October 28th, 2009
08:37 AM ET
4 years ago

McCain: Why we can - and must - win the war in Afghanistan

John McCain says America must win the war in Afghanistan.
John McCain says America must win the war in Afghanistan.

The following is a commentary from Sen. John McCain:

WASHINGTON (CNN) - For the first time since September 11, 2001, America is having a vigorous national debate about how to succeed in Afghanistan. This debate is entirely worth having. Whenever America sends its citizens into harm's way, it must do so with eyes wide open.

Though no veteran would ever think of himself as "pro-war," I believe that the fight in Afghanistan is critical to our national security. Our goals there are achievable and success is worth the continued sacrifice.

We must succeed in Afghanistan for many reasons, but one stands above all: the world walked away from Afghanistan once, and it descended into a cauldron of violence, hatred and human rights atrocities that served as the base for the worst terrorist attack in history against our homeland.

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Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (93 Responses)
  1. Palin went to the McCain school of PR

    get your name out

    doesn't matter the subject or why, publicity is good

    give it a rest McCain

    And as an aside... I think we must win (by that I mean get Afganistan in some state of stable) in Afganistan, for that matter Iraq

    now, how we get there is more difficult than simply "we must win"

    October 28, 2009 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  2. Bruce

    This would not be an issue if GWB had followed through and doen what he should ahve here, instead of going into Iraq on faulty or false intelligence.
    It is also time that this country and it's leaders look at history and see that over that time no one has been sucessful in this area and the cost is not worth it. The USSR is th most recent example that this cannot be won, get out now.

    October 28, 2009 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  3. Retired US Army Officer-Kansas

    I agree we must win in Afganistan, but after eight years I still have no idea as to what victory in Afganistan means.

    What are our military objectives for victory in Afganistan? Once military objectives have been determined our military leaders will be able to determine the force structure and support package needed to accomplish the military objectives. Afgan rule is up to the Afgan people, not us, and our form of government will not work in Afganistan, because our form of government is a unique experiment that we have been working on for 200+ years, the Afgan people will have to develop their own course.

    October 28, 2009 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  4. Clive

    These guys sure love to send other peoples kid's to fight their pointless wars for them. You never hear Republicans question the huge amount of tax dollars need to fund these adventures – they just complain about spending money on the disadvantaged in their own country.

    October 28, 2009 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  5. Wow

    Wait a minute. Isn't this the same person that said we could muddle through in Afghanistan? Please CNN and other MSM, let it go. No one wants to hear what this man has to say. Mccain and the rest of his war mongers should just go away. I wish he would explain why the war wasn't won earlier. Oh that's right, they lied so that they could start another war in Iraq.

    October 28, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  6. Ynotbbad

    Once again my senator from AZ speaks from an uninformed postion. What exactly are/were are goals in Afghanistan? Why did Sen McCain and rest of the Republicans stress a more coherent goal and strategy. Are you now nation building? What is the TRUE measure of WIN or SUCCESS. People toss those two words around like a football but exactly what does it look like. Stop the maddnes until we know why we are sending servicemen and women to fight or die. The world has habitually withdrawn from Afghanistan. Where are our allies now – where is the world. I have served for 22 years within the Special Operations and have been to both Iraq & Afghanistan.

    October 28, 2009 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  7. ray

    old man macain, you had 8 years to win the war and you never did or will you ever win so shut up and get into your shelter.

    October 28, 2009 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  8. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert but.....

    Yeah, but what does win mean? Have a nice day!

    October 28, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  9. kyle from ohio

    Bomb bomb Afghanistan; And what it they do not want our help?
    our soldier's dying for a people that see us as a controller of their state? What energy we have to fight a war, but no energy to give all of our citizens the opportunity for Universal Healthcare, what a party.

    October 28, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  10. Hot Dog

    We can not win the war in Afghanistan. The question must be ask is why do these people hate the United States so much. It is stupid to believe that they hate us because of our life style. If we had not bothered them in the first place we would not be fighting them now. It is amazing how we can find money to fight these senseless wars but will not spend funds in this country to fix the things that are broken. Time has change. Gone are the dominating days of U.S. in the global community.

    October 28, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  11. Marie MD

    Another useless piece on the man whose background as a veteran is crashing five planes and spending the war as a POW (which, granted, was horrible).
    If we had stayed in Afghanistan/Pakistan looking for bin laden instead of changing course and invading Iraq maybe we wouldn't be in the pickle we are in right now.
    Once again, thanks to the shrub and Darth Vader we are in a heap of trouble eight years later with no end in sight.

    October 28, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  12. Andi

    Again, I'd like to ask the 'hawks' in our government what is a 'win' in Afghanistan? Since we are not at war with the nation of Afghanistan, or any nation in particular, how will we know when we've 'won'?

    October 28, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  13. Gary

    I don't agree with McCain on a lot of things but I do have say that he makes some very good points in his written opinion.

