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
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 »
ON VERMONT RADIO
Bernie Sanders Declares Bid
48 minutes ago
THE DETAILS
Source:
HE PLANNED TO LEAVE ONCE BARR WAS CONFIRMED
Rosenstein to Leave DOJ in March
10 hours ago
THE LATEST
SUIT LED BY CALIFORNIA AG BECERRA
Sixteen States Sue Trump over Emergency Declaration
10 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"A coalition of 16 states filed a federal lawsuit Monday to block President Trump’s plan to build a border wall without permission from Congress, arguing that the president’s decision to declare a national emergency is unconstitutional. The lawsuit, brought by states with Democratic governors — except one, Maryland — seeks a preliminary injunction that would prevent the president from acting on his emergency declaration while the case plays out in the courts."

Source:
CITES FAMILY CONCERNS
Nauert Withdraws from Consideration as U.N. Ambassador
10 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"President Trump’s pick to serve as ambassador to the United Nations withdrew from consideration on Saturday, citing family concerns. His intended nominee, Heather Nauert, a spokeswoman at the State Department since 2017, said in a statement that 'the past two months have been grueling for my family and therefore it is in the best interest of my family that I withdraw my name from consideration.' Ms. Nauert dropped from the running because she had a nanny who was in the United States legally but did not have the proper work visa, according to people familiar with the process."

Source:
AVOIDS SHUTDOWN WITH A FEW HOURS TO SPARE
Trump Signs Border Deal
3 days ago
THE LATEST

"President Trump signed a sweeping spending bill Friday afternoon, averting another partial government shutdown. The action came after Trump had declared a national emergency in a move designed to circumvent Congress and build additional barriers at the southern border, where he said the United States faces 'an invasion of our country.'"

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