September 22nd, 2009
06:27 PM ET
11 years ago

McCain blasts 'disconnect' between WH and military leaders

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Sen. John McCain said he has never seen such a 'disconnect' between the White House and U.S. military leaders."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. John McCain questioned the Obama administration's approach in Afghanistan Tuesday, saying he has never seen such a "disconnect" between the White House and leaders of the U.S. military.

"Apparently the administration does not want Gen. McCrystal's recommendations on troop strengths," McCain said at a Foreign Policy Initiative event in Washington. "If you don't have a recommendation on the troop levels that will be necessary to implement a strategy, then how do you decide on the strategy? "

"...Every day that goes by if you are not pursuing a strategy for success and implementing it as quickly as possible it puts young Americans lives in more danger," said McCain, the ranking Republican member on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

In a sign that President Obama may be facing growing skepticism within his own party on Afghanistan, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer Tuesday joined the call made by several top Republicans on Capitol Hill, including McCain, for McChrystal to brief Congress on his recommendations for revising U.S military strategy.

Asked about speculation Gen. McCrystal is considering resignation, McCain said Tuesday the general doesn't have many options.

"(Generals) really have two choices," McCain said. "Carry out orders, or resign."

"...(but) I don't think that right now Gen. McCrystal is contemplating resignation or non-resignation…he's got his hands full," McCain said, repeating his calls for the general to return to Washington to testify before Congress.

Filed under: Afghanistan • John McCain • President Obama
soundoff (231 Responses)
  1. Dean

    Mr. Bomb bomb bomb Iran speaks. Just think if he were president now we would be at war with Iran, and North Korea too way to go Maverick.

    September 22, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  2. dennisk

    We all remember how McCain supported Bush's foray into Iraq. So McCain's military acumen is pretty easy to discern, n'est-ce pas?

    September 22, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    Idiocy. Obama just received additional reports from Gates and others AFTER the report from McChrystal. Obama's job is not to answer the opinion of just ONE military commander saying "I wantz mo' troopz!!!" with a thoughtless "ok, you can haz mo' troopz!!!" If he did that, the same people claiming right now that he's dragging his feet would instead be claiming that he sends our young ones off to die willy-nilly (like someone else I won't mention). This is political wrangling at its worst. The issue is whether to send our soldiers into this kind of danger. You don't jump on a position based the opinion of ONE military leader. These idiots do that and then dig in their heels because they don't want to lose face even when additional opinions and evidence come out indicating their initial position was wrong. That's not how we should protect our interests or make appropriate decisions about whether our soldiers get put in harm's way.

    September 22, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  4. Lee Bartholomew

    o_O uh aren't we following the advice of generals on the ground? Bush on the other hand deleted generals on the ground that didn't agree with him.

    September 22, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  5. Wes

    What an old coot McCain is. He's disgruntled, old and totally out-of-touch. Give it up old man.

    September 22, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  6. Jeff in Sims, NC

    Neo-Cons or Democrats, Right Wing Nuts or Socialists? Methinks we needed more choices. One is just as bad as the other only in completely different areas and when you combine the inept bunch of corrupt leaders(?) we are really screwed.

    September 22, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  7. Johnnieg

    Old guy trying to do a young mans job!!

    September 22, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  8. Jack A. Sariego

    I was an AF Intelligence officer in Korea! Obviously, we have learned nothing about warfare since Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and now Afghanistan!

    Have we forgotten that Russia had to leave the country with their tail between their legs? What makes us think that we can fight a war without killing, diplomacy without objectives, and bomb strikes without killing people? Nope, Guess history is repeating itself again!

    September 22, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  9. LouAz

    A two-star General gives his assessment to his Commander, a four-star General, who hands it up, thru the Joint Chiefs, to the Commander in Chief, the POTUS. How this has all become daily news for each and every soldier wannabe to evaluate and pass judgement about is crazy. McCain was a US Navy fighter pilot, a brave and courageous one at that, and is no more qualified to approve or disapprove than is any other "Common Soldier" that has served his country. It is NOT his call, and he knows it.

    Whoever leaked this "story" of McCrystals assessment, should be fired if he is a civilian, and reprimanded at the least if he is a soldier. We need to get the newsboy out of the war room !

    September 22, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  10. Brian

    There is reason why McCain is not president.

    September 22, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  11. Blake Southwood

    For once I agree with McCaine.

    September 22, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  12. Patriot

    If McCain is so interested in a successful Afghanistan strategy, where was he when Bush and Cheney were pre-occupied with Iraq at the expense of capturing Bin Laden?

    I used to respect McCain, but last year's campaign and his actions since have proven him to be partisan and mean-spirited, determined to tear down the President of The United States.

