Rolling Stone Article on McChrystal - Michael Hastings

  • Aired:  06/28/10
  •  | Views: 28,654

Michael Hastings explains why he wrote the Rolling Stone article that eventually got General Stanley McChrystal fired. (6:34)

NATION, WE WERE ALL SHOCKED BY

THE BOMBSHELL DROPPED IN THE

LATEST ISSUE OF THE "ROLLING

STONE" MAGAZINE.

OF COURSE, I'M TALKING ABOUT ART

GARFUNKEL POSTPONING THE SIMON

AND GARFUNKEL SUMMER REUNION

TOUR.

GREAT.

NOW THIS SUMMER THE ONLY SOUND

OF SILENCE WE'LL HEAR ARE THE

ACTUAL SOUNDS OF SILENCE.

[LAUGHTER]

UNLESS SOMEONE ELSE COULD STEP

IN.

♪♪

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

♪ SILENCE ♪♪

>> Stephen: PAUL, CALL ME.

I LOOK GREAT IN A BLONGSD BLONDE

AFRO.

OF COURSE, THE MAGAZINE ALSO

CONTAINED A LITTLE ARTICLE IN

WHICH OUR COMMANDER IN

AFGHANISTAN, STANLEY

McCHRYSTAL, AND HIS AIDES MADE

COMMENTS ABOUT THE PRESIDENT AND

VICE PRESIDENT.

SO OBAMA FIRED HIS FOUR-STAR

ASS.

BY THE WAY, IF YOU'D LIKE TO SEE

A FIVE-STAR ASS, THAT'S RIGHT

HERE ON THE COVER.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

I DON'T KNOW IF THAT CLOSE UP

WAS NECESSARY...

[LAUGHTER]

BUT BESIDES THE GOSSIPY

BEHIND-THE-SCENES NAME-CALLING,

THERE WAS ANOTHER PART OF THE

ARTICLE I FOUND DISTURBING, THE

ARTICLE PART.

[LAUGHTER]

YOU SEE, MOST OF IT WASSING

ABOUT McCHRYSTAL'S

CONTROVERSIAL STRATEGY KNOWN AS

COUNTER-INSURGENCY OR COIN.

THAT MAKES OUR SOLDIERS NATION

BUILDERS, OR AS THE ARTICLE

SAYS, "THINK GREEN BERETS AS AN

ARMED PEACE CORPS."

WELL, E-MAIL SORRY, PEACE IS NOT

THE GREEN BERET'S THING.

THAT'S THE RASPBERRY BERETS.

FOLKS, COIN IS GIVING OUR

SOLDIERS THE LAUDABLE GOAL OF

LOWERING CIVILIAN CASUALTY, BUT

HEY, WE'RE TRYING WIN A WAR

HERE, AND I SAY YOU CAN'T MAKE

AN OMLETTE WITHOUT KILLING

SOMEBODY WHO HAS AN OMLETTE.

SO FRANKLY, I AM GLAD

McCHRYSTAL'S OUT OF.

THERE I MEAN, HIS OWN CHIEF OF

OPERATIONS SAID THAT EVEN IF

COIN WORKS, "IT'S NOT GOING TO

LOOK LIKE A WIN, SMELL LIKE A

WIN OR TASTE LIKE A WIN."

COME ON!

IF WE CAN MAKE YOGURT TASTE LIKE

SPONGE BOB, I THINK WE CAN MAKE

AFGHANISTAN TASTE LIKE

VICTORYBERRY BLAST.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

THAT LOOKS DELICIOUS.

NOW, THANKFULLY PRESIDENT OBAMA

HAS NAMED A NEW AFGHAN FLAVOR

SAVER, GENERAL DAVID PETRAEUS.

PLEASE BE SEATED.

AND PETRAEUS IS GOING TO CHANGE

EVERYTHING.

>> THERE'S IN CHANGE TO THE

OVERALL WAR STRATEGY.

>> GENERAL PETRAEUS UNDERSTANDS

THAT STRATEGY BECAUSE HE HELPED

SHAPE IT.

>> COUNTER-INSURGENCY WILL

CONTINUE.

>> Stephen: THAT'S WHAT I CALL

LEADERSHIP, DO THE SAME THING

AND EXPECT DIFFERENT RESULTS.

SO McCHRYSTAL'S OUT.

PETRAEUS IS IN.

NOTHING CHANGES.

I'LL NEVER UNDERSTAND WHY THIS

GUY WROTE THIS "ROLLING STONE"

ARTICLE.

HERE TO TELL ME WHY THIS GUY

WROTE THIS "ROLLING STONE"

ARTICLE, PLEASE WELCOME THIS

GUY, MICHAEL HASTINGS.

MICHAEL, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR

COMING ON.

GOOD TO SEE YOU.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

NOW, MICHAEL, WHY DID YOU WRITE

THIS ARTICLE?

YOU GOT McCHRYSTAL OUT OF

THERE.

DID YOU GET WHAT YOU WANTED?

