Exclusive: McChrystal speaks out on Rolling Stone article
Retired general opens up on comments that ended his military career
- Duration 7:30
- Date Jan 7, 2013
Retired general opens up on comments that ended his military career
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Today -- accepted.
General Stanley McChrystal as resignation as commander of the international.
Security assistance force in Afghanistan.
I did so with considerable regret.
But also with certainty that is -- right thing for our mission in Afghanistan.
For our military.
And for our country.
I don't make this.
Decision based on any difference in policy.
-- General McChrystal as we are in full agreement about our strategy.
Stan McChrystal has always shown great courtesy.
And carried out my orders faithfully.
I've got great admiration for him and for his long record of service in uniform.
But war is bigger than any one man or woman whether a private.
Conduct represented in the recently published article.
Does not meet the standard that should be set by -- commanding general.
It undermines the civilian control of the military that is at the core.
Of our democratic system.
And it erodes the trust that's necessary for our team.
To work together to achieve our objectives in Afghanistan.
My multiple responsibilities as commander in chief let me -- this decision.
All the back to our exclusive sit down with retired general Stanley McChrystal -- I was President Obama explaining.
McChrystal resignation which was announced just hours after the release of rolling stone's controversial profile of the general that was back -- -- -- 2010.
And still with me to talk about that article and his abrupt ending.
Of his long military career the man of the hour general Stanley McChrystal.
Maybe this goes back to the burning down of the house and -- days -- West Point general but.
You had to -- some instances.
You had to deal with President Obama on some controversial -- the first to I guess wasn't on in Copenhagen on Air Force One when -- explain that 11.
There had been a I've been requested by the government of United Kingdom to come to the United Kingdom and do some events to explain our strategy in what was going on in Afghanistan which -- did.
In one of the events.
There was an interpretation.
That I had criticized vice presidents Biden.
Now if you this -- banner read the transcript in no -- did that happen I was asked to question whether.
I thought I single CTO only your direct action only strategy would be enough to secure Afghanistan and my response was I thought -- -- be required.
Vice President Biden was never.
Mentioned in the question never mentioned -- response and never occurred to me that in -- -- that was connected it was connected by one.
And it but came.
A a controversy.
That I thought.
Really was much to do about nothing but it came to me and an idea I accepted.
The fact that I need to be very very careful not about just what I said but how it might be interpreted that brings us to the Rolling Stone -- laughter.
In bids that would military.
The military all the time.
You allow this guy from Rolling Stone -- it sounded to me as I read it again that you guys kind of what you -- down a little bit from the sky.
You know what we did a number of media engagements throughout the time I was there because one of the things I had to do was explain the war in Afghanistan.
Two people in Europe.
To American leaders but also to families people who sons and daughters were fight they had a right to that transparency.
So we gave access to wait a wide variety of media to include periodic embeds.
The Rolling Stone was one of those -- In this particular case.
The account but that reporter produced was very different.
For my interpretation of events or the nature of my staff who like I have extraordinary regard for but listen I was a commander.
When you're in command.
You like the outcome or not you accept responsibility and that's what made it.
But -- tell a story that you wake up what opened up at 2 AM to told it's really bad he -- you knew within an hour you had to resign.
He dedicated your entire life to your country.
What was the meeting with President Obama like in the Oval Office well.
First off when you wake up.
And you have something fiery.
It's a controversy that you don't believe has merit.
But it's a controversy.
-- controversy arises that puts my commander my commander in chief cassettes I work for.
That puts my commander in chief -- a difficult position and that's not my job.
Is to support the mission the soldiers work for me in my commander in chief so as soon as I saw the controversy was gonna reach levels it did.
I was confident that at least I needed to offer my resignation it would if he would've asked you to stay would you have.
I told President Obama that day that I would do whatever was best for the mission I would be happy to go back -- continue to command or.
If he decided to accept my resignation in fact I would I would move out -- you voted for him in 2008.
This happened in 2010.
And -- you voted for and point while I private citizen now keep that -- -- and I you know pass on that went.
Did you but will need all of a sudden -- career ends you walk out of the Oval Office the president just accepted here -- resignation.
What are you thinking who do you call what do what does that like for you.
Several things in the first thing is.
It's a short drive back to fort McNair.
I drive back to form -- -- right come in early that morning after final night.
I've taken a shower put my uniform and headed first to the Pentagon and the White House and -- knew what the controversy was but she had no idea what the likely outcome.
And as I drove back.
Several things -- -- my -- -- first.
I had 150000 soldiers who count on -- many of -- had deployed simply because -- asked for.
Many individuals on the staff -- -- stop what you're doing and come on.
My commands are major hear Mike call was retired for eighteen months and I call -- and -- -- come back on active duty come to war.
And he did so that was the first people I thought I'd let down was those the soldiers.
And I thought I'd let down the mission.
But you know.
For someone who believes in you for we've been married for more than 33 years at that point.
The one person who's a steam and whose level is most important to me was an.
And she'd been an army brat she married me.
Right after I got out of West Point a few months later and we go on to every step of this together.
She'd never complained about the deployment she'd gone to the funeral she'd been there when I came out of surgery every step she was there.
And I had to go in and teller that.
It was over because her life takes a hard right turn as much as mine site.
I got out of car and the one beauty is.
I thought I -- the response and I walked in and she was standing in the entrance way and said it's over.
President -- -- my resignation she looked at me and she didn't get mad she didn't say that's wrong she said good.
We've always been happy and -- which will be.