Tales from the Trail

McCain says troop increase in Afghanistan needed

September 11, 2009

Republican Senator John McCain is clashing with Democratic Senator Carl Levin over Levin’s comments that he does not want to send additional troops to Afghanistan.

McCain, the ranking minority member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told Reuters a surge is needed like was done in Iraq and that Levin’s recommendations remind him of how then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld tried to fight the Iraq war — “He thought that we could win on the cheap and at one point the entire Iraqi army collapsed,” McCain said. AFGHANISTAN/

“So in all due respect to Senator Levin and the others, we have to have a significant troop increase, otherwise we’re going to lose.”

McCain also took a dim view of the Obama administration’s lengthy deliberations on the issue, calling it “slow-rolling the whole issue.”

As for White House spokesman Robert Gibbs’ comment that no decision should be expected for “many, many weeks,” McCain called that “kicking the can down the road.”

“And they’re doing a disservice to the brave men and women who are there now, because right now we’re not winning and therefore we are losing. And we are putting Americans in harm’s way without a strategy for victory,” he said.

What about polls saying Americans have doubts about the Afghanistan war?
“I understand their fatigue and I understood their fatigue before we changed the strategy in Iraq and we can win if we stay the course and we cannot afford to lose,” he said.

Photo credit: Reuters/stringer Afghanistan (McCain at Kabul airport in August)

Comments
18 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

The statement by McCain that unless we send more troops we will “lose” What would make him and the other war mongers decide that we have “won?” As long as this stupid
military involvement in Afghanistan continues, thousands of people die. For what, so McCain can say “we won.”
It makes me want to puke!

Posted by Rollie | Report as abusive
 

I’ve been saying this all along. If we hadn’t gotten bogged down in Iraq we could have been out of Afghanistan by now. Afghanistan and now Pakistan is where the actual terrorists are and where the bulk of our effort should have been, not diverted to Iraq which had nothing to do with 9/11.

Posted by Eric H | Report as abusive
 

Eric, I didn’t know you were an intelligence officer. Gee, why didn’t the president listen to you. You know all the answers.

About Iraq. Just remember, both Clintons, Sen Kerry, other democratic members of congress, PM Blair, President Putin, and the list goes on…but you get the point. They all said their intelligence said there were WMDs in Iraq and that Saddam Hussein needed to be taken care of immediately. So, you can blame President Bush for the prosecution of the war, that’s fair…But you cannot say he lied. He has a whole bunch of US and world leaders who said otherwise. Those are indisputable facts.

But it is convenient to forget that in the liberal mindset…

Posted by TC | Report as abusive
 

I agree, and I’m what they call a liberal, whatever that is. I like liberal amounts of syrup on my pancakes?
I do conserve money though, maybe thats where this comes from.
Afghanistan at first was executed brilliantly, paying much attention to the lessons of history in that region.
The mistake Bush made was starting a second front at that time.
the mission should have been followed through, then other options considered. I’m not saying ignore iraq, we knew there were WMD’s because we gave them to him, lets not forget that people, but…there are more covert and less noticeable options in this area, we could have covered our rear while giving full attention to Afghanistan, which after all did in fact house people who had already attacked us outright.Bin Laden running free is akin to invading iraq and letting Saddam run. You can say that him evading capture is inconsequential till you’re blue in the face but it is a great comfort to our enemies and helps morale on their side.

taking out the roots of the taliban (who we made deals with before 911) and the capture of bin laden should have been top priority. Saddam could have been kept under control covertly.
now we pulled the weeds in Afghanistan but missed the roots, which is our mistake in much of that region.
the more you kill, the more they kill, the madder we both get. the root of the problem is ignorance and poverty. and in Afghanistan there has been some but not enough progress in that area. send more troops yes, but send more aid and teachers too. the key is to make the taliban obselete in the minds of the people, and reduce them to gun toting children, which they are.

also leave the jesus thing on the tarmac at edwards guys.
they dont want to hear it.