    Just like the rest of his treasonous, self-serving, corporate-owned party.

    September 22, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  13. Harold

    This is the same guy last week who got on Obama for taking the Joint Chief of Staffs recommendation to discontinue the missile defense system which didn't work. I am sick and tried of Republicans taking the opposite of Obama when they contradict themselves on every issue. Guess he needed to be heard given he wasn't at the recent event which had all the Republican big shots. Given me a break!!!

    September 22, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  14. Johnnieg

    Does this guy read these comments? Gosh I hope so .

    September 22, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  15. Mike In CL

    In the discussion on NPR this morning on this subject and the General's recommendations took me back to the Viet Nam discussions in 1963 and 1963. Same situation – same kind of war – same approach from the military. Send more troops!. The president is right to question the strategy. McCain needs to get behind the president and not be a blind supporter of every request by the military.

    September 22, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  16. KE

    I think the terrorists are the bad guys people. Listen to yourselves!

    The war in Afghanistan is not wanted it is needed! Anyone who thinks diffently and challenges those who risk their lives fighting for their country and battling with those in Washington over these issues need to re educate themselves.

    September 22, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  17. Tyler

    Hey all anti war responses just a reminder. You say your against war and your right war isnt fun but, on september 11th afghanistan attacked our country and im for hunting down who did it and bring justice to them. So you go to youtube and watch the collapse of the twin towers and the tragedy that happened.

    September 22, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  18. bob in LA

    2972 people died in the WTC attacks in 2001. Over 5000 American have died since in our "revenge" war and nealy 100,000 total peopl ehave died on all sides from all countries.
    We have spent Trillions of dollars and never really went after the people that caused the attack and Obama is disconnected?
    Republicans scream we haven't had an attack on this soil since 2001 and say that is because of the past administrations policy.( they don;t need to kill us here- we went to them!)
    We only had one attack during the Clinton administration but his response did not cost us trillions and kill ten of thousands more.
    Whose disconnected?
    How do these poeple say these things with a straight face?

    September 22, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  19. Larry Mason

    I listened to an excellent interview done by Nat'l Public Radio with Secretary of State Clinton yesterday. The interviewer pressed her hard and repeatedly on this report. She handled it and herself extremely well One key point she made over and over is that the military aspect of the struggle in Afghanistan is only ONE aspect of the complete strategy that must be developed to achieve the US's goals. The Obama administration is going to go at this slowly and steadily, looking at the entire situation. I'm afraid that Mr. McCain's view is typically narrow; we all recall his ingenious strategy for dealing with Iran...namely, bomb bomb Iran. It ain't that simple, John.

    September 22, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  20. marty

    I think McCain did not "hear" what the President said. He said he wanted to see what was going on with the disputed elections in that country first. Hum, perhaps that means he is connected and understands that because of the electoral problems, more troops would mean more of our sons and daughters would die in vain.

    To the posted who said the President promised to bring home the troops during the election, let me correct you. He said troops in Iraq, and if you will go back and check, he did. He left only small group of them there as a stableizing factor. Come on people, in 8 months, the man had tried to keep his word, be concern about all of us. Wow, is that bad? McCain is so out of touch with reality that he really should resign.

    September 22, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  21. KM

    I wish we would just pull out and go home. I think that the President only have two options to the increase troop levels that Gen. McCrystal recommended:

    1) Provide the additional troops, but he cannot do this on his own, it must be approved by congress.

    2) Keep the levels as they are and change the mission to go along with current troop levels.

    Just because a military leader suggest or recommend a certain action, does not make it the only option. The President have to make a decision but not just on how many troops will be Afghanistan but what is the role of those troops in Afghanistan.

    September 22, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  22. T

    The POTUS' disconnect with troop strength and strategy could be another reason he intends to make US Service members pay for their own health care, apparently a fact he doesn't want anyone to question.

    September 22, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    Soooo, can we blast the GOP for its disconnect from fact-based reality?

    September 22, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  24. Citizen

    McCain is seriously out of touch with the realities of leadership in our nation today. He is living in a bygone era. President Obama and his administrative are totally in control of military leadership and military-national defense decisions, as well as accountability to the people of the United States, rather than to the media, the only party to which McCain is accountable.

    September 22, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  25. Joe C

    Here is one thing the Liberal Press and the left wing radicals will NEVER admit or ALLOW In a conversation.

    FACT: Bush protected us for EIGHT years after most were SURE it would be a matter of months before we were attacked again. FUNNY how the answer to Bush keeping us safe is HATRED from the left. So here is my question to you: Let us just see HOW long Obama can keep us safe??

    Get back to me in four or Yikes! Eight years.

    September 22, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
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