New York: General Stanley McChrystal
tried to dismiss his firing from the US Army in a lighter vein, in a heartfelt but not too heavy farewell address, saying that "I've stories on all of you".
McChrystal squeezed in a joke about the Rolling Stone magazine article, which caused his downfall and eventually cost him the job of leading the US and NATO forces in
"I have stories on all of you, photos on many," he
told his friends in the crowd of 500 guests at Fort McNair in
Washington DC, as quoted by the New York Times.
"And I know a Rolling Stone reporter," he added,
causing the gathering to laugh and applause.
McChrystal, 55 was fired by President Barack Obama
last month for making disparaging remarks, along with other
American service members, about Vice-President Joe Biden and
other high-level civilian officials of the US administration.
These remarks appeared in a Rolling Stones
"Biden Did you say, 'Bite me?'" one aide is quoted
saying in the article called "The Runaway General" McChrystal
was quoted as complaining about being in an "unsellable
position" in the war.
"Look, this has the potential to be an awkward or
even a sad occasion," he said, while bidding farewell.
"My service did not end as I would have wished."
Defence Secretary Robert Gates made no mention of
the troubling events of the past few weeks in his send-off
speech at the emotional ceremony in scorching July heat.
"We bid farewell to Stan McChrystal today with
pride and sadness," he said.
"Pride for the remarkable roster of achievement that
he has compiled as a man and a soldier, sadness that our
comrade and his prodigious talents are leaving us."
McChrystal, who leaves as a four star general,
received a 17-gun salute and flag formations by the Army's Old
Guard, according to the US media.
At the end of the speech the former commander
said, "If I had it to do over again, I'd do some things in my
career differently, but not many. I believed in people and I
still believe in them. I trusted and I still trust.
I cared and I still care.
I wouldn't have had it any other way."
To the young leaders of today and tomorrow, it's
a great life, he concluded.
First Published: Sunday, July 25, 2010, 18:56