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 Rolling Stone article anonymously quoted McChrystal's aides as criticizing President Barack Obama's team, including Vice President Joe Biden. The vice president had disagreed with McChrystal's strategy that called for more troops in Afghanistan.
McChrystal adds the choice to resign as U.S. commander in Afghanistan was his own.
"I called no one for advice," he writes in My Share of the Task, describing his hasty plane ride back to Washington, only hours after the article appeared in 2010, to offer his resignation to Obama. 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. The book comes out Monday.
McChrystal describes only briefly an incident that nearly ended his career years earlier: allegations of a cover-up involving the friendly fire incident that killed football-star-turned-Army Ranger Pat Tillman. McChrystal approved a Silver Star for valor, with a citation that stated Tillman had been cut down by "devastating enemy fire."
But as reports came in from the troops at the scene, McChrystal realized Tillman may have died by fratricide. He sent an oblique warning to his superiors that President George W. Bush should delete mention of enemy fire from his remarks when presenting the award to Tillman's family at his memorial service.