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Top general in Afghan war: U.S. envoy betrayed me

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, right, and U.S. Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberry.

Associated Press

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, right, and U.S. Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberry.

WASHINGTON — The top U.S. war commander in Afghanistan told an interviewer he felt betrayed by the man the White House chose to be his diplomatic partner, Ambassador Karl Eikenberry.

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 says that only Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton received good reviews from McChrystal's inner circle.

McChrystal himself is described by an aide as disappointed in his first Oval Office meeting with an unprepared President Barack Obama. The article says that although McChrystal voted for Obama, the two failed to connect from the start. Obama called McChrystal on the carpet last fall for speaking too bluntly about his desire for more troops.

"I found that time painful," McChrystal said in the article, on newsstands Friday. "I was selling an unsellable position."

Obama agreed to dispatch an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan only after months of study that many in the military found frustrating.

In his comments on Eikenberry, McChrystal said the envoy never expressed doubts about McChrystal's war strategy until a leaked internal document threw a wild card into the debate over whether to add more troops last November. In the document, Eikenberry said Afghan President Hamid Karzai was not a reliable partner for the counterinsurgency strategy McChrystal planned to execute.

McChrystal said he felt "betrayed" and accused the ambassador of giving himself cover. "Now, if we fail, they can say, 'I told you so,' " McChrystal told the magazine.

There was no immediate response from Eikenberry.

Top general in Afghan war: U.S. envoy betrayed me 06/21/10 [Last modified: Monday, June 21, 2010 11:22pm]
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