed his deep disappointment with the article and with the comments expressed therein.”
McChrystal and his top aides appeared to let their guard down during a series of interviews and visits with Michael Hastings, a freelance writer for the magazine Rolling Stone.
The article, titled “The Runaway General,” appears in the magazine later this week. It contains a number of jabs by McChrystal and his staff aimed not only at the president but also at Vice President Joe Biden, special envoy Richard Holbrooke, Karl Eikenberry, the ambassador to Afghanistan, and others.
McChrystal described his first meeting with Obama as disappointing and said that Obama was unprepared for the meeting.
National Security Adviser Jim Jones is described by a McChrystal aide as a “clown” stuck in 1985.
Others aides joked about Biden’s last name as sounding like “Bite me” since Biden opposed the surge.
McChrystal issued an immediate apology for the profile, advance copies of which were sent to news organizations last night. (Continues here)