June 24th, 2010
06:50 PM ET
4 years ago

Stone: Petraeus' new position shows a 'complete breakdown'

(CNN) – Director Oliver Stone, a longtime critic of President Barack Obama's Afghanistan policy, says the president was wrong to choose Gen. David Petraeus to be the new leader of the effort there.

"He's asking the head of the whole region, CENTCOM command, Petraeus, to step down in authority to take this post. That shows a complete breakdown in the military, to me," Stone said in an interview with CNN's John King.

"You don't promote down," added Stone, a veteran of the Vietnam War. "It's like asking Eisenhower to lead a division in World War II after he's led D-Day. You don't do that."

Obama relieved Gen. Stanley McChrystal of his duties as the top commander in Afghanistan Wednesday after the general and his staff were quoted in a Rolling Stone magazine article making comments that appear to mock top administration officials.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen endorsed Obama's decision during a Pentagon news conference Thursday. Mullen said he was nearly physically "sick" when he read the Rolling Stone story. The comments in the article constituted an unacceptable challenge to civilian authority, the men said.


Gates also said Obama himself suggested putting Petraeus in the new post.

"It was the president's idea," Gates told reporters Thursday. "It was the president who first raised Petraeus' name." Gates also called the Petraeus appointment the "best possible outcome to an awful situation."

But in the CNN interview, airing on John King, USA, Stone said the move doesn't change the fact that there is something "wrong in the military."

"You have to realize that McChrystal may have done the wrong thing, but a lot of people agree with him in the military. So there's going to be bad feelings a long time."

soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. phoenix86

    Petraeus supports the Obama timeline because he knows that Obama is not funding the troops; so why keep letting US soldiers die due to the ineptness of the US president.

    June 24, 2010 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  2. patrick

    Poor Oliver, your comment has shown why why you are in the movie business, and remain there... Nevertheless, you are entitled to your opinion but not your own facts.

    June 24, 2010 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  3. sally

    Since when do movie directors know or have any right to decide how a
    war should be run, who should run it, or anything else that doesn't
    have anything to do with their profession?

    June 24, 2010 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  4. thor

    I don't find myself in agreement with Oliver Stone often but this time i do.We need to get our troops home now .Obama has a failed policy that is just going to mean more soldiers are going to die for nothing more than this presidento thump his chest. Why wait another year to do what should have been done as of yesterday.

    June 24, 2010 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  5. Jeff

    does anyone really care what Oliver Stone has to say?

    June 24, 2010 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  6. Harry A. Mitchell III

    Does Stone think because he directed a "War" movie, he is an expert?

    June 24, 2010 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  7. Ken, AZ

    Gen. David Petraeus most certainly had to agree to the president's move. He had the option to turn down the assignment. Besides, Gen. Petraeus is likely going to be either the next Army Chief of Staff or the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, if he wants it.

    June 24, 2010 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  8. andyourlittledogtoo

    And this guy is a military expert because . . . he was in the Army and has made a couple of war movies? Give me a break.

    June 24, 2010 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    Oh no! Oliver Stone does not think Petraeus should be, as he says, 'demoted' to top U.S. commander in Afghanistan. Tsk-tsk Oliver! Petreaus will not take a pay cut – nor a cut in respect. His 'position' on the chess board has changed. And it's for the better.

    June 24, 2010 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  10. Gerry NH

    This shows that Obama has no understanding about the miliary. I spent over20 years in the military and you just know when somebody does not care or understand the military, and Obama doesn't.

    June 24, 2010 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  11. bill

    oh for the days when americans cared about america. we need to get ALL washington dc out of washington dc and start a new "group" to run our country in kansas.

    June 24, 2010 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  12. ib

    this shows how stupid Obama is when it comes to military matters. McChrystal was right about the messiah all along and this proves it.

    June 24, 2010 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  13. Robert

    Nice that Petraeus was willing to take one for the skipper – but I don wonder what he was threatened with if he did not.

