October 17th, 2009
03:09 PM ET
4 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. aware

    No intestinal fortitude, wisdom or moral center Obama? :(

    October 17, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  2. Buckeye

    Bring home all the troops now before we meet the same fate as the USSR.

    October 17, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  3. Rick in AZ

    40K this year then how many next year? We don't have enough uncommitted troops. When do we start the Draft?

    October 17, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  4. Mike

    Kerry let me introduce you to President Irresponsible.

    Obama will increase troop levels and listen to his generals as Pelosit urged Bush to do. Obama is just waffling on this. First, let me get those leftie loons in line to back me with health care and then I will announce troop increases. Obama doesn't want to risk angering the left with his plans.

    End result; more troops die as Obama does nothing but waffle around for more weeks. For what?

    October 17, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  5. howie

    It won't be long before Obama says "I GIVE UP, YOU BOYS CAN COME HOME, forget about the terrorist for now. When they attact us again we may or may not respond. I feel betrayed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 17, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  6. sk

    So, with the success of the troop surge in Iraq, John "Mr. Vietnam" Kerry says it would be irresponsible to send more troops to Afghanistan?

    Nice.

    October 17, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  7. Ancient Texan

    So. What happened to the battle cry from this wimp Senator, about needing to fund and fight the "RIGHT WAR"? How quickly we forget, when the purpose of the statement was solely to Bash Bush. National Security is going down the drain with group of clowns in power.

    October 17, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  8. Jesus Francisco

    John Kerry was a General in what war?

    October 17, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  9. Debbie

    Had Bush not taken his eyes off of Afganistan and Osama we wouldn't even be in this position. With that said I think Afganistan is not a ground war that can be won. It couldn't be won by Iraq and Russia on the ground. The military will ALWAYS ask for more troops and money. They are in the war business. Soldiers and weapons are their business not American protection. Since 1945 and the bomb you will never see a war won in the traditional sense. So I agree with Kerry ... to send more troops isn't going to help us win... it is only going to shed more American blood and entrench us into a non-win situation. We need to fight this war smarter with more brain than brawn.

    October 17, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  10. Rose

    Kerry, get a life. I suppose it is not irresponsible to leave the troops there to fight this battle without help. Everyday an American is killed there, go tell the parents of those young people you are going to let them die without help. Listen to the General on the ground. Obama can not make a decision, he has shown that over and over. What a wimp. Remember it is his war now, he said it is a war of neccessity.
    As for Hillary blaming Bush for the mess in Afghanistan because he ignored it and went into Iraq. She voted for it in Congress but still won't admit she made a mistake. If it was wrong she should have voted NO. Lots of Dems voted for the invasion in Iraq, Bush could not do it without Congress.

    October 17, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  11. Carol McLean

    Our ELECTED president is NOT "irresponsible". Quit aiding and abetting the Republicans. My definition of "irresponsible" is someone who was a true war hero but who still let a coward and draft dodger belittle his heroism. You go back to packaging ketchup and let a REAL leader decide the direction we should take. That's why we elected him.

    October 17, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  12. Bryan

    So John Kerry says we should listen to the commanders now that it supports what he wants...but not before...figures.

    October 17, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  13. Someone

    The President needs to listen to the generals. The political turmoil is because there is no security. How do you expect a working democracy so soon after overthrowing the Taliban. These elections are just for the world to see, there is no stability. Afghanistan needs a strongman until the country is fully stabilized.

    October 17, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  14. tommy jonq

    i don't see how obama has any choice at all. the problem is, if u.s. troops stop protecting chinese industries in afghanistan, then china will stop lending the u.s. government money. if the u.s. stops iran from selling oil to china, then china will stop lending the u.s. government money. if china stops lending the u.s. government money, then the u.s. government won't have any actual stimulus money to spend this winter. and no one wants to think about that.

    October 17, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  15. Mark,B'ham,Al.

    How is Afganistan going to get a stable government and have the time neccessary to train and equip its troops to protect its people without American and our few close allies that let their troops fight the Taliban. We need to win in Afganistan and if the the generals say they need more troops they know more on how to win a war than any politician, especially one who is a lawyer. What will the liberals say if the Taliban take over Afganistan, Al-Qaeda moves back, and attack an American City again?

    October 17, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  16. once upon a horse

    this is another really no win situation at this moment for Presidnet Obama because no matter what he chooses he's going to catch heat over it. It would be interesting though if he chooses what a lot of Republicans want him to do by sending in more troops if they would actually BACK him on this issue. They don't back him on anything else.

    October 17, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  17. Lynne

    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.

    No one on the right ever deals with the HUGE question: Where will the troops come from???

    October 17, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  18. Richard

    Obama, wisely, has followed the military policies recommended by the Joint Chiefs, as did Bush. The far left may not like this, but the far left does not truly understand the violence, greed and depravity that goes on in this world. Accordingly, John Kerry, a man who disgraced his fellow veterans by make broad, inaccurate generalizations about Vietnam should truly show humility and remove himself from any foreign policy discussions. Obama is committed to protecting America, is following the policies of his predecesor that worked, tweeking those that didn't. The world is no more peaceful than during the Cold War. Obama gets it. Kerry does not.
    Iraq was a success. The silent media is proof.

    October 17, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  19. DJK

    To all you wonderful, bleeding-heart liberals out there--today's poll question on Al-Jazeera.net:

    هل ترى أن الغرب هزم في أفغانستان؟

    Or, in other words:

    Do you see that the West was defeated in Afghanistan?

    84% say yes.

    Now go feel good about yourselves.

    October 17, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  20. JonDie

    I agree; no more troops should be sent.

    The fraudulent elections that Karzai's government sponsored pretty mean the END to any chance for Afghanistan...even if Karzai allows a run-off.

    Karzai's fraudulent conduct was the final death sentence for any attempt to save Afghanistan from the Taliban.

    October 17, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  21. worriedmom

    Sen Kerry just stay out of it. YOu lost years ago!!!
    How much longer does this President have to ponder on things? each day more and more men and women are being killed!
    People were right, this President does not have the intelligence or the backbone to fight for anything!!

    October 17, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  22. Richard

    More troops are needed and will prove successful. The US has the most powerful fighting men and women in the world, eg the Marines, the Rangers, Special Forces, Seals, etc. We lost over 95,000 Americans in the US to acts of violence since we went to Iraq. We lost 4,400 enlisted men and women in Iraq. Kerry wants to talk about troops?! Let's talk about all the dead crime victims on US soil! Send more troops. It worked in Iraq. I will work in Afghan. as well.

    October 17, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  23. Caral from SoCal

    If we cannot help stabilize a government in Afghanistan, then the resurgence of the Taliban WILL take down the government in Pakistan – which is a nuclear country. The dominos that would fall are too great to wave the white flag on this one. John Kerry's lack of spine is horrifying, and makes me awfully glad he isn't the one who actually gets to call the play. Oh, wait. Obama does that...and frankly I am not convinced he understands the stakes either. Ah, for someone with a little military background and experience in the White House.

    October 17, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  24. Sara

    I think John Kerry is right. At least he has realised that the more troops be sent to Afghanistan, the longer the war would last. What is the prupose of this war anyway? The more civilians killed by Nato troops, which is unavoidable, the more angry Afghans will get and more " terrorists " will imerge from them. I believie the best soloution is just all the foreign military forces leave that country and help them only for civil service and let the Muslim countries train Afghan police and military personnel.

    October 17, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  25. Brook E. Mantia

    Earn that Peace Prize NOW, Mr. President!

    October 17, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
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