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
Add to Briefcase
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 »
TALKED ABOUT STRENGTHENING RUSSO-U.S. RELATIONS
Vekselberg Met with Cohen Days Before the Election
1 days ago
THE LATEST

Eleven days before the presidential inauguration last year, a billionaire Russian businessman with ties to the Kremlin visited Trump Tower in Manhattan to meet with Donald J. Trump’s personal lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen, according to video footage and another person who attended the meeting. In Mr. Cohen’s office on the 26th floor, he and the oligarch, Viktor Vekselberg, discussed a mutual desire to strengthen Russia’s relations with the United States under President Trump, according to Andrew Intrater, an American businessman who attended the meeting and invests money for Mr. Vekselberg."

Source:
HAS DELAYED WHILE INVESTIGATION CONTINUES
Mueller Tells Court He’s Ready for Papadopoulos Sentencing
3 days ago
THE LATEST
COPS A PLEA
Cohen Business Partner to Cooperate with Investigators
3 days ago
THE LATEST
R/E HIS DEMAND
Trump Meeting with Wray and Rosenstein
5 days ago
THE LATEST
TRUMP DEMANDED IT IN TWEET
DOJ Asks Watchdog to Look into Any Infiltration of Trump Campaign
5 days ago
THE LATEST

"The Justice Department asked its internal watchdog to examine if there was any impropriety in the counterintelligence investigation of President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, after the president demanded Sunday that the department investigate the motives behind the inquiry. Earlier Sunday, in one of a series of tweets targeting the probe into whether Trump associates colluded with Russia during the 2016 campaign, Mr. Trump wrote: 'I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes - and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!'"

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login