September 17th, 2009
11:33 AM ET
11 years ago

Biden: Too soon to say if more troops needed in Afghanistan

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="It's too early to say whether more troops are needed for Afghanistan, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday."]

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) - It's too early to say whether more troops are needed for Afghanistan, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday, days after the top U.S. military officer said more forces are probably needed in order to effectively fight the insurgency.

"I think that's premature," Biden told CNN's Chris Lawrence in Baghdad, Iraq, while the vice president was on a brief trip there. "The president made a decision back in March setting clearly what our goal was - (it) is to defeat al Qaeda in that region - and made a significant deployment of resources, civilian and military. They're now only getting in place; they're not all fully in place and deployed."

Biden said a reevaluation of resources in Afghanistan should only happen after the result of last month's presidential election in Afghanistan is
cleared up. There are widespread allegations of massive fraud in the August 20 vote.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai secured more than 54 percent of the vote, according to the final uncertified results announced Wednesday. But the results won't be certified until investigations of election irregularities are completed.

The Afghan people must feel they have a legitimate government, because "the prospect of success is in direct proportion to the legitimacy of the government," Biden said. "And I still think that is very possible, but it is not done yet."

Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told U.S. senators this week he wants a "fully resourced counterinsurgency" in
Afghanistan. The Afghan people are waiting on the sidelines to see how committed the United States is, he said.

"A properly resourced counterinsurgency probably means more forces," Mullen said, but how those forces will be composed in terms of combat troops and trainers will be a matter for discussion in the coming weeks.

"I have a sense of urgency about this. I worry a great deal the clock is moving very rapidly," he said.

Biden pointed out there has been no formal request for additional troops in Afghanistan, a decision that can only be made once the election outcome is determined and the present troops are in place.

"There's a lot of discussion going on, there's a lot of hypotheticals being raised by all of us," Biden said. "But as the president said, a decision
on resources is not imminent - additional resources."

Biden spoke to CNN the same day that the United States was announcing it would scrap the controversial missile defense shield in Eastern Europe. He explained the logic of the decision, saying Iran - a key concern for the United States - was not a threat.

"I think we are fully capable and secure dealing with any present or future potential Iranian threat," Biden said. The Iranians "have no potential
at this moment. They have no capacity to launch a missile at the United States of America."

The concern for the United States and its allies with Iran right now is whether they develop and deploy a nuclear capability, because that could set off a destabilizing arms race in the Middle East, Biden said.

The vice president closed the interview by addressing the controversial remark by former President Jimmy Carter, who said he believes racism is an issue for President Barack Obama in trying to lead the country.

Carter's initial comments came after Rep. Joe Wilson interrupted Obama's speech on health care to a joint session of Congress by shouting that the president was lying.

Biden acknowledged it is an "incredibly controversial issue" but said Obama doesn't see it the way Carter does.

"The president does not believe, nor do I believe, it's racially based," Biden said.

Filed under: Afghanistan • Joe Biden
soundoff (58 Responses)
  1. Tom in Delaware

    Thanks for your opinion General, is there anyone in the country that needs more convicing that we absolutely need more troops?

    September 17, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  2. Oh I'm a LIB

    Lets ask the Russians and let them make the call.

    September 17, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  3. Nagudcm Sugna

    Too soon = not before the ObamaCare. We don't want to get everyone mad at Barack before the vote.

    September 17, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  4. victim of republican greed

    After watching Bush lead by the seat of his pants for 8 long years, and getting us into an unnecessary war with people that did not like us, but with a country not responsible for 9/11, it is now that all you wingnuts want everything that Bush could not do in 8 years to be done in less than 9 months.

    September 17, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  5. RNC = DNC = politics as usual

    Can Biden explain why we are carrying out assassinations in Somalia when we are not at war with that country?

    What was the Obama Change again? I thought it had something to do with Peace – now Afghanistan is his Viet Nam.

    September 17, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  6. victim of republican greed

    It would be better to wait until we know if the Afghan government is legitimate. As they used to say on 'Kung Fu', be patient wingnut grasshoppers.

    September 17, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  7. victim of republican greed

    I am amazed at the continual attempts by the wingnuts to discredit our president. You have to admit, there have been successes against the terrorists.

    September 17, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  8. victim of republican greed

    When will you wingnuts realize that even if a voter registration card for Mickey Mouse showed up, Mickey could not vote without the proper identification. There are a dozen safeguards to make sure that only the real Mickey would vote. You continue to bluster the anti ACORN hate from Bill O on Fox entertainment.

    The difficulties this nation faces have been created by your republican heroes too, not just democrats.

    September 17, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  9. victim of republican greed

    Republicans continue to want to start and wage war whether it involves national security or not.

