December 8th, 2009
04:16 PM ET
3 months ago

McChrystal: Finding bin Laden vital to beating al Qaeda

Gen. Stanley McChrystal spoke before members of Congress Tuesday about the outlook in Afghanistan.
Gen. Stanley McChrystal spoke before members of Congress Tuesday about the outlook in Afghanistan.

Washington (CNN) - Finding al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and rolling back a resurgent Taliban are necessary steps toward winning the war in Afghanistan, the top U.S. commander there told a Senate committee Tuesday.

Bin Laden remains at large more than eight years after the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington that triggered the Afghan war, and is widely believed to be hiding along the rugged border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan,
said the world's most wanted terrorist is "an iconic figure" whose survival "emboldens al Qaeda as a franchising organization across the world."

"It would not defeat al Qaeda to have him captured or killed, but I don't think we can finally defeat al Qaeda until he is finally captured or killed," McChrystal told the Senate Armed Services Committee. But he said if bin Laden is hiding across the border, "It is outside of my mandate."

In addition, he said, pushing back the Taliban - which allowed al Qaeda to operate from Afghanistan before 9/11 - is a "prerequisite" for destroying the terrorist network.

"To pursue our core goal of defeating al Qaeda and preventing their return to Afghanistan, we must disrupt and degrade the Taliban's capacity, deny their access to the Afghan population, and strengthen the Afghan security forces," he said.

Full story

Updated: 4:16 p.m.


Filed under: Afghanistan • Stanley McChrystal
soundoff (64 Responses)
  1. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    And what exactly IS the mission?

    December 8, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    I believe we'll be successful if we take away significant ground from the Taliban by the end of 2010.

    December 8, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  3. Carnell From The Motor City!

    He'd Better Find A Way To Be Succesful, General Stanley McChrystals Already Damaged Reputation Depends On It.

    December 8, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  4. Enough

    Well I would hope so. We wouldn't be sending more troops if we didn't think it was the solution.

    December 8, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  5. willard bullock

    i am belived that stanley mc chartstl will not successful in afghanistian maybe untied states will lose what happened about obama presdient

    December 8, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  6. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    How do you define success? For some it is accomplishing the "goal". The waters are too murky in this enterprise to naively believe that we will be 100% successful in our goals. For me success in this endeavor would be defined by bringing everybody home. This is probably why I am NOT employed by the Defense Dept.

    December 8, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  7. George a Cabrera

    It is clear that this issue is going to get most the republicans mad, since, Mr Reid hit them right where it hurts them most. Most of the American´s people know that´ the GOP are working for the Rich, and the Insurance companies and their interest and not for poor.

    December 8, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  8. Hugo

    Yes, and he also believes in Santa...

    Prediction: Taliban will lay low for the next year, let our military leaders think they have done something, (other than wasting US lives) wait for the withdrawl and then launch the take over. Brite side: At least we will have troops on the ground within close proximity for when Israel bombs Iran....

    December 8, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  9. Lauraine

    What else can he say?

    December 8, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  10. Anonymous

    We would be if it weren't for this pathetic administration we have now.

    December 8, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  11. Stop the war

    I wonder how many politicians would be willing to bet their life savings on him being right.

    December 8, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  12. Carlos

    We would if it wasn't for this pathetic administration we have now.

    December 8, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  13. Independent Lilarose, Bandon, Oregon

    Yep, like we were "successful" in Iraq.....they just blew up even more government buildings and people in Iraq.

    December 8, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  14. Big Ed

    Since the General is betting U.S. soldiers lives on this move, is he willing to bet his career?

    December 8, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  15. Fitz in Texas

    Wow, Gen. McChrystal statement sounds like it just came off the Obama teleprompter. Obama must have had a meeting with McChrystal.

    No doubt we will be successful in Afghanistan if the likes of Obama, Kerry, Biden and the rest would leave the military alone to fight this war the way it needs to be fought. In other words, these politicians just need to butt out.

