Ahead of a White House Meeting, Top Republicans Are Bringing Afghanistan Into the Iraq Crisis

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is using the chaos in Iraq to make a broader foreign policy pitch.

Caption:WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 19: U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks to reporters following the weekly policy lunch of the Republican caucus November 19, 2013 in Washington, DC. McConnell spoke on continued problems with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act during his remarks.
National Journal
Elahe Izadi
June 17, 2014, noon

The Sen­ate’s top Re­pub­lic­an says he’s not headed to a White House meet­ing Wed­nes­day with re­com­mend­a­tions on how to deal with the Ir­aq situ­ation, but that the crisis bol­sters the ar­gu­ment that U.S. troops are still needed in Afgh­anistan.

Mc­Con­nell, along with Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Harry Re­id, House Speak­er John Boehner, and House Minor­ity Lead­er Nancy Pelosi, will head to the White House to meet with Pres­id­ent Obama “as part of his on­go­ing con­sulta­tions with con­gres­sion­al lead­er­ship on for­eign policy is­sues, in­clud­ing the situ­ation in Ir­aq,” ac­cord­ing to a White House of­fi­cial.

“I’m anxious to see what plan he may have, giv­en where we are, but it cer­tainly un­der­scores the sig­ni­fic­ance of the pres­id­ent re­vers­ing the de­cision he pre­vi­ously in­dic­ated he had made for us to leave Afgh­anistan en­tirely,” Mc­Con­nell said Tues­day. “We know that if we don’t leave be­hind a de­ploy­ment that the mil­it­ary re­com­men­ded in Afgh­anistan, roughly 10,000 troops, for coun­terter­ror­ism pur­poses and train­ing pur­poses, we’re likely to see the same kind of melt­down in Afgh­anistan that we’ve seen in Ir­aq.”

Hawk­ish Re­pub­lic­ans have been quick to cast blame for the crisis in Ir­aq squarely on the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion for agree­ing in 2011 to with­draw Amer­ic­an troops.

The wind­ing down of Amer­ica’s war in Afgh­anistan will take place over the next two years. Nearly 10,000 troops will re­main in Afgh­anistan through the end of this year, but that force will be re­duced by half by the end of 2015. The plan now is that by the end of Obama’s term, the U.S. pres­ence in Afgh­anistan will re­semble that of Ir­aq, with nor­mal em­bassy op­er­a­tions and a se­cur­ity as­sist­ance of­fice in the cap­it­al city.

The White House has already an­nounced it’s dis­patch­ing up to 275 mil­it­ary per­son­nel to pro­tect the U.S. Em­bassy in Ir­aq. Some law­makers have ex­pressed con­cern that Con­gress should be con­sul­ted ahead of any mil­it­ary ac­tion.

When asked if the pres­id­ent needs con­gres­sion­al ap­prov­al for mil­it­ary air strikes, Re­id said, “In my opin­ion, I don’t think they need any any more au­thor­ity than they already have to do what they need to do.”

What We're Following See More »
FRENCH IS A LAWYER, VETERAN
Kristol Recruiting National Review’s David French for Third-Party Run
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Two Republicans intimately familiar with Bill Kristol’s efforts to recruit an independent presidential candidate to challenge Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have told Bloomberg Politics that the person Kristol has in mind is David French -- whose name the editor of the Weekly Standard floated in the current issue of the magazine.

French is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. According to the website of National Review, where French is a staff writer, he is a constitutional lawyer, a recipient of the Bronze Star, and an author of several books who lives in Columbia, Tenn., with his wife Nancy and three children."

Source:
CALIFORNIA VOTES IN A WEEK
Jerry Brown Backs Clinton
4 hours ago
THE LATEST

California Gov. Jerry Brown endorsed Hillary Clinton today, calling her "the only path forward to win the presidency and stop the dangerous candidacy of Donald Trump." While praising Sen. Bernie Sanders' campaign, Brown said "Clinton’s lead is insurmountable and Democrats have shown – by millions of votes – that they want her as their nominee. ... This is no time for Democrats to keep fighting each other. The general election has already begun."

Source:
GLASS CEILING STILL HARD TO CRACK
Clinton Says Voters Still Hung Up on Gender
7 hours ago
THE LATEST

In a New York Magazine profile, Hillary Clinton said she still encounters misogyny at her own events: “‘I really admire you, I really like you, I just don’t know if I can vote for a woman to be president.’ I mean, they come to my events and then they say that to me.”

Source:
CHANGE WE CAN’T BELIEVE IN
Trump Vows Not to Change
7 hours ago
THE LATEST
Source:
FILING DEADLINE IS JUNE 24
McConnell Urging Rubio to Run for Reelection
10 hours ago
THE LATEST

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: "One of the things that I’m hoping, I and my colleagues have been trying to convince Senator Marco Rubio to run again in Florida. He had indicated he was not going to, but we’re all hoping that he’ll reconsider, because poll data indicates that he is the one who can win for us. He would not only save a terrific senator for the Senate, but help save the majority. ... Well, I hope so. We’re all lobbying hard for him to run again."

Source:
×