Posted by Jeremy | Report as abusive
 

TC,

Perhaps Bush’s rush to war in Iraq wasn’t a lie. Perhaps it was wishful thinking. In any event, foolishly, other politicians and leaders had confidence in America’s ability to identify a threat. I never believed that Bush would bring death and suffering on people without damn good cause. I was wrong! And, so are you.

Posted by RH Pyle | Report as abusive
 

Here’s a thought – pull out of these 3rd world countries and let’s get back to the business at hand here at home. There is no “war”, only a small conflict, and we certainly do not have any business there. There is nothing to “lose” as McCain thinks. Blowing up a few people over there at great financial cost does nothing to lessen potential acts of terrorism at home. Anyone who thinks so is missing a few brain cells I would guess.

Posted by Frank | Report as abusive
 

wasting your time TC, eric has little flaps on his ears as soon as hears something coming, that is not what he wants to hear, down come the flaps.It wonderful to watch their constant changing as to McCain,when he is suggesting that the interrogation was torture,what i guy,but normally he is a stupid old fool!

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive
 

Jeremy. I appreciate your response to the issue. Of course, I have some disagreements but that’s okay. I guess my only point is that it is too convenient to forget the rush to war with Iraq involved a whole lot of democrats, “liberal” democrats and world leaders who said there were in fact WMD’s and Iraq was a threat that needed to be taken care of immediately (and yes, there were WMD’s. We already know that Saddam hid or destroyed stuff…). I remember Saddam flying his Air Force into Iran during the first Gulf war so the US couldn’t get their hands on them. The bad part for him was Iran never returned them…oops…his bad…

The WMD’s were destroyed or hidden or tranported somewhere like…oh let’s say Syria, just for grins. Saddam was not a nice person.

So, criticize the prosecution of the war, but he didn’t go their as a liar. If anyone insists he did, then there are a lot of liars who agreed with him…

Brian Lee. Eric is entitled to his opinion, like we all are. But he can’t stand the heat, so he leaves the kitchen after turning on the burner.

Posted by TC | Report as abusive
 

I encourage all soldiers reading this to tell Obama, McCain and all those other sorry s.o.b.s in Washington where they can stick their wars, drop your weapons, and walk away.

Posted by Mufaso | Report as abusive
 

Mufaso, I’m an extremely liberal democrat. You are an idiot. In the first place for any soldier to heed your advice would be treason. That said, we do need to draw down; holding a structure together to keep an eye on extremist Islamists and others with bad intent toward America and our friends. Wars prosecuted without a specific government sanction are no longer just about piracy. Communication networks facilitate this evil that allows a group like al Quaida to form and direct worldwide havock. But don’t stop there. Trafficing in humans, and slave trading in the 21st century is pretty damn big. Right now I would suggest that we would get a bigger return on our dollar fighting that…and a tad more worldwide cred.

Posted by DanO | Report as abusive
 

Amazing, Cheney couldn’t be FOUND for MUCH of the Dubya presidency but now we can’t get him OUT of the news?

Ya LOST Cheney, and you put the country in a HORRIBLE place. GO AWAY!!

Posted by SickOfIt | Report as abusive
 

Mufaso, You should not ask troops to commit treason. America hating organizations and religions exist and as a liberal democrat in America I have to recognize that fact. When those haters without a flag declare war on us we must fight them. Modern communication is complicit in how these groups can prosecute terrible acts therefore American and world intelligence operations must exist and work to minimize their abilities. Although this has been said to be a war on terror, I think it is only an action. We do not need to commit more to Afganistan but we do need to maintain a working presence. I would submit to you that far more lives are affected in the world through human trafficing and slavery than by what a bunch of cowardly but cunning thugs pull off as jihad (or whatever) If America invested more heavily in that cause we would get better return for our efforts.

Posted by DanO | Report as abusive
 

SickOfit. I wasn’t going to respond, but former Vice President Cheney was a two term VP. He didn’t lose….EOM.

