December 6th, 2009
12:46 PM ET
9 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. Mark

    Military timeliness should be set but not advertised.

    December 6, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  2. Party Purity will never bring Political Power!

    Yes, repeat the same claptrap you cons have been peddlin' for years, and look what that got you, your sorry arses were booted out of office.

    Saying the same thing and expecting a different response, stupidity in it's "purest" form!

    December 6, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  3. Republicans is smart in the head area

    Obama complicated matters? You mean he complicated things more than doing a half hearted job in Afghanistan in 2001 and then invading a country that had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks under false pretenses and staying there for 7 years? You mean he complicated things more than that?

    December 6, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  4. Chickenhawk Romney

    Romney is on the circuit peddling his book. My question to him is, when is he or any of his FIVE SONS going to suit up and go fight in either Afghanistan or Iraq? It's a very simple question, but maybe not so simple for a chickenhawk and his lowlife sons. They're all clowns.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    December 6, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  5. southern cousin

    Obama is the successor to the pary and now has the radicals in his administration that cost all of those lives and the loss of the Vietnam War. These are dope smokers and all they care about is giving away money from the taxpayers to the NEA so they don't have to work, the unions so they don't have to work and of course the dope smokers so they don't have to work and can sit at home and watch CNN and Oprah.

    December 6, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  6. W l Jones

    The good Senator for got one thing, if somebody behind you you don^t have time to wait and see what coming.

    December 6, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  7. The Party of NO stood calmly by for 8 year while the shrub raped and pillaged America, so, why would we listen to you now?

    Remember this is advice from the party with the stated racist agenda to see President Obama "fail" and thus taking America down as well.

    When was the last time a football team won when the quarterback "failed" ?

    December 6, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  8. Kate

    Another Republican still putting the President down for his decission to have a date for withdrawal......shame on you......the GOP doesn't like the Democrats spending money of helping get Health Care for all Americans, but they are willing to spend Billions upon Billions to keep the Wars going.......what's wrong with this picture?

    December 6, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  9. A little sad

    I am so embarrassed that Kyl is one of my two senators.

    Not that McCain is much better.

    December 6, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  10. Death Panel Sarah

    This is the closest the 'party of NO' has been to saying 'yes'!!!!

    ....but, they just couldn't quite do it. They had to give our President a qualified 'maybe'!!!

    December 6, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  11. Death Panel Sarah

    Wasn't Kyl in some sort of scandal, too?
    I think it had to do with women or women's rights.

    So many reptili'con's in trouble, its hard to keep all the scandals straight!

    December 6, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  12. Tired

    Well I guess they couldn't criticize the increase in troops and it would be impossible for them to wholheartedly support the President so they had to find something to complain about.

    December 6, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  13. Chipster

    How odd that Bush ran for President on the promise to never send troops to war without an exist strategy. Now, Republicans no longer seem to embrace that idea.

    McCain talked about the importance of benchmarks but every project manager knows that benchmarks require a schedule. You cannot measure progress without a schedule. The schedule may change, depending on conditions, but we must have some means of measuring progress.

    I fail to understand Republican opposition to basic good management. It seems as if they simply oppose everything anymore.

    December 6, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  14. Death Panel Sarah

    I volunteer to contribute a list of all honorable republicans!!!!

    -–
    There! It's done!

    December 6, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  15. predictable

    Oh, my – a another republican critisizing the president.

    What's next? – "The president folds his toilet paper... all americans should be crumplers, folding is socialism."

    Give me a break and start running the country and stop fighting over every thing. It seems the republicans are purposely training not to do anything – then of course, they'll blame it all on the president and democrats.

    December 6, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  16. American Expaat

    Well, the GOP has to find something to disagree about. Thats the norm for them. If it were not that it would be something else!

    December 6, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  17. Robert

    Funny, the generals don't think he complicated matters. They call the announcement of eventual withdrawl a helpful tool...

    It makes a great deal of logic to let the Afghans know they need to step up and can't count on us indefinately...

