December 6th, 2009
12:46 PM ET
10 months ago

Kyl: By announcing date, Obama has 'complicated' Afghan war

Sen. Kly said Sunday that 'the whole object of war is to break the will of the enemy to fight.'
Sen. Kly said Sunday that 'the whole object of war is to break the will of the enemy to fight.'

Washington (CNN) – The number two Republican in the Senate said Sunday that his party generally supports President Obama’s recently announced surge strategy in Afghanistan. But, added Sen. John Kyl, by announcing a date to begin to draw down the additional U.S. troops sent as part of the surge, the president had “complicated matters” in the U.S. military effort in Afghanistan.

After roughly three months of deliberation, President Obama announced last week that he has ordered 30,000 additional troops to be sent to Afghanistan. As part of the new strategy, Obama also informed the nation and the world that the U.S. would begin to remove those troops in July 2011, depending upon the conditions on the ground in the war-torn country.

Republicans “are supportive of the president,” Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. “They want this mission to succeed very much and we will do everything we can to support his policy.”

But, Kyl quickly added, “I think he has complicated matters by having this firm beginning-of-withdrawal date. He said it is chiseled in stone. But what happens the day after [Obama’s drawdown date] and how many troops come down, I think is the question. And, as long as that’s condition-based, it has a chance of succeeding.

“The reason I said it complicates matters is that in war, will matters. In fact, the whole object of war is to break the will of the enemy to fight.”

Kyl added that in order to win support from the Pakistanis, the Afghans, and NATO, the U.S. needs to demonstrate a firm commitment to fighting the war in Afghanistan.

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein disagreed with Kyl about the president’s decision to announce a drawdown date.

Feinstein, the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Sunday on State of the Union that she was satisfied with the mid-2011 date.

“I think it’s a transitional period,“ Feinstein told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King. “I think it sets a goal. I think it enables an evaluation. I think it’s a concentrated sense of attention. And, if you can begin to remove troops, that will happen.”

Earlier on State of the Union, Obama National Security Adviser James Jones described the mid-July 2011 as a “ramp” or “glide slope” rather than a “cliff.”

“We are here to see that Afghanistan succeeds,” Jones told King.

Jones also said Sunday that a more complete draw down in Afghanistan will be based on the Afghan government’s progress in terms of its capability to provide security.

In a taped, exclusive interview set to air Sunday afternoon on CNN’s Amanpour, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said his country would make its best effort in the next two years but at the same time cautioned that international community should be patient with Afghanistan as it attempts to stand up its own security and policy forces. Karzai estimated that it would take until 2014 for his government to be able to secure the country.

soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. Stu- SW Florida

    It seems like the war was already far too complicated for Bush and Cheaney.
    It wasn't too complicated to make a fortune on though...
    Maybe it's too complicated for the GOP... that's what he meant. But then everything is too complicated for them.

    By putting a time line on it, it sends a clear message to the Afgans. Get your s**t together or we're outta here. Sacrifice the same number of soldiers we have. Show the world you want to get rid of al Quida and the Taliban and not just take the sacrifices we are all making on your behalf. This is the amount of time you have... make it happen!
    Doesn't seem too complicated to me.

    December 6, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  2. VON BISMARK -Vienna

    Must these Republicans only support the Dems on war where there is loss of life and yet profess to pro-life? Is this the only bi-partisan way foward?

    December 6, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  3. They call me "tater salad"

    Hey Kyl.......In case you hadn't noticed, we're fighting an enemy whose children are born into war and have been fighting one war after another for a long time! I don't think your little fantasy of "breaking their will to fight" is going to be as easy as you know-nothing, big mouths, think it will be..........Just more proof, that people that have absolutely no clue(like Kyl) should not hold public office where important decisions are made!

    December 6, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  4. Michele

    For God's sake, Kyl, grow up. This is not, and never was, a winnable war. How many people have fought and left Afghanistan in the past century? Lots. We will be no different. It is not up to the troops of the US to fight for every single country that needs help. It is up to the US to provide for her own citizens, which is not happening.

    December 6, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  5. Tammy

    Over the years, the Republicans have done more than enough for our foreign and domestic policy. Thanks a lot. Now, shut up already and let someone really try to fix your mess.

    December 6, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  6. NotFooledTX

    Kyl is a partisian hack. HIs performance and statements during the health care reform debate is evidence. If Obama magically made the economy turn around tomorrow, and paid off the deficit Kyl would still complain.

    He's sophomoric and sadly id given a platform from which to embarrass himself.

    December 6, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  7. Ted from Calif.

    One thing missing from Kyl's resume is military service. Why is it that Republican draft dodgers want to offer military advice when they were not brave enough to serve?

    People should ignore these sanctimonious twits.

    December 6, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  8. gary davis Harbor Oregon proud american

    I am sick and tired of hearing about what each one of these people think when if they would just ask to be involved in the what is going on and get all the facts from the military and the president . then anyone of them can have input . but the way it is going now its all about blame game
    the last president lied so lets learn from that .. we need to finish the mess the last administration dropped the ball on and then continue recovery of our econmy and that of the worlds econmy. so to mr . KYLE and the rest of the negative twitts ( shut up and help ) not jump all over the president . each one of you are just as quilty as BUSH CHENEY AND ROVE so learn from it and get to wark helping . we are doing it so get with it or retire and shut up !!! :)

    GARY DAVIS
    HARBOR OREGON proud american in support of our administration
    and not insupport of negative ideas

    December 6, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  9. Preston kathy

    Preston kathy mr obana i think we should get out of afghanistan i will support you i hope you are right pleare do send more troops in after the 30 000 the gop does not care how many troops we lose vietnam veteran

    December 6, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  10. gary

    All repubs should shut up and back this intellegent, well thought out plan.I know they would rather have a retard in the White House but you tried that for the last 8 years and that didnt work so well. GO OBAMA.

    December 6, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  11. Joe

    "Break the will of the enemy to fight". That if you have an enemy to fight, not someone that is firing back at you because you fire at them. Or, the other way around. You cannot beat the Taliban, because they are also Afghans. Buy them off. Make it sweet for them and simple for us. In Pakistan you have Al-Quaeda, they will be tough to beat, there you can use "Break the will of the enemy to fight", but then we will have to be in Pakistan, not in between Pakistan and Afghanistan in the mountain, but inside Pakistan. Its a long road ahead, but very interesting.

    December 6, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  12. Steve in Denver

    The Republican party, yes, the same ones who participated/enabled the last president to bungle the war in afghanistan, and attack Iraq, is giving us yet more advice on war.

    Kyl, McCain, Et Al, you blew this war. It is eight years, a third world country with no military, and hardly any money, has kicked our butts under your watch. Shut the he.. up and let the adults handle things.

    December 6, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
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