General Stanley McChrystal retires from US Army

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US General Stanley McChrystal has ended his 34-year career as an army officer in an emotional retirement ceremony at his military headquarters in Washington DC.

Before a crowd of a few hundred friends, family and colleagues on the Fort McNair parade grounds, McChrystal said his service didn't end as he hoped.

But, he said, he regretted few decisions he had made on the battlefield, cherished his life as a soldier and was optimistic about his future.

The former commander of US forces in Afghanistan, who inspired intense loyalty among many of those who served under him, was fired last month after Rolling Stone magazine published an article titled "The Runaway General" that quoted scathing remarks he and his aides made about their civilian bosses.

McChrystal complained that President Barack Obama had handed him "an unsellable position" on the war.

In his 18-minute farewell speech McChrystal made light of the episode. He warned his comrades in arms; "I have stories on all of you, photos of many, and I know a Rolling Stone reporter."

But McChrystal also sounded a more serious note, when he talked about the pain of leaving behind unfulfilled commitments in Afghanistan and watching colleagues ensnared in the scandal.

"There are misconceptions about the loyalty and service of some dedicated professionals that will likely take some time, but I believe will be corrected," he said. Still, he said he was approaching the future with optimism.