    September 17, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  10. john

    Hey Biden, our top general just asked for 40,000 more troops, since he is there everyday I think he knows better than you. What do you mean it is to early to tell if more troops are needed, our general just asked for more. American boys are being killed everyday over there and our president is spending millions to try and force americans to pay for illegal immigrants free health care. Like I said american boys are being killed everyday over there and our president cares more about giving free health care to illegals.

    September 17, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  11. Roger

    Seven years. yea thats way too soon to be able to tell anything. God help us all.

    September 17, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  12. victim of republican greed

    Why is it that the wingnuts have become the domestic terrorists, much like McCarthy in the 1950's?

    September 17, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  13. debra

    Lovely when we desert out allies and also when a crazy twisted cheese doodle like Biden's opinion matters more than generals who actually have experience fighting

    September 17, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  14. victim of republican greed

    I vacationed near a base, and it was good to see the increased number of passenger planes flying Iraq veterans home.

    September 17, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  15. Ancient Texan

    The Vice Wimp -in-Chief is undecided about what's needed? Surprise! Surprise! Just don't say anything, Joe. That way you won't trigger any major world wide confrontations.

    September 17, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  16. Karen - Missouri

    I say just let the politicians and military experts do their jobs instead of the nut-jobs in arm-chairs in front of the boob-tube who think they know best. We voted people into office, now it's time for them to work ( the Republicans never work just whine), but NONE of us know the whole story...we are not the ones who are in meetings every day. Voice opinion is one thing...the constant know-it-all of the public is really getting irritating.

    September 17, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  17. Matt

    "Clueless" Joe is at it again. If he says it is too soon to think about it then you can bet it is long overdue and late already. This idiot is the best insurance policy Obama has.

    September 17, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  18. Dan, WA

    These guys cannot decide anything. No wonder they says that they world citizens. They do not ahve US interest in tehir hearts. Imagine Barack Obama has gone so far to scrap European defense shield. What a joker. This is what happens when we elecvt such raw hands. They do not know what they are doing. A bunch of jokers and we have elected them in last November seeking CHANGE. More to come, my friends.

    September 17, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  19. yuri

    But McChryatal and Mullins are mouthin' their opinions otherwise. They seem to favor more men on the ground.

    September 17, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  20. Liar, liar, the admins on fire

    Last time I checked nitwit, the generals have said WE NEED MORE TROOPS or is that thought process "above your paygrade"?

    The coward in chief uh, uh, uh, uh needs to look at the uh, uh, uh, uh pols to decide what is best POLITICALLY for him as the "never wore a uniform" coward knows NOTHING about the military and when the generals give him uh, uh, uh advice he ignores it.

    How'd that the "surge will never work" comment turn out coward?

    My bad, your never wrong, Bush was WRONG about the surge despite it's success.

    Lame duck already, just ask the CZECHS how much they "love us" right now or Poland?

    September 17, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  21. Kate in San Diego

    We don't need more troops – we need to get out and let that country go where it wants to, which appears to be back to the stone age. They are no threat to us. This so called war in afghanistan has not brought us any closer to stamping out terrorism and it is not keeping us safer. And we will never be "fighting them over here." This war is a waste of American lives. The second those people get a "democracy" they will vote themselves right into a theocracy. That is how they choose to live. We can't stop it with military force. Bring our troops home!!!!!!!!

    September 17, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  22. Tony

    The ON GROUND COMMANDERS said SEND MORE> Do you need someone to clean the Liberal Wax out of your ears?????

    But then again we are talking about Biden.

    September 17, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  23. Cynthia

    Well listen to all the haters, you didn't complain when W was running things into the ground with this war and things at home. You clowns are just trying to find any and everything to sit back complain about what a bunch of idiots.

    September 17, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  24. Burns NH

    Our military leaders on the ground have said they need more troops,
    what we have there are bogged down in winning the hearts and minds,while the Taliban gain more foot holds in the country. Time to
    let our military do what they are trained to do. Basic truth is that when
    we send our forces to war we have to let them do it to win and not
    have our leaders drive from the backseat.

    September 17, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |

    Biden – you and the prez should read some of the obituaries.
    There is your reason to PULL OUT.
    More of our young men dying. AND FOR WHAT? We need our young men here on AMERICAN SOIL. Not in some foreign land where they could care less for our help. We fought to be a nation where certain rights were OUR RIGHT and we need them here to guarentee we maintain those rights for them as well as the rest of us, our families and future generations. We have SO MANY SELF-SERVING POLITICIANS at present that it seems no one cares for the rights of individuals and these politicians have lost sight of the what and why of the military. IT'S – TO SERVE AND PROTECT us the U S of A.

    September 17, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
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