June 22nd, 2010
12:30 PM ET
4 years ago

Gates: McChrystal has apologized for 'significant mistake'

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in a statement Tuesday that Gen. Stanley McChrystal ‘made a significant mistake’ and ‘exercised poor judgment.’
Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in a statement Tuesday that Gen. Stanley McChrystal ‘made a significant mistake’ and ‘exercised poor judgment.’

(CNN) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates issued a statement Tuesday noting that Gen. Stanley McChrystal "has apologized to me and is similarly reaching out to others named in (the Rolling Stone) article to apologize to them as well. I have recalled Gen. McChrystal to Washington to discuss this in person."

Gates said he read "with concern" the Rolling Stone story, and he believes McChrystal "made a significant mistake and exercised poor judgment in this case."

"We are fighting a war against al Qaeda and its extremist allies, who directly threaten the United States, Afghanistan, and our friends and allies around the world," Gates said. "Going forward, we must pursue this mission with a unity of purpose. Our troops and coalition partners are making extraordinary sacrifices on behalf of our security, and our singular focus must be on supporting them and succeeding in Afghanistan without such distractions."


Filed under: Robert Gates • Stanley McChrystal
soundoff (66 Responses)
  1. La Piovra

    A general, or any other officer in the United States military, is entitled to have an opinion and vote accordingly, but he is not always entitled to share it with either his subordinates or the press before he retires. Nor is he entitled to speak with contempt of his elected superiors while he serves them. Why? Because we do not need our military hierarchy commanding the country. Some generals – Washington, Grant, and Eisenhower, for instance – have indeed led the nation after they retired, campaigned as civilians, and were duly elected. Douglas MacArthur might have done as much, had he not tried to do so from his position as a commanding officer. But this position must be preserved: our lawful leadership is civilian and elected, and it is the citizens, through them, who must dictate the country's course. The advice of the military is welcome, but their unbridled influence is not.

    June 22, 2010 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  2. John Adkisson

    My sense is that the General's unique skills might earn him a second chance but for one big problem. He did not merely make snarky remarks about the President and Vice-President, which could easily be retracted. His most serious verbal assaults were against the key diplomats and military colleagues with whom he must work to make his Afghanistan strategy successful. It is hard to imagine General Petraeus being as successful as he was in Iraq if he held his colleagues in such contempt. It will be close to impossible for McChrystal to re-build a cohesive team around a leader who apparently believes he is the only one in the room with any brains.

    June 22, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  3. nini

    That is why experience matters America.

    I respect general McChrystal for his courage and honesty.

    If a 4 star General of this country holds back on the truth and not tell the country that how he really feels about our leadership who can you trust.

    June 22, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  4. GI Joe

    Relieve McChrystal of all duties and put him before the Court Martial. His peers will reem him and dish out fair judgment (hopefully).

    June 22, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  5. Peggy - TX

    Gen. Stanley McChrystal has made an extrodinarily serious error by this deliberate public disrespect of Vice President Biden and President Obama. Such attidute, well contained might be understood, and tolerated by such a powerful and capable individal as the general; but, not in this case.

    Our current President is often critizsed as being aloof and not enganged, as if the General expects to our President to have been prepared to charm the General. For a Military General to publically undermind the authority of our president, especially in atime of war, shows scary lack of judgement and exposes an unexceptable narsuistic tendancy in this general.

    Also, with the current political climate where the Republican party is desperatly trying to tear down the current administration, the political loyalties of this general come into question.

    The facts are President Obama has shown GREAT competance and extrodinary LEADERSHIP in how he has managed this war, but this General has nevertheless, clearly, deliberatly, underminded the Presidents authority, giving the “haters” more amninition to thow out at the President. I personally would like to see Gen. Stanley McChrystal fired!!!

    June 22, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  6. Barack.Hussein.Obama-America's-Benevolent-DICTATOR

    Well, McCrystal and his aides sure let it all out and they must have a reason for it. If he does resign or is fired I hope he retires so we can get the TRUTH about what is going on over there and what the Band of Buffoons in the Obozo administration are doing to muck up the works.

    June 22, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  7. Retired Army in San Antonio

    GEN McChrystal has apologized.......and he should still be relieved of his command and invited/encouraged to retire.

    This is a blatant case of insubordination. As a 'Flag Rank' officer, he knows full well that he is NOT entitled to criticize superior ranking officers or the civilian leadership of the military.....PARTICULARLY in front of his subordinates/staff!

    It's a shame that his career should have to end this way......but it SHOULD end.......and he absolutely brought this on himself.

    Sorry General......but you get no sympathy here.

    June 22, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  8. NC

    General McChrystal should be relieved of his responsibility in Afghanistan. He wanted more troops and he is getting them. He is beginning to sound political, making a statement then apologizing. He is not there to give interviews to Magazines. If he is so frustrated it is time for him to retire. We don't need someone with our men and women's lives at stake that has poor judgement. God Bless America.

