*A “furious” President Obama has ordered his top U.S. commander in Afghanistan to Washington to explain the derogatory comments he made about the administration in an upcoming Rolling Stone interview.
Gen. Stanley McChrystal blasted Obama and his colleagues in the article, which paints the commander as a lone wolf on the outs with many important figures in the Obama administration and unable to persuade even some of his own soldiers that his strategy can win the war.
The interview describes McChrystal, 55, as “disappointed” in his first Oval Office meeting with Obama. The article says that although McChrystal voted for Obama, the two failed to connect from the start.
Obama appointed McChrystal to lead the Afghan effort in May 2009. Last fall, though, Obama called McChrystal on the carpet for speaking too bluntly about his desire for more troops.
“I found that time painful,” McChrystal said in the article, on newsstands Friday. “I was selling an unsellable position.”
McChrystal, who publicly apologized Tuesday for using “poor judgment” in the interview, has been ordered to attend the monthly White House meeting on Afghanistan and Pakistan in person Wednesday rather than over a secure video teleconference, according to officials quoted by the Associated Press.
He’ll be expected to explain his comments to Obama and top Pentagon officials, the officials said.
NBC White House correspondent Savannah Guthrie reported this morning that Obama was “furious” over the remarks[see 2nd video below], while the network’s chief Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski said senior administration and Pentagon officials were “scurrying around the hallway trying to figure out how to respond” when news of the article broke last night.
Obama has the authority to fire McChrystal. His predecessor, Gen. David McKiernan, was sacked on grounds that the military needed “new thinking and new approaches” in Afghanistan.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen has told McChrystal of his “deep disappointment” over the article, a spokesman said.
Rolling Stone’s executive editor was on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” today and offered plenty of details about the explosive issue, which hits newsstands Friday. [Watch below.]