August 23rd, 2009
12:32 PM ET
14 years ago

Republican: Obama must lead on Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said Sunday that President Obama has not articulated a clear vision of the United States mission in Afghanistan. Sen. Richard Lugar added that once Obama’s top military officer in the country completes an assessment of troop levels, the president needs to assert leadership to get the American mission on the right path.

CNN Chief National Correspondent John King asked whether Obama has explained to the American people what the U.S. strategy is in the war-torn country. Lugar bluntly replied “No. And I think everyone waits for Gen. [Stanley] McChrystal to give, really, the outline of where we’re headed – how many troops and whatever else is going to be required.”

Citing recent polling suggesting the public is beginning to tire of the war in Afghanistan, Lugar had a bit of advice for Obama.

“The president really has to face the fact that his own leadership here is critical. He really can’t just leave this to the Congress, to Gen. McChrystal and say ‘folks, discuss this’ after the report comes in.”

Maryland Democrat Sen. Ben Cardin, who also sits on the Foreign Relations Committee, rejected the notion that Obama has not stated a mission in Afghanistan.

“Clearly the president is defining our mission to go after the terrorists,” Cardin said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. “We didn’t choose this war. They attacked us. We need to make sure that Afghanistan – and, quite frankly, the border with Pakistan – is not a safe haven for terrorists. That should be our objective and we now need to know as far as resources to accomplish that mission.”

Connecticut Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman, formerly a Democrat, disagreed with Lugar. “I think Obama has been strong and clear on Afghanistan,” Lieberman told King. “The president came in and basically recommitted to what he had said during the campaign last year – that his was a war of necessity, that we were struck from Afghanistan when the Taliban was in charge on September 11, 2001, and we can’t let the Taliban come back.”

Lieberman, who recently returned from a visit to Afghanistan with several other senators, also said Sunday it was clear Gen. McChrystal would be seeking additional troops on top of the additional 21,000 Obama has already authorized and which are starting to arrive in country.

Lieberman, who supported Republican Sen. John McCain during last year’s White House race, said he had not seen any political pressure on McChrystal not to request a significant number of additional forces for Afghanistan.

soundoff (109 Responses)
  1. Texas Teacher

    Bush left Iraq high and dry.... my friend, when he started a war with the wrong country for his own personal reasons!! And who spoke first then.... Republicans OR Democrats.... act without regard or knowledge... JUST ACT was the cry of the day!

    There is no answer to a war that never should have been... bin Laden was the so called enemy of the state... they were able to find Hussein in a rat hole... and they could not find bin Laden. Pardon me for being a cynic. I don't know what the answer is to waring in the Middle East... I leave that to military minds.... but I darned sure question all the republican criticism of Barack Obama NOW! Where was this righteous indignation the past 8 years Bush was in office???

    August 23, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  2. Pat-Indy

    LOL @ the Dems trying to bash :Lugar here. Remember when Obama basically bragged about working with him for months back in 2008? Now all of the sudden hes scum just because he doesn't support the Holy Messiah. For the record, Lugar is pretty moderate, and he's viewed as one of the best, if not, arguably the best Senator in Washington. HE KNOWS WHAT HE'S TALKING ABOUT, and hes right.

    August 23, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  3. annie for Palin

    NO foreign country respects our current administration!!

    August 23, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  4. The Real Issue

    My Fellow Americans: The Real Issue is about Afghanistan and tearing down terrorist camps. It's also about Iraq. But the Iraq people have to begin to run their own country. We cannot nor should we want our soldiers in a country for decades maintaining absolute security.

    Unfortunately, the latest bombing was terrible. The Iraq people have to take control and do whatever it takes to maintain a country of laws.

    August 23, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  5. Farrell in Houston

    Lies and deceit by our Government led to this war. Those who profited from this war realized if they captured bin Laden there was no profit to be made by them. Bin Laden was Bush/Cheney/Haliburton/Blackwater and others, golden goose.

    August 23, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  6. Bob of Lompoc

    Lugar is a Republican with credibility. Lieberman ? Ha !

    August 23, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  7. J. L. W.

    Obama is the captain of the ship and he has not shown the leadership
    on this issue, health care or the economic crises. The majority of legislators we have today are incompetent and unable to handle the
    problems the U.S. has. Where is the leadership in the U.S.?

    August 23, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  8. ellen

    State of the Union – What a show!

    Marketing research, CNN, marketing research.

    August 23, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
1 2 3 4 5