    October 28, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  14. The Lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    This is the biggest lie of them all. We need to provide colonialism in someone else's country because it provides profits to our military industry. We know the truth here this war is nothing more than a way to make money through our dislike of our people, same old same old reasoning that caused us harm in the first place. This is Vietnam again, and the cost in American lives is not worth it.
    End global colonialism; stop interfering with the affairs of other nations because we do not agree with it.
    Bring our brave American children home; defend the homeland from the homeland, not by invading our nations.
    No more wars for profit!

    October 28, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  15. independent Jim

    When we saw the Taliban explode some ancient monuments in the 1990s because the monuments did not meet their definition of religiously correct, little did we realize that about a decade later the same Taliban would allow al Queida to use Afghanistan as a base of operations for 9-11. The Taliban are jhadists, and we are in danger because we also do not meet their definition of religiously correct.

    I am bewildered, however, at what the Administration is spending so much time on during the current debate about what to do. The President's own choice for local commander, GEN McCrystal, is the foremost expert in the Army on special ops. GEN Petraeus is the expert on counterinsurgency. Do we need this debate to water down their recommendations so that the Administration can look politically correct?

    October 28, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  16. The Lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    Corrected comment sorry.
    This is the biggest lie of them all. We need to provide colonialism in someone else's country because it provides profits to our military industry. We know the truth here this war is nothing more than a way to make money through our dislike of other people, same old same old reasoning that caused us harm in the first place. This is Vietnam again, and the cost in American lives is not worth it.
    End global colonialism; stop interfering with the affairs of other nations because we do not agree with it.
    Bring our brave American children home; defend the homeland from the homeland, not by invading our nations.
    No more wars for profit!

    October 28, 2009 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  17. Shadysider

    There isn't a physical war to be won. The country has never been totally controlled by one military force. Neither Napolean, ALexander or Ghengis Khan were able to control the country. The fight is for the hearts and minds, trying to win the people over from the radical Taliban-style of thinking. It is reminiscent of the ideological fight going on within the Republican Party right now. The radical ideologues are trying to take over the party, but moderates MUST win out.

    October 28, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  18. Anonymous

    Why weren't Sen. McCain and the rest of the last administration so concerned about winning in Afghanistan for the last 7 1/2 years? They say the President is dithering but they dithered there for almost eight years. They let everything slip in Afghanistan and allowed the Taliban and Al Queda to regroup there and in Pakistan. Listening to their advice is very annoying because they it is like "Do what I say, not what I did".

    October 28, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  19. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    : the world walked away from Afghanistan once, and it descended into a cauldron of violence, hatred and human rights atrocities that served as the base for the worst terrorist attack in history against our homeland
    -------------------------------

    Then why the heck weren't we in there as opposed to Iraq? This is what truly baffles me. Evidently EVERYONE had access to this type of intelligence. EVERYONE knew where we needed to focus our military resources pre and post 9/11. EVERYONE. Why the hell did we end up in IRAQ?? Why would all of these experts allow the 'Shrub Cutter' to SEND OUR SONS AND DAUGHTERS to be killed in the WRONG COUNTRY???! And I DON'T apologize for my yelling.

    October 28, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  20. Joan

    Why weren't Sen. McCain and the rest of the last administration so concerned about winning in Afghanistan for the last 7 1/2 years? They say the President is dithering but they dithered there for almost eight years. They let everything slip in Afghanistan and allowed the Taliban and Al Queda to regroup there and in Pakistan. Listening to their advice is very annoying because they it is like "Do what I say, not what I did".

    October 28, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  21. Jeff in Virginia

    Does McCain think that we are idiots?

    He is the man who said that Afghanistan should be "put on the back burner" while we were fighting a War Of Choice in Iraq.

    This man supported the policies that put Afghanistan exactly where it is, and now he's complaining? Please!

    October 28, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  22. marlene

    I don't think the US should stay in Afghanistan. It's not worth the lives that have been lost and will be lost. No other country has been able to win the war there and we won't either.

    John McCain needs to stop playing the war game and retire.
    We couldn't win in Iraq, we won't win in Afghanistan.

    October 28, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  23. Lynda

    You said the same thing about Iraq........what you Military people don't understand is we can't change the minds and hearts of these people, they have to much hate and differences among themselves, they are fighting tribal wars........civil war.......just yesterday we had our first American diplomat (a decorated Marine) resign because he said himself we can't win this War.......so why keep sending more troops to be killed........you Republicans are Blood Thirsty........

    October 28, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  24. mike

    hey McCain put your money where big mouth is or is this your PORK that you always say you are against

    October 28, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  25. JEAN - ATL

    Personally, it is beyond me why anybody cares what this old loser and traitor thinks about anything. He showed me what his judgement is worth when he chose narcissitic quittin failin palin as a possible vice or president for America. Think God these two weren't put in charge,
    because I shutter to think how much worst off we would be if they had been elected.

    October 28, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
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