Biden Responds to McChrystal Jibe

By Evan Harris

Jul 18, 2010 9:00am

From the pages of Rolling Stone magazine, one zinger from Gen. Stanley McChrystal (Ret.) was particularly telling: “‘Are you asking about Vice President Biden?’ McChrystal says with a laugh. ‘Who’s that?’

“‘Biden?’ suggests a top adviser. ‘Did you say: Bite Me?’”

In an EXCLUSIVE interview with Vice President Joe Biden on “This Week,” anchor Jake Tapper asked him what his reaction was the explosive article – and Biden was magnanimous.

“I didn’t take it personally at all.  I really, honest to God, didn’t, compared to what happens in politics, that was a piece of cake,” the Vice President said, adding that he had met with a “really apologetic” McChrystal.

“I was the guy who, in fact, was their problem, they thought,” Biden said.  “I’m not their problem.  I agree with the policy the president put in place.”

Biden said McChrystal’s team thought he was the enemy because he had laid out a plan for U.S. involvement in Afghanistan “that was different in degree.” At a future date, Biden promised, his plan would be released and all would become clear.

“Someday I’ll be able to lay out exactly what the plan I offered was.  It would be inappropriate to do that because it was so close to what, in fact, the plan ended up being that there was virtually no difference.  But I got characterized because I was really very challenging to some of the assertions made,” he said.

The Vice President explained that he had pulled Gen. David Petraeus aside in a meeting in the Situation Room after Petraeus had agreed to become the commander in Afghanistan. “I pulled him aside and I said, ‘David, there is no daylight between your position and mine.’ And he said, ‘I know that.  Will you tell people that?’ And I said, absolutely I’d tell people that,” Biden said.  “So there’s…a split that has been advertised that far exceeds anything that occurred from the beginning of this reconsideration.”
Biden also revealed that after the Rolling Stone article was released, he had polled a number of top generals and they were unanimous: McChrystal had to go.

“It was clear — I was asked to and I did on my own survey, I think, six four star generals, including present and former, every single one said he had to go,” Biden explained to Tapper.

“So…the president made the right decision.  He changed the personalities, but not the policy.  He put the strongest guy in the U.S. military and a counter-insurgency policy in place. It was the absolutely necessary thing to do,” he said.


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