June 22, 2010 / 4:54 PM / 10 years ago

Factbox: Reaction to Gen. McChrystal controversy

(Reuters) - General Stanley McChrystal, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, is under fire because of comments in a Rolling Stone magazine profile in which he and aides mocked top administration officials, including Vice President Joe Biden.

McChrystal apologized but has been summoned to the White House to explain, leading to speculation that his job is in jeopardy.

Following are key quotes reacting to the flap:

WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN ROBERT GIBBS:

On whether President Barack Obama was considering removing McChrystal: “I would say all options are on the table.”

On Obama’s reaction: “I gave him the article last night. And he was angry.”

Is this a firing offense? “The magnitude ... and graveness of the mistake here are profound.”

“General McChrystal has not called the president. The president has not called General McChrystal. The president asked that General McChrystal come and they’ll get an opportunity to talk about this article face to face sometime tomorrow.”

DEFENSE SECRETARY ROBERT GATES:

“I read with concern the profile piece on General Stanley McChrystal in the upcoming edition of Rolling Stone magazine. I believe that Gen. McChrystal made a significant mistake and exercised poor judgment in this case.

“Going forward, we must pursue this mission with a unity of purpose ... General McChrystal has apologized to me and is similarly reaching out to others named in this article to apologize to them as well. I have recalled General McChrystal to Washington to discuss this in person.”

HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN DAVID OBEY:

In calling for McChrystal’s removal from command in Afghanistan, Obey said, “If he actually said half of what is being reported, he shouldn’t be in the position he is in.”

“Anybody, including a U.S. Army general, is entitled to making a damn fool of themselves once. But General McChrystal hasn’t appeared to learn from his mistakes ... His repeated contempt for the civilian chain of command demonstrates a bull-headed refusal to take other people’s judgments into consideration. That is damn dangerous in somebody whose decisions determine life and death for American troops and others in the region.”

SPOKESMAN FOR AFGHAN PRESIDENT HAMID KARZAI:

“The president (Karzai) strongly supports General McChrystal and his strategy in Afghanistan and believes he is the best commander the United States has sent to Afghanistan over the last nine years.”

SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN JOHN KERRY:

“I have enormous respect for General McChrystal. I think he’s a terrific soldier and this is a critical moment in Afghanistan. As far as I am concerned personally the top priority is our mission in Afghanistan and our ability to proceed forward competently. It will be up to the president of the United States as commander in chief to make the decision as to whether he and his national security staff feel that they can do that but my impression is that all of us would be best served by just backing off and staying cool and calm and not succumbing to the normal Washington twitter about this for the next 24 hours.”

INDEPENDENT JOE LIEBERMAN:

“We have the highest respect for General McChrystal and honor his brave service and sacrifice to our nation. General McChrystal’s comments, as reported in Rolling Stone, are inappropriate and inconsistent with the traditional relationship between commander-in-chief and the military. The decision concerning General McChrystal’s future is a decision to be made by the president of the United States.”

HOUSE REPUBLICAN WHIP ERIC CANTOR:

“Obviously a general and his top brass don’t make these kind of statements without being frustrated. So I hope that the president’s meeting with the general will include a frank discussion about what is happening on the ground and whether the resources and the plan are there to defeat terrorists and accomplish our mission in Afghanistan. Without question, the article in Rolling Stone raises a lot of concerns and our top priority must be to ensure that our forces in Afghanistan have what they need in order to successfully execute their mission and win the war there.”

Compiled by Tabassum Zakaria and Susan Cornwell in Washington; Editing by Bill Trott

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