Fact Sheet

5 'insubordinate' quotes in Rolling Stone's Stanley McChrystal profile

The top commander in Afghanistan is in hot water after a damaging magazine story reveals a disrespectful stance towards senior White House figures, including Obama

General Stanley McChrystal, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, has been summoned to the White House to explain unflattering remarks about senior Obama administration figures in a soon-to-be-published magazine article. The Rolling Stone piece, "The Runaway General," depicts McChrystal and his aides as critical of White House figures and diplomats, including the commander-in-chief. President Obama is reportedly "furious" at the breach of protocol, and some are calling for McChrystal to resign for insubordination. (Watch an ABC report about McChrystal's comments.) The general called the article "a mistake reflecting poor judgment" and said it "should never have happened." But the damage may already be done. (See: "Will General McChrystal lose his job?") Here are the quotes that have everyone talking:

1. Obama "didn't seem very engaged"A quote attributed to an unnamed McChrystal adviser says the general was unimpressed with the president after their first meeting. "It was a 10-minute photo op," the source says. "Obama clearly didn't know anything about [McChrystal], who he was... he didn't seem very engaged. [McChrystal] was pretty disappointed." This quote is the "big bombshell," says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. "Does that amount to insubordination? Perhaps; it’s certainly a violation of the normal respect given to the chain of command in public."

2. National Security Advisor Jim Jones is a "clown"Obama's national security advisor is described as a "clown" by one of McChrystal's senior aides. The retired general is said to be "stuck in 1985." 

3. Karl Eikenberry is covering his "flank"McChrystal told Rolling Stone he felt "betrayed" by Karl Eikenberry, the U.S. ambassador to Kabul. After Eikenberry questioned McChrystal's request for more troops, the general said: "Here's one that covers his flank for the history books. Now if we fail, they can say 'I told you so.'"

4. Biden or "bite me"?McChrystal "jokes sarcastically" about the vice president, who is "known as a skeptic of the commander's war strategy." When asked about Biden, McChrystal reportedly says, "Who's that?" An adviser says: "Biden? Did you say: Bite me?"

5. "Richard Holbrooke is like a wounded animal"Upon receiving an email from Richard Holbrooke, the State Department's envoy to the region, McChrystal lets his feelings be known: "Oh, not another email from Holbrooke," the general is reported to have said. "I don't even want to open it." According to a member of the general's team: "[McChrystal] says [Holbrooke]'s like a wounded animal. Holbrooke keeps hearing rumors that he's going to get fired, so that makes him dangerous."

Read The Week's exclusive round-up of reaction: "Will Gen. McChrystal lose his job?"

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