October 17th, 2009
03:09 PM ET
5 years ago

Kerry: Obama would be 'irresponsible' to send more troops to Afghanistan now


WASHINGTON (CNN)– Sen. John Kerry cautioned President Obama Saturday against raising troop levels in Afghanistan, saying it would be "entirely irresponsible" to do so while the Afghan government remains in turmoil following national elections.

"It would be entirely irresponsible for the president of the United States to commit more troops to this country, when we don't even have an election finished and know who the president is and what kind of government we're working in, with," Kerry told CNN's John King in an interview set to air Sunday at 9 a.m. on State of The Union.

Speaking from Afghanistan, Kerry, who is Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the U.S. should listen to the advice of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in that country.

"When our own, you know, commanding general tells us that a critical component of achieving our mission here is, in fact, good governance, and we're living with a government that we know has to change and provide it, how could the president responsibly say, oh, they asked for more, sure, here they are?," Kerry said.

President Obama and his advisers have held five meetings in recent weeks to discuss U.S. strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as they continue to weigh a call from Gen. McChrystal for as many as 40,000 additional troops in Afghanistan.

However, complaints of voter irregularities have dogged the Afghanistan election and the United States' mission there. At a press conference earlier this month, the top United Nations official in Afghanistan, Kai Eide said the vote was marred by "widespread fraud."

The Independent Election Commission is expected to soon finish an audit and recount of suspicious ballots. The independent commission is a "constitutional body" that conducts "free and fair elections" in an "impartial way" according to its Web site.

Election tallies have yet to be certified because of the allegations. Last month, final uncertified results showed Karzai with 54 percent of the vote.

Be sure to watch the full interview Sunday at 9.am. on State of The Union with John King

soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. LKM

    OK, Senator Kerry. Let me get this straight. We ARE in a war in Afghanistan, and the General commanding it says we need 40,000 more troops to do the job, and you want to ignore the advice of the man running the operation? Let me put this another way. Either we fight to win, and that means enough manpower and equipment (which we really can't spare while we are still in Iraq) to get the job done or we decide not to listen to our commanders and get the heck out completely ASAP. I for one am not willing to wage another Viet Nam in Afghanistan and watch our brave young people die endlessly unless they are properly outfitted to do the job they were given and do it fast. Either send the 40,000 more into the meat grinder or get us out of that God Forsaken rat-hole. Either way, live with the decision. Will you personally be making the visits to the families who have lost loved ones I wonder? Or do you just delegate that?

    October 17, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  2. Ryan Underground

    either send more troops in or pull them all out... This inbetween stuff is getting us nowhere and just getting people killed

    October 17, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  3. Bob from Pittsburgh

    Senator Kerry is right..

    Karsai is and was a member of the Bush team, he was the manager of a project to construct a pipeline through Afghanistan, reporting directly to the Bush Family, Now he has participated on a blunt fraud to steal the election in the past two months, he has not come out clean, massive fraud on the election by his supporters.

    President Obama should not put money troops or support till he knows what is the plan, is would be irresponsible otherwise.

    Karsai comes clean, then more troops and money otherwise let new clean elections decide the future of the country.. As Americans you believe in democracy, at least if what you claim..

    October 17, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  4. Louis Cioccio

    Dien Bien Phu that Afghan for not enough troops even to protect themselves on a 12 hour battle. You may see another Khe Sanh type of battles; do you have a stomach for that!
    Lets look at the Afghan corrupt government and then ask ourselves whom do we support another corrupt government like South Vietnam.
    We are fighting an insurgency that IS faith based and willing to die.
    If the Afghans and their neighbors do not want this to happen why are they not volunteering?

    I was RA in 1966 to 1968.

    October 17, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  5. Draft Wingnuts

    Lynne October 17th, 2009 4:09 pm ET

    Funny that the right wing always calls for never ending spending for war yet cry when less money is wanted to save the health and lives of their fellow Americans to provide health care.

    You're right. Americans are in substantially more danger of dying as a result of lack of heath care, or being denied by their insurance company that they ever will be from a terrorist attack.

