The McChrystal PR Campaign Goes Awry

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.

So, um, how are things going in Afghanistan?

An article out this week in “Rolling Stone” magazine depicts Gen. Stanley McChrystal as a lone wolf on the outs with many important figures in the Obama administration and unable to convince even some of his own soldiers that his strategy can win the war. A band of McChrystal’s profane, irreverent aides are quoted mocking Vice President Joe Biden and Richard Holbrooke, the special U.S. representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

….The article claims McChrystal has seized control of the war “by never taking his eye off the real enemy: The wimps in the White House.”

Ouch. The Wall Street Journal describes the piece this way:

Comments in the article attributed to anonymous McChrystal aides are particularly harsh towards some senior members of the Obama administration, including National Security Adviser James Jones, and other leading politicians, like Sens. John Kerry (D., Mass.) and John McCain (R., Ariz). They also make some unflattering references to President Barack Obama himself, saying the president didn’t seem to know who McChrystal was when he appointed him to run the war early last year.

Apparently McChrystal’s biggest beef is with Karl Eikenberry, which is hardly surprising since Eikenberry leaked a cable last year that essentially said McChrystal’s strategy for Afghanistan was hopeless. Marc Ambinder provides some background here, and ends with this: “Within hours after today’s Rolling Stone story broke, McChrystal was called by the White House, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They were not happy.” I don’t suppose they were.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.