>> I WROTE THE ARTICLE TO BRING

ATTENTION TO THE WAR IN

AFGHANISTAN.

IT'S USUALLY VERY UNDERCOVERRED

EVEN THOUGH THERE ARE A LOT OF

JOURNALISTS THERE DOING GREAT

WORK.

I HAD NO AGENDA TO GET

McCHRYSTAL FIRED.

I DIDN'T THINK HE WAS FIREABLE.

>> Stephen: DO YOU FEEL ANY

RESPONSIBILITY FOR UPSETTING THE

CHAIN OF COMMAND IN A TIME OF

WAR.

>> THE KEY QUESTION IS I DIDN'T

FIRE McCHRYSTAL.

THE WHITE HOUSE FIRED

McCHRYSTAL.

I BELIEVE THEY USED THIS

OPPORTUNITY TO GET RID OF

SOMEBODY THEY WEREN'T HAPPY

WITH.

>> Stephen: THESE GENERALS HAD

NO DEFENSE AGAINST YOU.

ALL THEY DO IS FIGHT TERRORISTS.

THEY'RE NOT READY TO FIGHT A

JOURNALIST.

YOU TOOK ADVANTAGE OF THEM.

THEY'RE INNOCENT.

>> NO, WHEN YOU WALK AROUND WITH

TAPE RECORDER AND A NOTEBOOK,

I'M SURE PEOPLE ARE SHOCKED WHEN

YOUR QUOTES SHOW UP IN PARIS

HILTON.

>> Stephen: GOOD QUESTION.

YOU'RE WALKING AROUND IN

AFGHANISTAN WITH ALL THESE

SOLDIERS AND YOUR NOTE PAD.

WHAT'S A REPORTER WRITING A

STORY FOR "ROLLING STONE" DOING

HANGING OUT WITH OUR TROOPS IN

AFGHANISTAN?

AND AS A FOLLOW-UP, WHAT ARE OUR

TROOPS HANGING OUT IN

AFGHANISTAN FOR?

>> WELL, THE "ROLLING STONE"

REACHED THE DEMOGRAPHIC WHERE A

LOT OF THE PEOPLE FIGHTING THE

WAR WOULD READ.

THE AVERAGE "ROLLING STONE"

READER IS ABOUT 30.

A LOT OF YOUNG OFFICERS READ

"ROLLING STONE."

"GENERATION KILL" WAS DONE AT

"ROLLING STONE" AND MADE INTO A

TV MINISERIES.

THERE'S DEFINITELY A FAN BASE

THERE.

AS FOR WHAT WE'RE DOING IN

AFGHANISTAN, THAT'S ACTUALLY THE

SUBSTANCE OF THE ARTICLE.

>> Stephen: THAT'S WHAT I'M

TALKING ABOUT, THIS COIN, THIS

COUNTER-INSURGENCY STRATEGY, YOU

SAY THE SOLDIERS DON'T LIKE IT.

>> NO.

>> Stephen: WHAT DON'T THEY

LIKE ABOUT IT?

>> THEY DON'T LIKE THEY HAVE

RESTRICTIONS ON THEIR WAR OF

FORCE.

THEY'RE NOT ABLE TO FIGHT THE

WAR THAN THEY LIKE.

>> Stephen: THESE SOLDIERS ARE

MORE READY TO FIGHT.

THE GENERALS ARE LOSING THIS.

>> THE SOLDIERS WOULD PUT IT

THAT WAY.

>> Stephen: WHO IS ULTIMATELY

RESPONSIBLE?

>> PRESIDENT OBAMA IS ULTIMATELY

RESPONSIBLE.

>> Stephen: SHOULDN'T HE CALL

FOR HIS OWN RESIGNATION ON THIS

ONE?

>> I THINK THAT MIGHT BE A TOUGH

SELL.

>> Stephen: YOU THINK THIS IS

A FAIR SHAKE?

>> FOR SURE.

[LAUGHTER]

>> Stephen: IS IT THE ROLE OF

THE PRESS TO REPORT WHAT A

GENERAL SAYS EVEN IF THE GENERAL

LATER SAYS, "PLEASE DON'T PRINT

THAT," BECAUSE THEY DID SAY

DON'T PRINT SOME OF THE THINGS

THEY SAID, RIGHT?

DID THEY ASK THAT?

>> TWO MONTHS LATER BEFORE THE

STORY WAS TO GO TO PRINT, I HAD

A PHONE CONVERSATION WITH

GENERAL McCHRYSTAL'S PRESS

AIDE, DID HE SAY, DON'T PRINT

THE STUFF...

>> HE SAID, HEY, CAN YOU KNOW

ALL THE STUFF YOU SAW AND HEARD,

CAN YOU PLEASE NOT PRINT THAT.

>> Stephen: DID YOU EVER CALL

NO BACKSIES?

>> I DID NOT.

>> Stephen: YOU SHOULD NOT

HAVE PRINTED IT, SIR.

MICHAEL, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR

JOINING ME.

MICHAEL HASTI

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