    Only the republicans have a problem with it... but then, that is their main objective right now, to oppose anything Obama does...

    December 6, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  18. AZ Senior

    Senator Kyl has "complicated matters" ever wsince he was first elected. Is his war experience superior to General Jones'?
    Why could he not be the first republican to not throw the rock?

    December 6, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  19. bmw

    Although I'd rather avoid war, I agree with President Obama's decision to send more troops to clean up the mess in Afghanistan left by the Bush administration. The withdrawal timeline is also necessary to serve notice to Afghanistan that America (a) does not intend to occupy the country, and (b) will only give them 18 more months of our resources.

    December 6, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  20. pkb

    Being from AZ, in all the years I have heard Jon Kyl, not in my memory, have I ever heard him utter an original thought that was his alone. Only in AZ, could he be reelected.

    December 6, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  21. Lynne

    1. The Republicans would never win support from NATO after their arrogance in the invasion of Iraq. President Obama and his team have thoughtfully worked with NATO and Pakistan to plan and execute their strategy.

    2. Where has Kyl been for the past eight years when the commitment from the Republicans to Afghanistan was virtually nil??

    3. It is not up to the Afghan President to dictate American policy but the Commander in Chief of America!!!

    December 6, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  22. Beverly in NC

    I wish Senator Kyl and his Republican grandstanders would announce a date when they will stop trying to obstruct all legislation to restore this nation they destroyed.
    I would like to see Republicans announce a date when they will stop selling their votes to the highest corporate bidder who is openly abusing the American people. The insurance industry has already handed out over $300M to individual Republicans to get them to betray America on healthcare reform.
    I would like to see a date when the Republicans actually will stand up and denounce the hate-spewing Fox nutjobs and the dangerous and racist tea baggers, birthers, and other ignorant lunatics in their Party. Until then they have no credibilty or will get no support from intelligent Americans,
    I would like to see Republicans announce a date when they will have one logical solution, one realistic idea, or will do one thing to benefit the American People. So far this year they have done NOTHING, voted NO on everything and told so many lies they don't even know what the truth is anymore.

    I'd like to announce my anticipated date of Nov 2010 and 2012 when this nation rises up against these Republican traitors and votes the rest out of office. When that date comes, our nation can then quickly return to real American values, get progressive legislation passed without endless Republican game playing to help Americans keep their homes, find jobs in new technology areas, use science to solve climate change and discover cures to illness, and give access to all for the best education so we don't have so many ignorant people who actually believe anything they are told without checking the facts and a nation once again respected, trusted, involved in no fraudulent wars, and back on top in innovation, product creation, and leaders in tolerance and proud of our diversity and have the decency to respect our leaders and unite as nation without so much hate, violence, and lacl of respect for anything.

    I want to hear a date when Republicans decide to become Americans again, work for the People who elected them, actually participate in making our nation a better place for more than rich white people, and find their morality, integrity, and humanity.

    Until then I will never trust a single Republican, anything they say, any motive they have, or vote for a single onr for any public office.

    December 6, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  23. lila

    I don't agree. I think setting a goal line does not harm the mission but rather sets the foundation to achieve success. Success is defined first and foremost by goal setting.

    Goal-setting ideally involves establishing specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-targeted objectives. Work on the theory of goal-setting suggests that it can serve as an effective tool for making progress by ensuring that participants have a clear awareness of what they must do to achieve or help achieve an objective.

    S = Specific
    M = Measurable
    A = Attainable
    R = Realistic
    T = Timely

    December 6, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  24. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    To disagree with President Obama's exit plan is to agree with Karzai who clearly prefers Bush's plan; keep paying him and his so called government that is plagued with corruption and stay forever. Karazi doesn't run the U.S. and it's time he take responsibility and follow our Presidents exit plan. Kyl is only saying what McCain wants him to say because McCain knows it would be bad for him to disagree with the Generals who clearly agree with President Obama.

    December 6, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  25. New Yorker

    Well, what do you expect from a noob?

    December 6, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
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