    June 22, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  9. Blaum

    This is what happens with a weak commander in chief..... you get the general...the best warrior the United States has.... the best person we have that can win a war..... you have him taking issue with the president's policy. The man who knows how to fight is fed-up with the community organizer....

    be real...... who didn't see this coming?

    Obama is weak with things he knows nothing about.....

    June 22, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  10. Beverly - NYC

    Too little too late, it's insincere to apologize after you're caught. When he and his aide were acting like frat boys with the cool reporter they did not consider the impact of those words. Or maybe their mother's never told them if you would be embarrassed to see your quotes on a billboard don't say it and don't write it.

    McChrystal should be fired immediately for insubordination and conduct unbecoming an officer. If he had any honor left he would show up tomorrow in civvies with a signed resignation letter. His equally clueless, brown nosing aides should do the same. They are allowed to have an opinion about the Commande and Chief, but he doesn't have a right to behave in a manner that put troops lives at risk and being a cheerleader for the Taliban by advising them of what he doesn't have. There is nothing worst than a commander who doesn't believe in the mission while putting the life of other's at risk. Make no mistake, his big mouth is putting Soldiers and Marines on the ground in danger . The President increased troops, too much critisicism from the arm chair talking heads at home, given this ingrate every resource requested, man up McChrystal and admit your strategy isn't working. You sir are no Colin Powell or Norm Schwartzkoff.
    If there is any occasion for the Commander and Chief to go off this is it !!!! He should have been fired after the 60 minutes interview. He will be fine as the poster boy for every nut wing group in this country.

    June 22, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  11. Ex-Republican since McCain picked Palin

    He needs to go!!!! Plain and simple, he does not seem to loyal to the President.

    June 22, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  12. Keep the General Fire Obama

    For my money I would keep the General and toss Biden and Obama. To think that a junior Senator with zero experience can be Commander in Chief and lead us in a War is lunacy - Obama is a policitian with no military experience on how to wage or win a war. General McChrystal is a General and a decorated hero who knows how to fight and win a War and does not give a rat's arse about politics HOORAY FOR THE GENERAL. Impeach Obama; keep the General and either let him fight a war he can win or bring all the troops home. Afghanistan is now very much like the last years of Vietnam where politicians managed the war for political reasons -- and this costs American lives.

    As for Biden -- BITE ME

    June 22, 2010 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  13. Blaum

    It sure is sad......but our president makes our country look weak..... he evidently has no control.... if he did.... this wouldn't have happened..

    June 22, 2010 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  14. Jayson

    The only mistake he has truly made is not quitting since you can't win a war if you have the government micromanaging it...

    June 22, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  15. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    McChrystal like many of our military men and women probably needs a little R&R because they do give so much. I'm sure the President along with Gates and others will review McChrystal in the proper manner. If he needs a little R&R there are many very well qualified Generals to fill his position if necessary.

    June 22, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  16. Jerry

    Some times the truth is not pleasant folks, hope is not a plan so lets beat the rush an impeach Obama now.

    June 22, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  17. snow

    The General told the truth but was forced to apologize. I cannot feel to sorry for the General, after all he admits he did vote for the current occupant of the White House. I thought he was smarter than that.

    June 22, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  18. A.B.

    McChrystal's behavior is unacceptable and must be addressed appropriately by President Obama. General McChrystal is no longer fit to serve in the President's cabinet and should resigned immediately. President Obama deserves better. He deserves a commander who respects his judgement and authority and will execute his policies without hesitation and fail. The president deserves a commander who is loyal and who deserves his confidence. General McChrystal has lost the President's trust and confidence. If this man has any shred of integrity left, he would tender his resignation.

    June 22, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  19. About time

    Look at it this way, at least McChrystal had the stones to say what everyone is thinking and then be man enough to admit he did in fact say those things. That's more than what can be said about our current WH resident and most of his posee.

    June 22, 2010 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  20. Wisconsinite

    He also needs to apologize to the thousands of men and women fighting in this war and to the American people at large! Traitor! Stop trying to soft peddle it, Gates!

    June 22, 2010 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  21. Mesa Mick

    Listen Gates, you only need to say four words to this back stabbing hotshot...

    "Apology accepted – You're fired"...

    June 22, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  22. BB

    Apology not accepted!
    Get rid of this dirt bag!!!

    June 22, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  23. RRR

    Fire McChrystal for insubordination. Who does he think he is? MacArthur? Patton?

    He hasnt won diddly. If you truly are a patriot, RESPECT THE PRESIDENT!

    June 22, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  24. JES

    It's a shame the military has to live by two sets of laws.

    June 22, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  25. thor

    McChrystal realizes he's being set up by Obama to be the fall guy for this failing policy in Afghanistan and he doesn't want the blame. That is why he speaking out now to protect himself.Obama won't be able to blame him for what went wrong at a later date.Bring our troops home now,we don't need any more troops dying there to keep a corrupt unelected leader in power.

    June 22, 2010 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
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