October 28th, 2009
08:37 AM ET
9 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. TM in CO

    Perhaps if the Bush administration would have the full focus on Afghanistan from the very beginning instead of attacking Iraq and dividing the attention, we wouldn't be having this conversation. The current President is left to deal with the mess that Cheney, oops I meant Bush, left for him to clean up................................Take all of our troops out of Iraq and get more combat troops into Afghanistan and finish what Bush should have finished in the first place......................get bin forgotten too

    October 28, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  2. GI Joe

    He probably thought singing to the Viet Namese helped us win that war too. HE KNOWS NOTHING. An inept pilot that was captured by the enemy and san – HE KNOWS NOTHING.

    October 28, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  3. Clint, Lynnwood, Wa.

    John, go back to crashing jets, it is what you know best.

    October 28, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  4. Karen

    You'd better try to convience your president! His peace prize makes him even slower to make a decision.

    October 28, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  5. j

    We're not going to win the war in Afghanistan. We're not even going to be able to accomplish the original goal, which was to root out the terrorist organization responsible for the 9/11 attacks. We'll be lucky if Pakistan doesn't fall into a more extreme Islamic regime. We'll be equally lucky if Iraq doesn't fall into a more hard line Islamic regime like Iran.

    The USA has yet to learn how to use a surgical scalpel instead of a sledge hammer when it comes to accomplishing military and political goals. We've made the Middle East much more dangerous than it was when we went in. We've stirred up resentment, causing more anti-American sentiment and hatred, which will eventually lead to more terrorist attacks.

    We took the wrong approach to begin with and it will eventually come back to bite us.

    October 28, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  6. haren

    He is war monger, even Alexander the great could not win in Afghanistan.

    October 28, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  7. Kerry

    please define "winning the war in Afghanistan" for us. Is it not leaving until there is total peace? or what? We cannot fight an open ended war in that country. Noone in history has ever occupied Afghanistan, including Genghis Khan, the British or the Russians.

    October 28, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  8. Canadian

    Now, why didn't you say that when Bush was in office? He is the reason why Afghanistan is in such a mess. After 9/11, instead of going after Al Qaeda over there, he decided to take care of a personal vendetta against Saddam Hussein (the stupidess move ever). Bush is the reason why so many American troops are being killed today in Afghanistan.

    Way to go Bush!!

    October 28, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  9. ran

    Mr. fear/hate at it again. Where was he when Bush left Afghanistan for Iraq?

    October 28, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  10. jerry

    I agree. If we don't win in Afghanistan, where will the U.S. get its supply of heroin. If we don't have that supply, the entire N.Y.P.D. will have to live on what the city pays them and Miami will become just another so-so vacation spot.

    October 28, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  11. AEK

    We did not go to Afghanistan to build what the neocons see as their vision of a nation. We went to break up the terrorist gang operating out of the country. You and ex President Bush, through your inattentiveness, have embroiled the United States in yet another civil war with us once again supporting a corrupt puppet government. Congratulations to you and the war hawks on another "mission accomplished".

    October 28, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  12. me happy- at 4:20 each day

    I definitely lean to the right- but one thing I just can't get about the republicans: Why do they all get off on wars?

    October 28, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  13. Deb fromTexas

    Who cares what McCain thinks? Doing the Presidential Election – he pop up saying anything all of the time – he is a know-nothing.

    October 28, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  14. George

    It's a waste of our finest people's lives. Bring them home and strenghten our borders. Lets quit being the world's policeman.

    October 28, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  15. Randolph Carter

    Obama needs to know that not making a decision is in fact making a decision. Have a nice day.

    October 28, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  16. Amos

    With the leadership we have now we might as well pack it up and leave Afghanistan. We are wasting our resources and most importantly as a veteran we are endangering and killing our blessed soldiers with this half ass effort.

    October 28, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  17. Ralph Kramden

    Stop pushing Barack. He should takie his time in making such an important decision. Quit rushing him. It is better than rushing in with a half baked decision and end up with the whole world being afraid of the USA.

    October 28, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  18. Peoples Voice

    Yeah, right. And, we should still try and win the Viet Nam war too.

    This coming from a man who voted not to allow rape victims to take their attackers to court. This man loves violence and death.

    October 28, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  19. James B

    why not cut bait and run, set up bases inside the region, use strike teams and preditors to attack from the sky. We are fitting a war that hasn't been won by the British,or the Russians. Look at the history of the Afgan region. No one can win here. We are fighting a war against the wrong people. The taliban didn't start 9-11, Al qaeda did. Why sould be stay in a country and lose lives when they are hidden in the mountians of Pakistan ? Lets cut and run and team with NATO and attack from the air with drones. You keep a couple dozen in the air at all times and they'll come out sooner or later and then fire a missle and kill them. We can't let John McCain deside this war, he is an ex vet who would want to support them men in battle, as I would being an ex soldier. However we have to let personal opinions and politics not sway whats going on. We have been there for 7 yrs and haven't even come close to winning this war ! why are we there ? Get out, save lives!!!!!!

    October 28, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  20. annie s

    Senator, why will we succeed when other nations have not?

    October 28, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  21. Steve in Denver

    Maybe you should have been advising, oh, I don't know, how about George W. Bush, like in 2001-2002? The bungler in chief could have used some intelligent advice then.

    All you neocons that are blaming Obama for Afghanistan do realize that George W. Bush started this war in 2001, right? When the war started, the world was on our side. We could have chased bin laden to Moscow or Havana and no one would have given it a second thought. Eight years of bungled foreign policy later, Obama has to run international land mines to try to do Bush's job.

    Maybe W should have kept his eye on the ball in 2001 when bin laden was cornered in Tora Bora, instead of planning his invasion of Iraq.

    But then, facts have never been important to neocons.

    October 28, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  22. oh please

    for the first time I would have to agree with Senator McCain if we leave now you just wait and see the next generation of Terrorist that our kids will have to deal with. If we let the taliban back in afghanistan and send women back into those dark days it would be devastating. I hate sending our men in women into harms way and that is devastating as a former service women I am scared for them and it definitely scares me when I see all that they are doing in the those remote places but we started this and if we leave now with Pakistan doing what we asked them to it will be the worst mistake.

    October 28, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  23. Steve in Denver

    The world walked away from Afghanistan once. Your buddy Bush walked away a second time. You all rubber-stampped the bungling of the war in Afghanistan for seven years. Especially grotesque is that, just like Viet Nam, YOU and the previous administration fought the war politically, not sending enough troops there to do the job so you could plan Iraq. American troops' blood is on your hands, just as much as Bush and Cheney's.

    Time for you neocons to go tea-bagging, and let the adults handle this.

    I'm so glad we went with the smart guy this time!

    October 28, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  24. Ray

    On one hand, I'm glad to see that the war in Afghanistan is finally being given some attention.

    On the other, I would love to ask McCain & Co to define what a victory there might look like. They went in without any clear goals or timelines, and I think to this day there is no clear idea of what "winning" there might be...

    October 28, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  25. Republicans are the American Taliban

    That is why protecting the population must be job one right now, and in the immediate term, much of that work must be done by U.S. and NATO troops

    So we will protect the Afghani civilians from harm...yet allow our own American citizens to die from lack of healthcare? McCains values seem quite twisted to me...

    October 28, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
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