McChrystal, advisers spared few top officials in article
An angry President Obama summoned his top commander in Afghanistan to Washington on Tuesday after a magazine article quoted Gen. Stanley McChrystal or his aides talking in sharply derisive terms about Vice President Joseph Biden; Ambassador Karl Eikenberry; Richard Holbrooke, the special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan; and an unnamed minister in the French government.
An article in the July 8-22 edition of Rolling Stone magazine shows Gen. Stanley McChrystal or his aides talking in sharply derisive terms about Vice President Joseph Biden; Ambassador Karl Eikenberry; Richard Holbrooke, the special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan; and an unnamed minister in the French government. One of McChrystal's aides is quoted as referring to national-security adviser James Jones as a "clown."
The article, entitled "The Runaway General," quotes aides of McChrystal saying the general was "pretty disappointed" by an Oval Office meeting with President Obama soon after he took office, and that he found the president "uncomfortable and intimidated" during a Pentagon meeting with McChrystal and several other generals. The article, however, does not mention serious policy differences with Obama.
Still, the article seems destined to raise questions about McChrystal's judgment, and to spark debate over the wisdom of Obama's Afghanistan strategy, at a time when violence is rising sharply and when several central planks of the strategy appear to be stalled. Two important U.S. allies, the Dutch and Canadians, have announced plans to pull their combat troops out of the country.
The author of the article — Michael Hastings, a freelance journalist — appears to have been granted intimate access to McChrystal's inner circle. Most comments seem to have been uttered during unguarded moments, in places such as bars and restaurants where the general and his aides gathered to unwind.
About Holbrooke, an aide to McChrystal is quoted saying: "The Boss says he's like a wounded animal. Holbrooke keeps hearing rumors that he's going to be fired, so that makes him dangerous."
On another occasion, McChrystal is described as reacting with exasperation when he receives an e-mail from Holbrooke. "Oh, not another e-mail from Holbrooke. I don't even want to open it."
A conversation in which McChrystal and an aide talk about Biden is described. "Are you asking about Vice President Biden?" McChrystal jokes. "Biden?" a top adviser suggests. "Did you say 'Bite me?' "
McChrystal also is quoted making disdainful remarks about Eikenberry, with whom he has had sharp disagreements over the war. Eikenberry last year sent confidential cables opposing Obama's decision to send more troops.
"He's one that covers his flanks for the history books," McChrystal is quoted as saying. "Now, if we fail, they can say, 'I told you so.' "
The article also describes a meeting in which a soldier vents his frustration over McChrystal's tightening of rules governing the use of airstrikes against suspected insurgents. Pfc. Jared Pautsch is quoted telling McChrystal that he is endangering soldiers' lives by forcing them to be too restrained.
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.
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