Posted by TC | Report as abusive
 

Obama claimed this “just war”and now under the “smart talk” president there is now a 15 to 1 greater chance of a soldier getting killed there in comparison to the war in Iraq.The world is now watching as it approaches the September deadline that he gave to Iran to stop the uranium production.We can assume that it was sanctions he had in mind to capitalize on the limited petroleum production capabilities they have,and that was his main thrust.But the rug has been pulled out from under him by hugo signing a contract to supply as much petroleum as they required.So this seems to be another example of his appease and apologize approach policy slapping him in the face. To capitalise on this is North Korea threatening to starting a fresh series of bomb tests.Up till now the only posturing he has attempted was in fact to try to bully Israel to stop the settler development hoping this would increase his standing in the Muslim world.Unfortunately for him it did not work so it seems he is sitting in his hands and hoping that some lucky turn of events will rescue his creditability.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive
 

TC, the list of Dems for the war and those who voted for it were responding to the intel they were briefed on by the Bush administration. Most of which later turned out to be exaggerated or false. In fact it has now come out that intel used by the Brits was leak by and then confirmed by the CIA. Not chemical weapons program, no uranium enrichment (wrong type of aluminium tubes) and no purchase of uranium “from Africa”. Certainly we knew that Saddam had some capability because the US sold him weapons during his war with Iran, back when he was our buddy in the Mid East, however the thinking was that he had used most of those during the Iraq Iran war or to put down the Kurdish rebellion in the north.
Some of the same Dems you listed also warned the incoming Bush team about the threat of Al Queda and it’s stated plan to attack the US using hijacked airliners. We’ll put that under the list of things that conservatives conveniently forget. Yet after 9/11 Bush rushed to put the blame on Iraq, a statement he later retracted.
Now, Afghanistan. This is where the people who attacked the US on 9/11 actually were and if we had gone after them with same gusto that we used in Iraq we could be out of Afghanistan by now. Then we wouldn’t have to deal with recent the election fraud there that might effect people willingness to commit troops to back up an illegitimate government. Who knows what taking out Al Queda might have done for the stability of Pakistan as well.
What really baffles me about you TC is your continued denial of any mistakes that Bush made on any front, military, financial or domestic. It’s really quite astounding.

As to the first line of your comment, I was approached several times in college by both military and other agencies about a job, due to my course of studies and score on the military aptitude test. I choose a more open and honest line of work.

Posted by Eric H | Report as abusive
 

TC and supporters,

Bush, Blair and other supporters were fooled by intelligence agencies and they in turn fooled people like you, amassed support of senators and warmongers. Not one WMD was found in Iraq, all they had were just scad missiles. Terrorists originate from many countries but the most dangerous ones are in Pakistan who know how to use technology better than others…and the west is still not fighting them.

Posted by JZ | Report as abusive
 

sure we all have differences and differing opinions and views, but why are we attacking each other? We are all Americans, and we should unite together instead of calling each other traitors and idiots and other foul names. Let us come together and work together to solve this nation’s and this world’s problems.

Posted by 1 | Report as abusive
 

Eric. Well, that’s all fine and dandy. You were smart enough to be an intelligence officer. Well, I know a little bit about military intelligence (not just someone who was approached, but never experienced…) and it is an inexact science. It is an insult that you think intelligence officers are “dishonest” (I know many fine people in that line of work). You are quite the elitist fool. You have no idea what you are talking about. The reality is they make decisions and estimates from the “best” available information. I don’t really care if it was the Bush administration that briefed the democrats. You are smart enough to know they did their own due diligence to arrive at the same conclusion. It was not a “oh, okay George, if that’s what you say…”. I stand by my original statement that democrats and world leaders said the same thing. And that is a fact.

You have no idea whether or not we would be out of any conflict now had the US followed your line of thought on the war in Afghanistan. No war has ever been cut and dry and you know it. It’s always easy to 20/20 hindsight anything. Anyone who has studied and experienced military operations knows that. The “fog of war” is a fact of life in any confict.

As for always defending Bush. Well, once again you only see what you want to see. I said, and will not explain why agaiin, that criticizing the prosecution of the war is fair. But he didn’t lie about the WMDs. There are a lot of democrat and world leaders how are liars too. If you were fair, you would say they are all liars, but you won’t. Your “unbending” criticism of Bush is obvious…100 percent.

Posted by TC | Report as abusive
 

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/