McChrystal takes blame for Rolling Stone story
WASHINGTON -- Speaking out for the first time since he resigned, retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal takes the blame for a Rolling Stone article and the unflattering comments attributed to his staff about the Obama administration that ended his Afghanistan command and Army career.
"Regardless of how I judged the story for fairness or accuracy, responsibility was mine," McChrystal writes in his new memoir, in a carefully worded denouncement of the story.
The magazine article anonymously quoted McChrystal's aides as criticizing President Barack Obama's team, including Vice President Joe Biden. Biden had disagreed with McChrystal's strategy that called for more troops in Afghanistan. Biden preferred to send a smaller counterterrorism and training force -- a policy the White House is now considering as it transitions troops from the Afghan war.
McChrystal writes in "My Share of the Task," out Monday, that the choice to resign as U.S. commander in Afghanistan was his own. McChrystal was immediately replaced by his then-boss, Gen. David Petraeus.
McChrystal devotes a scant page and a half to the incident that ended his 34-year military career and soured trust between the military and media.
He does try to explain the tensions that helped lead to Obama accepting his resignation. At the center was the wrangle over McChrystal's recommendation for 40,000 more U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates told McChrystal to request the number he thought he needed. White House staff signaled that the newly elected president wanted to keep the levels down.
McChrystal describes how he presented his war goal to the White House as "defeat the Taliban" and "secure the population" and was advised to lower that to "degrade" the Taliban.
Obama approved adding 30,000 troops, while announcing a withdrawal date of 2014. McChrystal did not challenge those decisions, though he says he worried the timetable would embolden the Taliban.