    June 24, 2010 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  14. Laverne

    It's whoever is the best person for the job! That's the problem in America, everybody is fighting for power and it is bringing this country down in a negative way.

    June 24, 2010 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  15. MatthewDetroit

    You should have watched Barack on TV tonight......

    He was an idiot as usual. he has no idea what he is doing. He now is failing completely in Afghanistan..

    He can blame President Bush as much as he wants but it is his baby now. Barack listens to people like Joe Biden who have no idea about war or winning a war.

    Barack you have your hands full. You tricked millions of Americans into voting for you. You really have no idea how to be a leader.

    You are just an extreme liberal advocate and you will sell your country down the river for anything you can get..... You are lousy.

    June 24, 2010 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  16. valwayne

    The comments constituted more of a challenge to Obama's think skin and vanity. Its hardly like McCarthur and Truman. Oliver Stone is a goof, but then the world knows that now. There's nothing wrong with the military. Like a majority of the nation they've come to the realization that that Obama is an incompetent left wing ideologue. Whether its UNEMPLOYMENT, the Economy, Foreign Policy, or the Gulf Oil spill Obama is totally clueless. Worse for them, their lives are at stake and the lives of the men they command. If you think for a second that Gen Petraeus has a higher opinion of Obama then Gen McChrystal just remember it wasn't that long ago that Obama's left wing friend were calling him Gen Betrayus.

    June 24, 2010 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  17. MatthewDetroit

    Patraeus is awesome but Barack and the clowns in charge have no idea what they are doing......

    Barack is to blame for ALL of the problems today.....
    He and his cohorts in congess have been driving this country into the ground since 2006...

    June 24, 2010 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  18. Jon In Madison

    Obama is a moron. Enough said.

    June 24, 2010 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  19. George of the jungle

    hey let's all listen to this nut job director who sees conspirecys everywhere. Like why should we care what he thinks? My neighbor has his oppinion so does my barber. Why don't you print what they think. Stupid story / You guys are really streching .

    June 24, 2010 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  20. G. Witte

    So we're asking Oliver Stone for his opinion about world politics and leadership now? This is a joke, right?

    June 24, 2010 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    This argument might hold some water if Obama were managing a Wendys and Petraeus was asked to take over the fryer after manning the burgers. However, it's a friggin' war in two countries! This isn't a demotion...it's putting a guy with experience in navigating military, political and cultural difficulties. I don't agree with McChrystal giving an interview to Rolling Stone...nor do i agree with Obama bashing McChrystal in view of the public. it shows lack of direction and cohesion on both parts. Shame on them. That being said, Petraeus seems to be more well equipped for a task that ultimately takes more than military might.

    Wish I could say Obama was a genius for doing this, but he landed in this position by the luck of McChrystal shooting off his mouth. A convenient win.

    June 24, 2010 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  22. Mesa Mick

    OK smart guy, who would you put in charge?

    What's that I hear Stone, is that "crickets".

    Typical Monday morning quarterbacking from someone who has no skin in the game or nothing to loose...

    June 24, 2010 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  23. S Callahan

    Deep breathe...FINALLY...someone who see it the way I do! Thank You Mr. Stone!!!!

    June 24, 2010 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  24. hobart

    And Oliver Stone's credentials to have any expertise on this subject is what exactly? Zero. Oh well, you love to interview Rudy Guiliani too, and all his criticisms (e.g. no acts of terrorism on American soil, on Bush's watch, no one tried in civilian courts, etc.) are equally stupid and clueless.

    June 24, 2010 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  25. normajean

    Dear Lord, what is this world coming to. It's bad enough that we have a semi educated "mouth' like Sarah Palin convincing the old and confused to think her way, now we have a movie director Oliver Stone. telling the president whom he should put in charge of the war. Really, this is too much! Mr.Stone has always come across as arrogant and it is the heights for him to even comment. and of course for the media to waste space with this idiocy... It is his opinion...OPINION. Got it?I don't think the president would presume to tell Stone how to make a movie. Apparently,however, those" in the know" think the president made the right move.

    June 24, 2010 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
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