    October 17, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  6. Joey

    I wouldn't liked to be in Obama's shoes now. After his award of the Nobel Peace prize, Obama will be somehow obligated to bring peace around the world, and that to includes Afghanistan, Iraq, the Palestinians with Israel and so on. And that should be done with sending no troops, but peace agreements and dialogues, and would make Hillary very well known around the world and maybe better liked than Obama himself. Somehow he got the Nobel Prize award for what he expected to achieve peace wise around the world. It remain to be seen if he wont let them down, which I believe he probably will.

    October 17, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  7. LKM

    We are not there as cheerleaders for Karzai. Let the Afghans choose their own leaders as long as they are not hostile towards us as we fight the Taliban and Al Queda, which should be our only goal in Afghanistan besides helping to clean up the mess and rebuild infrastructure so the population has a chance to succeed. The bigger picture though is the growing culture war between East and West. As our belief structures stand, there really is no basis for a dialog. You cannot negotiate with a culture that wants to dominate us, and has no problem shouting it in the streets as they did yesterday when Geert Wilder, who is well known for his bravery in exposing this goal in his blog and speeches, going so far as saying he must be killed for insulting their "culture" of hate. Because this man simply told the truth about the laws in their culture, they feel perfectly justified in killing him. Why is our President trying to negotiate with Iran for example, a country that regularly calls for the annihilation of Israel, and who thumbs their nose at every resolution the UN passed on their nuke activity? Instead of focusing on the most immediate problem, he focuses on a resolution cooked up by he and Egypt which makes it a CRIME to Insult any religion. There goes Free Speech.

    October 17, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  8. slp

    President Obama is dragging his feet on this because he doesn't want to alienate his left liberal base. He is coward of the worst kind. He needs to step up and be a leader. That will not happen however. He is not a leader. Great "change" all of you idiots voted for.

    October 17, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  9. Allen

    Senator Kerry, this proves again why you were unelectable.

    October 17, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  10. krejaton

    Too many liberals will just never be satisfied until we lose every war we are involved in.

    October 17, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  11. gtekam Jacksonville

    I agree.
    Bring them home

    October 17, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  12. Barb

    All you keyboard Generals amaze me. Let the big boys make the decisions – they have much more information than you do. BTW – I'm a Canadian. America is NOT THE ONLY COUNTRY to have shed blood in Afghanistan. Canadian troops were there at the beginning.... we stayed when former President Bush left to fight another war... and we're still there. We mourn for our dead as you do yours. We also mourn for your husbands, sons, fathers and brothers. You only hear about our casualties as an aside, or an afterthough... "Nato troops dead". I, for one, am grateful that President Obama will meet with his advisors as much as possible, in order to come to the Right Decision!

    October 17, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  13. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    It appears that Karzai is not on our side with this fight against the Taliban. Until the U.S. knows who Karzai really is, put a hold on all troops.

    October 17, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  14. disgusted

    I believe the terrorists have moved to Pakistan have they not? If so, we don't need to send more troops to Afghanistan.

    October 17, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  15. Philip S. Griffey

    As a Marshall Villars requested of Louis XIV "Please defend me from my friends; I can defend myself from my enemies".

    October 17, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  16. Runofthemill

    If 59 million or so American were not dumber than piles of dirt Kerry would have had the job in Afghansistan finished by now, and iraq would be a distant if bad memory...

    However, that is not what happened, so Mr. Kerry should give this president the room and the discretion to make what he feels is the right call to finish what needs finishing there.

    October 17, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  17. Gordon Shumway

    Coming from the likes of Vietnam War Hero Kerry should make this an important basis for Obama's decision.

    October 17, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  18. steve

    this is typical liberal military tactics (fight a war in washington). this is how we lost in korea and vietnam, so is anyone surprised as to kerry's posture on this issue?

    history has shown when we relied on the military commanders, we win. we won in iraq (twice), ww I and ww II.

    October 17, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
1 2