October 6th, 2009
06:21 PM ET
9 years ago

GOP urges quick decision on Afghanistan after talks with Obama

GOP urges quick decision on Afghanistan after talks with Obama.

GOP urges quick decision on Afghanistan after talks with Obama.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Leading Republicans urged President Barack Obama to make a swift decision in favor of more U.S. troops for the war in Afghanistan after talks between the president and congressional leaders Tuesday.

Obama faces an expected request for thousands of more U.S. troops from Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan. He had leading members of Congress from both parties over to the White House on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the future of the war, which turns 8 years old Wednesday.

"Obviously, there are many of us who feel that delay does signal uncertainty to the region," Rep. Eric Cantor, the House minority whip, told CNN's "The Situation Room."

Cantor, of Virginia, said Republicans would support Obama if he agrees to send more troops into the conflict. But "If the president chooses to go a different route, you know, it is obviously going to be tough for us," he said.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, told reporters after the meeting that "everyone - Democrats and Republicans - said, whatever decision you make, we'll support it, basically." But he expressed skepticism about Republican pledges of support, saying "It will be interesting to see if their actions follow their words."

U.S. forces launched the invasion of Afghanistan on October 7, 2001, in response to the al Qaeda terrorist network's attacks on New York and Washington on September 11.

Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden escaped the U.S. onslaught and remains a fugitive. Now the U.S.-led coalition is battling a resurgence of the Taliban, the Islamic militia that allowed al Qaeda to operate from its territory before the attacks and is trying to return to power.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates acknowledged Monday that Taliban fighters "have the momentum right now," blaming a shortage of U.S. and allied troops over the past seven years for the development. The war has claimed the lives of 865 Americans and 570 allied troops to date, and U.S. public support for the conflict has slipped sharply in the past two years.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, told reporters after the White House talks that Obama has "a difficult decision" before him, but offered no overt pledge of support for more troops.

"Whether we agree with it or vote for it remains to be seen when we see what the president puts forth," she said.

But Sen. John McCain, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said, "It's pretty clear that time is not on our side."

"We need to act with deliberate haste," said McCain, Obama's GOP opponent in last year's presidential election.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters earlier that Obama would consult with Congress on his eventual decision.

"The president has [heard] and wants to hear from all of those that are involved in decisions about protecting our homeland, keeping our country safe, as well as the deployment of our men and women in uniform," Gibbs said.

"Obviously, Congress plays an important and significant role in that, and this is part of talking to them about this process."

Filed under: Afghanistan • GOP • President Obama
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Frank, Xenia, Ohio

    It does not surprise me that so many people think that, if the general asks for it, he should get it. I disagree

    I think that General McChrystal's recommendation is only one piece of a complicated puzzle that has to include the American people who bankroll the military establishment. The politics on this is far from "open and shut." I just hope the president can make a wise and timely decision about this.

    October 6, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  2. Four and The Door

    The quickest, surest way out of this war and not to return later is to go quick and decisively to the objective. Nobody wants this to go any longer than it has to and nobody wants to go back later like we had to do in Iraq. We should have let Schwartzkoff go all of the way to Bagdad in the first Gulf war but instead we ended up going back and it was nastier the second time around. We never had to go back to Berlin or Tokyo.

    Wars should always be the measure of the very last resort but if we get to that point and make that decision it should be 100% and get it done the first time. Otherwise too many people are lost needlessly.

    October 6, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  3. aware

    Intestinal fortitude, not equivocation and appeasement, is imperative!

    Does Obama have it? 😦

    October 6, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  4. PaulC

    Has anyone asked the Republicans how they will pay for more troops in Afghanistan?
    Apparently money is no object when it involves wars of opportunity.

    October 6, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    What a convenient position for the GOP. It is certainly true that it is Obama's decision, but the cop out here is glorious. If you don't know what needs to be done or are unwilling to state your position, you can't know or claim to know that haste is needed. That being said, even the Obama administration has stated it believes haste is needed. But the brass tacks here when you consider that fact is that the GOP is just trying to move in and own that message, despite Obama already having delivered it and despite not wanting to own a position regarding what decision should be made. Makes you wonder why they bother though...large pockets of us have already shown the GOP that they'll be blindly forgiven for making horrible decisions regarding the commitment of our troops.

    October 6, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  6. diana

    Since the GOP is all for this war why don't they all resign from their job since they are ineffective and irrelevant in the house they have no agenda nor had any motivation in helping the people anyway .They should all go to Afghanistan and Iraq, after all they were the main cheerleaders of this wars in the first place.

    October 6, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  7. Tim

    Obama is not only not prepared to take the 3:00 a.m. call, he's not prepared to make any call. He's paralyzed because he's concerned what people will think and needs to make sure he has cover.

    Thanks God I do not work for him.

    October 6, 2009 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  8. Perusing-through


    (1.) 44,000 Americans die every year due to lack of affordable health coverage, BUT Republicans want the Democrats to "slow down or stop & restart" health care reform policies,

    . . . BUT . . .

