June 24th, 2010
06:50 PM ET
10 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. Ann

    You don't understand Mr. Stone. I am sure Obama would step down from this position as President and go back as community organizer if his darling Chicago would desperately need him... who am I kidding? hahaha...

    June 24, 2010 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  2. GI Joe

    Oliver – stick to making your fake movies. They're quite enteretaining.

    I do believe Gen. Petraeus is filling BOTH POSITIONS and will no doubt be rewarded with a 5th star and all the ameneties that go with that. He is a true patriot, Oliver, not just a rabble-rousing person that lives in fantasy land.

    June 24, 2010 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  3. Superhiro

    Very curious as to why a movie director's opinion matters in this case.

    June 24, 2010 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  4. GI Joe

    But then I guess you were expected to trash our President since you're on a republican show. Go to FOX next - they'll pay you.

    June 24, 2010 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  5. Don

    CNN, remind me again why we should care what a Hollywood producer thinks about military strategy?

    June 24, 2010 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  6. J.M. B-V

    Oliver Stone! CNN and you wonder why nobody is watching you? This guy rewrites history to his own liking, he is the definition of self importance

    June 24, 2010 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  7. tmartin

    Who cares what Oliver Stone thinks about the workings of the US Military? The man directs movies! I adore Star Wars a zillion times more than any movie Stone ever directed, but I wouldn't give a damn about George Lucas's opinions are on this either! Why would his opinion be considered 'expert' enough to garner an article from any news agency! Shame on you CNN!

    June 24, 2010 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  8. Norm Nelson

    Thank goodness we had the option of selecting a General who knows the ropes, commanding an actual War is a better position than
    Central Command where nothing as significant is happening it's not
    down its across, necessary, wise, will create a new dialoque that might
    get us out of this useless mess.

    June 24, 2010 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  9. Dano

    I'm no military expert, but it seems to me that since we're winding down our mission in Iraq (whatever that was), and General Petraeus seems to know his way around the Middle East and how to deal with tribal chieftans and warlords, he is the perfect choice to start our withdrawel from Afghanistan. Mr. Stone is too worried about the General's title and supposed reduction in authority. Quite frankly most Americans are sick and tired of dumping money and their children's lives into this cesspool of a "country" and will welcome the day when the last soldier is brought home from there.

    June 24, 2010 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  10. Moderate

    Shows A lack of knowledge! McChrystal was below Petraseus. Get informed before speaking, please.

    June 24, 2010 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  11. Victim of GOP Taliban

    You can't please everybody and all the time. Obama's move was brilliant.
    Do you think General Patton wanted to sit behind a desk? If FDR needed or asked Eisenhower to jump...he'd say how high.

    He is NOT commanding a division by the way.

    June 24, 2010 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  12. Debbie

    Other than John King being a huge Republican and his show always leans that way what makes Stone a military expert? He's a film maker and should stick to his day job.

    June 24, 2010 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  13. Republicans is smart in the head area

    Naturally you're going to seek the approval of a Hollywood movie director on matters of national security. My understanding is that PeeWee Herman believes that Petraeus is a great choice so guess we're going to have to check in Ed Begley Jr for consensus.

    June 24, 2010 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  14. gary

    I never realized Stone was a nut.

    June 24, 2010 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  15. KeaauRich

    So now CNN is relying on Hollywood directors to provide military and political analysis and commentary? Seriously?? Seriously??? Did another analyst cancel or Is this the best you can do?

    June 24, 2010 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  16. Discernment


    Oliver Stone is a movie 'art' director and a spoiled 'flower child' from the 1960's. Why would anyone care what this burnt-out, over-the-hill hippy thinks?

    Where are Stones military advisers? Where is his Counsel of Generals to advise him in the same way dozens of Generals have advised President Obama?

    Oliver Stone is a dope.

    June 24, 2010 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  17. DENNA

    Oliver, you're a movie director. Why don't you go make one and let the grownups take care of the war. Bush started this entire mess and President Obama is trying his best to end this thing. He really, really does not need every armchair soldier making unhelpful comments. In fact, if any of you are that smart, why don't you send your suggestions to General Petraeus as to how to wrap this thing up. I'm sure that if your plan(s) are that swell, he'll just jump to implement them. Or, you can all just STFU and let the military handle this at the direction of the President.

    June 24, 2010 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  18. Kate in SW Fla

    Well, at least for the present, this is not a military dictatorship. Now, get the DeMint/Cheney crew back in and all bets are off. But for now, the military reports to civilians. President Obama does not have a bunch of yes men around him. there are ideas floated all the time, and discussion, then decisions. McCrystal had the opportunity to say his piece, but the decision wast his to make. I have never seen or heard of any lasting society run by the military.

    June 24, 2010 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  19. Jeff Spangler

    This guy has _negative_ cred, so if he says something, expect the opposite. What can a Hollywood filmmaker possibly know about international diplomacy and warfare? Too many drugs too long ago, suggestive of paranoid delusions and organic brain dysfunction.

    June 24, 2010 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  20. Spencer

    Robert Gates and Mike Mullen vs. a crackpot movie director. I wonder which side holds more influence?

    June 24, 2010 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
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