On Monday Night, McChrystal Called Biden To Apologize For Remarks In Profile : The Two-Way Anne Kornblut, a reporter for The Washington Post, provides background on the relationship between the vice president and the top American commander in Afghanistan.
NPR logo On Monday Night, McChrystal Called Biden To Apologize For Remarks In Profile

On Monday Night, McChrystal Called Biden To Apologize For Remarks In Profile

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top American commander in Afghanistan, is at the White House, where he is scheduled to meet with President Obama and senior members of his administration.

Earlier today, he met with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at the Pentagon.

In The Washington Post, Anne Kornblut provides useful background information about the relationship between McChrystal and Vice President Joe Biden, which has been tenuous ever since last fall's strategy review, "in which Biden argued for a narrower counterrorism approach that would focus on targeting al-Qaeda leaders."

"McChrystal argued for a broader counterinsurgency strategy — one requiring many more troops, with a mission of securing the civilian population and reinforcing the government," Kornblut writes. "In the end, Obama sided mostly with McChrystal.

The article also includes play-by-play of what happened earlier this week, when the vice president first learned that derisive remarks about him probably would appear in "The Runaway General," a Rolling Stone profile by journalist Michael Hastings.

"On Monday night, as he was flying home from Illinois on Air Force Two, Biden got an unexpected call from the general — who was calling on a crackling phone line from Afghanistan," Kornblut writes. "McChrystal told Biden he was calling to apologize, aides said.  He had cooperated with an article in Rolling Stone that was about to appear and could, he said, be looked on unfavorably by the White House."

Biden told McChrystal that he had no idea what he was talking about. Jovially, he assured the general he was sure it would all be fine. Biden then called Obama, expressing bewilderment about the apology call he had just received.

Shortly thereafter, the president asked his aides to provide him with a copy of the profile.  According to Kornblut, "senior advisers had already been poring over it for hours."

Obama read it late Monday night.  When he was finished, advisers said, he was angry.  But in typically understated fashion, Obama referred to the article simply as "unhelpful."