    (2.) The same hypocritical Republicans now want the President to "speed up and NOT deliberate" with Generals on the best "war-winning" strategy for Afghanistan.

    October 6, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  9. Tom

    McCain... "we need to act with deliberate hate"... yeah, like postponing your campaign to fly into DC to muck up the TARP talks.

    If speed was of such an essence, as well as "more troops", then why did you and Bush and the GOP think it was OK to sit on AfPak for 8 years while screwing around in Iraq?

    Remember, McCain, "we'll just muddle through in Afghanistan, because Iraq is where the problem is."/

    Speed and certainity didn't seem to be that important to you then.


    Now, "Bush is putting our troops in harms way" malarkey, then, huh?

    October 6, 2009 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  10. dbetjr

    Sure, lets hurry and spend billions and billions more on war and death and oh yeah, forget about health reform that can wait.

    October 6, 2009 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  11. John from California

    Quick decisions? The republicans under George Bush went into Afghanistan 8 years ago and now they want a "quick decision"?

    Obviously they lack standing on the issue as is the case in almost all issues not related to tax breaks for the rich!

    October 6, 2009 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  12. No Hillary = No Obama

    Obama is frozen. What kind of a leader is this?

    October 6, 2009 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  13. chris

    "Quick" decision on Afghanistan? I thought the GOP doesn't like quick decisions... or does that only apply to healthcare which impacts 45k free citizens annually and costs less than the war?? Quick decisions led us to Iraq...

    October 6, 2009 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  14. JR

    Well, Bush took 4 months to decide on the "surge" which by the way was against his generals, so Obama has quite a few weeks remaining.

    October 6, 2009 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  15. gg

    the same people pushing for more troops will be the same people crying with higher taxs to pay for it you can,t do like chenny and bush put the war on a credit card

    October 6, 2009 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  16. Voter

    Here's a quick decision: Get out of Afghanistan NOW. Bring our kids home NOW.

    Produce a jobs program to put Americans back to work.

    Push for a public option on health care and veto any bill without it.

    Leave America's elderly alone. DO NOT take 1/2 of trillion dollars away from Medicare to line the pockets of American insurance companies.

    October 6, 2009 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  17. proud mother and sister of a soldier

    Europe is taking note to Obama's indecisiveness. We no longer lead with confidence. While he has pillow talk with Michele trying to make this decision, the pure lack of suppport leads to more deaths in Afghanistan. Reminicent of Vietnam and the political games of Johnson.

    October 6, 2009 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  18. Stu

    Well, Obama did campaign on the notion that Iraq was all wrong and we need to focus on Afghanistan, taking down the Taliban, and "getting" Bin Laden. Since Obama was sooo clearly the military expert then, he should have no problem now deciding what to do about Afghanistan. Community Organizing and filing tort lawsuits is exactly the same thing as national security and military strategy isn't it? (sarcasm)

    October 6, 2009 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  19. Carl Justus

    Why would the republicans want to rush our men and women into a war where they could get killed, but want to talk about the health care reform forever and not do anything that would stop the massive profits of the insurance companies and them denying coverage for pre-existing conditions, such as a broken wrist, or in eight states where abusive relationships which are considered a pre-existing conditon to deny coverage.


    October 6, 2009 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  20. CAW in MD

    No, you don't want a quick decision. You want a reasoned, logical decision that can be explained to the country. The only way we win in Afghanistan is to have the American people support that decision. If taking some time now to figure out what the strategy is, how we pursue it, and levelling with the American people on the costs (both in blood and treasure) and the benefits, that is time well spent. Signalling "uncertainty to the region" is the least of our concerns. If Bush had done that in Afghanistan in the first place, America and the rest of the world would be in a much happier place right now.

    October 6, 2009 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  21. Marty, Grand Rapids MI

    We need to start the draft and create a tax to pay for our wars. If not, we need to get out of them. Either we are at war, or we are not. Currently we run our wars on a credit card, send the poor off to fight for us and the American people sacrifice NOTHING.

    October 6, 2009 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  22. Coherent1

    That's the spirit of the good ole GOP, slow to support the people, quick to support a war.

    October 6, 2009 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  23. SC-Dem

    GOP urges quick decision.... as they did in IRAQ!

    Dang these idiots.... the lives of 68,000 people depend on this decision. They don't give a crap; this is just something else for them to run to the media with. I can't stand these fear and war mongers.

    October 6, 2009 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  24. Melvin Wong

    Maybe the GOP senators and congressmen should go share a foxhole with the soldiers in Sfganistan before hurrying President Obama to send more troops. I think Pres Obama is right to get more advise before making a final decision. Nobody wants to be bogged down like in Vietnam.

    October 6, 2009 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  25. unshrub

    The republicans idea of fighting a war is to jump in with both feet before anyone tests the water.

    October 6, 2009 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
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