    December 8, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  16. Roger

    I agree with the General, we will succeed. The bad press is why the american public has a negative view...immediatiely after the president spoke the media, between the two that I watched CNN & MSNBC had there so called "war experts" ( I doubt if any have ever served in the military) giving their reasons why the 30,000 troops build up would not work....then they tore apart what the president said about starting to exit in 2011....this blows my mind how the media are experts in so many things, they don't just report they give you their opinion as if they are correct & they know all there is to know about the war (or any subject)

    December 8, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  17. Sniffit

    GOPer talking point options:

    1. This is suddenly not "Obama's War" and Bush should get all the credit.

    2. Even though our initial response to McChrystal's suggestions about troop increases was to claim that Obama should take his advice without any form of review whatsoever and not be "uppity" about it, our new opinion is that McChrystal doesn't know what he's talking about because we'd rather claim that Obama will fail.

    3. Of course he said that...Obama told him to and it's all part of the conspiracy to have the US be led by a Kenyan. Where's his berf surtifikate!!!???

    4. Trizzle-dizzle economizzle y'all!

    5. I'd sleep with Cheney.

    6. All the above.

    December 8, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  18. A Southern Lady in Raleigh

    Fighting in Afghanistan is a great mistake. For centuries the tribal leaders have kept their county in the dark-ages. Uneducated and unwordly, no outside influence can bring this backward country into the present. Ask the French, British and Russians – they all leared this the hard way. We should immediately remove our troops from the entire region. It is said that the "bad guys" will move back in when we leave. This is true – they will always move back in when any foreign army leaves. This will happen if we stay one year, five years or twenty years. Only reform on the level needed can come from the Afghanians themselves and they are too happy with their corrupt country to want a change. This area is not worth one drop of American blood. Bring our troops home and send Bush and Cheney to negoiate or fight – they are the ones that got us into this mess.

    December 8, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  19. Terry from West Texas

    It makes sense for Obama to support a policy that our generals also support.

    Conservatives, of course, are pursuing the Goldilocks strategy in their response to this Administrations actions. Everything Obama does is too late, too soon, too big, too little, too intrusive, too timid, too strong, too weak, or too much. If Obama wears green pajamas, Conservatives say that tan is the better color. If he orders pork chops for lunch, Conservatives say he is supporting the spread of swine flu. If he tells his daughter to wear a warmer coat, Conservatives say that government is taking away our freedoms. If Obama gives his wife a friendly pat on the caboose, Conservatives say that he is a wife abuser.

    Conservatism: knock it down and stomp it 'til its dead.
    Conservatives: Deprogram them.

    December 8, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  20. John Starnes Tampa Florida

    "Successful" in invading and occupying a country then installing a puppet government there in order to control their oil and natural gas? When the Soviets tried it the US called it a international crime! We do it and it is "protecting democracy and America's interests". Karzai was an oil industry analyst on the CIA payroll installed by the Bush regime who just "won" re-election via a tampered with election.....just like Bush. And the Afghan people, thousands of whom having been killed by the invasion, are supposed to accept this occupation, just as the people of Gaza and Palestine are supposed to? "Beacon of freedom in the world" ? What raw murderous hypocrisy.

    December 8, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  21. DOG1

    Yeah, like we won in Iraq...........oh wait a minute, there was a what in Baghdad today..............never mind.

    December 8, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  22. Chanel

    Can Americans just support their troops already and stop all this "we can't" talk? If the President gives a mission, AND the generals are saying they can do it, why are there so many political pundits saying it's not possible? I think that they know a little more about what can and cannot be done than any political pundit.

    December 8, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  23. manhandler

    How did we possibly allow warmongers in the military and their lackeys in the Congress and the White House, ever take control of our good country? Last I looked, this country's military is SUPPOSED to be under CIVILIAN control. These people have gained control of our precious resources that we so desperately need here and are using them to reak havoc and cause death and destruction across the world. Where is a leader who has the guts to stand these people down before our country is ruined?

    December 8, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  24. SocialismBad

    I hope he's right. I just wish Obama had given him what he asked for and not wasted 3 months to nickel and dime the general about 5,000 troops.

    If Obama believes this is the war we should have been fighting all along then he and the other Democrats need to get out of the way of the generals and let them fight it to win it.

    December 8, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  25. Obama 2.0

    We will be, Bush, Cheney & Rumsfeld have nothing to do with it :)

    December 8, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
1 2 3