Mentor Mullen Says McChrystal is 'crushed' over his sacking

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Washington, July 3 (ANI): The Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, has revealed that former NATO commander General Stanley A. McChrystal is "crushed" about his sacking following his derisive statements against the civilian leadership.

According to Admiral Mullen, the shock of a transition from commanding nearly 100,000 American troops in Afghanistan to living in exile on the Potomac, has been numbing.

General McChrystal, who has retained his four-star rank, has retreated to his home at Fort McNair, the quiet, two-century-old Army post built on a point of land where the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers meet.

Colleagues believe that he will recover psychologically and survive professionally.

"In time he will put this in perspective because of the contribution he has made to this country, and I think he will at some point make peace with himself," said General Jack Keane, the retired vice chief of staff of the Army, who has been in touch by e-mail with General McChrystal.

"I suspect he's thinking he let everybody down, he let his troops down, he let his team down, he let the chain of command down," he added.

Admiral Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited General McChrystal at Fort McNair the day he was dismissed by the president, and later told military officials in Kabul that the general and his wife, Annie, were "crushed" by the turn of events.

But Admiral Mullen told the officers he believed that the McChrystals would be able to move on.

The New York Post quoted senior military officers as saying that they were in widespread agreement that the president had no choice but to fire General McChrystal after he and his staff were quoted in a Rolling Stone article disparaging Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and other senior Obama administration officials.

But they said the president's decision to allow General McChrystal to retire with four stars was an important indicator for future potential employers - perhaps some defense contractors lining the Beltway around Washington - that he was not radioactive, at least as far as the White House was concerned.

Forcing him to retire with three stars "would have sent a signal that he was out of favor," said John A. Nagl, a retired lieutenant colonel and president of the Center for a New American Security, a nonpartisan military policy institution in Washington.

Under Army regulations, four-star generals must serve three years in that rank before they can keep it in retirement, but the president can waive the rule.

General McChrystal was awarded his fourth star only last year, when he was made the top American and NATO commander in Afghanistan. He announced his plans to retire on Monday, five days after being fired.

The White House decision means that General McChrystal, 55, will receive 85 percent of the base pay of a four-star general with 34 years of active service, amounting to an annual pre-tax retirement income of 181,416 dollars, according to Pentagon calculations.

Had he retired as a three-star, the Pentagon said, General McChrystal would have received an annual pre-tax retirement income of 160,068 dollars.

Colleagues said that General McChrystal, who has a grown son, had spent time with family in recent days in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. He has also been in contact by phone and e-mail with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and General Petraeus, who praised him this week not only for his service in Afghanistan but for his "exceptional leadership" in Iraq, where for five years General McChrystal oversaw secret commando operations and aggressively pushed his ranks to kill insurgents.

Colleagues say that they do not know yet what General McChrystal will do in retirement, but that his background suggests a future as a well-paid outside consultant to the Pentagon or a government intelligence agency.

There is no word either on members of his personal staff who lost their jobs in the course of his firing, among them his executive officer, Col. Charles A. Flynn. (ANI)

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