GOP Lawmaker: Obama ‘Pitied Our Wounded’ Instead of Touting Afghanistan Success

Rep. Buck McKeon questioned why the president wouldn’t take credit for his own strategy.

McKeon: One of the last hawks.
National Journal
Jordain Carney
Feb. 25, 2014, 5:56 a.m.

The top Re­pub­lic­an on the House Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee cri­ti­cized Pres­id­ent Obama on Monday for not tout­ing U.S. suc­cesses in Afgh­anistan.

“Pres­id­ent Obama praised his run for the exits or pit­ied our wounded, in­stead of laud­ing the ac­com­plish­ments of our troops and the im­port­ance of the mis­sion they were giv­en to fight,” Rep. Buck McK­eon said at the Na­tion­al Press Club. He ad­ded, “If the pres­id­ent of the United States won’t give this speech, I will.”

Re­pub­lic­ans — in­clud­ing former De­fense Sec­ret­ary Bob Gates — have re­peatedly hit the pres­id­ent for not pub­licly talk­ing about Afgh­anistan more fre­quently.

U.S. and Afghan re­la­tions have been strained since Afghan Pres­id­ent Ham­id Kar­zai re­fused to let a bi­lat­er­al se­cur­ity agree­ment — which dic­tates U.S. mil­it­ary in­volve­ment in the coun­try after 2014 — be signed un­til after the Afghan elec­tions this spring.

U.S. and NATO of­fi­cials have, however, led a pub­lic — at times, an­onym­ous — cam­paign to pres­sure Kar­zai to sign the pact, not­ing that the longer the agree­ment goes without be­ing signe, the more the mil­it­ary’s abil­ity to plan is com­prom­ised.

But the Cali­for­nia Re­pub­lic­an ac­know­ledged that Amer­ic­ans don’t have an overly pos­it­ive view of U.S. in­volve­ment in Afgh­anistan, call­ing them “sick and tired of this war.” More than half of Amer­ic­ans be­lieve the United States has mostly failed to achieve its goals with the war in Afgh­anistan, ac­cord­ing to a USA Today/Pew Re­search Cen­ter poll re­leased late last month.

But McK­eon said Amer­ic­ans should fo­cus on three ques­tions: Is Afgh­anistan less of a threat to the United States? Is Afgh­anistan a bet­ter place? Is Amer­ica safer com­pared to Sept. 10, 2011?

And des­pite dis­agree­ment with how the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion has handled the war in Afgh­anistan — call­ing it “out­rageous” — McK­eon said, “There has been un­mis­tak­able pro­gress.”

But he said Afgh­anistan’s na­tion­al se­cur­ity forces still need U.S. as­sist­ance, echo­ing com­ments from Army Chief of Staff. Ray­mond Odi­erno at a Coun­cil on For­eign Re­la­tions event earli­er this month.

The Pentagon has re­com­men­ded leav­ing 10,000 troops in Afgh­anistan through 2017, but The Wash­ing­ton Post re­ports that the ad­min­is­tra­tion is also con­sid­er­ing a plan that would keep 3,000 troops. The White House is cur­rently con­sid­er­ing four op­tions on the United States’s post-2014 in­volve­ment.

“Put plainly, without our sup­port — and that sup­port in­cludes pres­ence and money — the Afghan se­cur­ity forces can’t ex­ecute,” McK­eon said, but he noted that the “re­main­ing gaps aren’t un­reas­on­able for a five-year-old force — they need help with lo­gist­ics, with ad­min­is­tra­tion, pay, and leave, with air sup­port, with in­tel­li­gence.”

What We're Following See More »
STAFF PICKS
When It Comes to Mining Asteroids, Technology Is Only the First Problem
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Obama Reflects on His Economic Record
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Reagan Families, Allies Lash Out at Will Ferrell
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."

Source:
PEAK CONFIDENCE
Clinton No Longer Running Primary Ads
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-ex­pec­ted primary battle be­hind her, former Sec­ret­ary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton (D) is no longer go­ing on the air in up­com­ing primary states. “Team Clin­ton hasn’t spent a single cent in … Cali­for­nia, In­di­ana, Ken­tucky, Ore­gon and West Vir­gin­ia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “cam­paign has spent a little more than $1 mil­lion in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone back­er in the Sen­ate, said the can­did­ate should end his pres­id­en­tial cam­paign if he’s los­ing to Hil­lary Clin­ton after the primary sea­son con­cludes in June, break­ing sharply with the can­did­ate who is vow­ing to take his in­sur­gent bid to the party con­ven­tion in Phil­adelphia.”

Source:
CITIZENS UNITED PT. 2?
Movie Based on ‘Clinton Cash’ to Debut at Cannes
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."

Source:
×