January 25, 2012
Not many journalists can say they had a hand in getting a commanding general relieved of duty in the middle of a war. But Rolling Stone reporter Michael Hastings did just that when his 2010 story on Stanley McChrystal, then the commander of NATO troops in Afghanistan, sent shockwaves through Washington and resulted in McChrystal being recalled to DC and uneremoniously fired by Barack Obama.
Hastings' report, “The Runaway General,” detailed how McChrystal and his top officers spoke of their civilian superiors with sneering condescension, and revealed that they didn't genuinely embrace the counterinsurgency strategy being sold to the public at home. The piece was a result of fortuitous circumstances. Hastings had at first been allowed only controlled access to McCrystal, but when European air-traffic was grounded following the eruption of the Eyjafjöll volcano in Iceland, Hastings ended up catching a bus to Berlin with McChrystal and his staff, who let down their guard during the extended ride. READ MORE