Retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal penned an op-ed Tuesday in which he addressed his fall from grace while serving as the commanding general of international and U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
In the piece, which was published as part of LinkedIn's "Career Curveball" series, McChrystal writes about the fallout after derogatory comments about the Obama administration attributed to him and his staff were exposed in a 2010 Rolling Stone article by the late Michael Hastings.
"In June 2010, after more than 38 years in uniform, in the midst of commanding a 46-nation coalition in a complex war in Afghanistan, my world changed suddenly -- and profoundly," McChrystal writes. "An article in Rolling Stone magazine depicting me, and people I admired, in a manner that felt as unfamiliar as it was unfair, ignited a firestorm."
Hastings' article, "The Runaway General," revealed McChrystal and his staff as highly critical of President Barack Obama and his administration's handling of the war in Afghanistan. McChrystal was quoted as believing Obama to be "uncomfortable and intimidated," and taking credit for coercing the reluctant president into sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan.
McChrystal recalls flying back to Washington, D.C., immediately after the Rolling Stone article was published and tendering his resignation to Obama.
"The uniform I’d first donned as a 17-year old plebe at West Point, the uniform of my father, grandfather, and brothers, was no longer mine to wear," he writes. "Most importantly, my very identity as a soldier came to an abrupt end."
The broader purpose of McChrystal's essay is to offer advice on how to react when your career throws you a sudden curveball. He reflects on some of the "immediate and profound" questions he faced in the wake of his firing, and he concludes that experiences such as starting his own company and teaching at Yale University have enabled him to continue serving.
McChrystal has discussed his rise and dramatic fall before, most notably in his 2013 memoir "My Share of the Task," and he has maintained that Hastings portrayed him unfairly. Hastings, who was killed in a car crash last year, earned the George Polk Award for his Rolling Stone article.
It was announced last week that Brad Pitt will star as McChrystal in a film adaptation of Hastings' 2012 book "The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America's War in Afghanistan." The book offered more reporting from the month Hastings spent with McChrystal while researching his Rolling Stone article in 2010.