October 4th, 2009
11:20 AM ET
13 years ago

Jones questions McChrystal's tactics in pushing for more troops

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/04/art.jones2shot1004.cnn.jpg caption="Obama National Security Adviser and retired general James Jones told CNN's John King Sunday that it's better for military advice to come up through the chain of command."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Obama’s national security adviser walked a fine line Sunday when asked about Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s public comments about requiring more troops for Afghanistan.

McChrystal, the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, has been recently outspoken in his belief that the White House should pursue a broad counterinsurgency strategy which could likely require the addition of as many as 40,000 more troops to the country. At the other end of the spectrum, Vice President Biden is reportedly advocating a narrower counterterrorism strategy that would likely not require additional troops and would focus on battling al Qaeda through drone attacks.

Speaking in London Thursday, McChrystal said he believes the situation in Afghanistan is serious and deteriorating. McChrystal suggested that focusing on al Qaeda, Biden's proposed strategy, would not be enough.

"I absolutely believe that al Qaeda and the threat of al Qaeda and Taliban senior leadership are critical to stability in the region," McChrystal said in a speech to London's International Institute for Strategic Studies. "But I also believe that a strategy that does not leave Afghanistan in a stable position is probably a shortsighted strategy."

Sunday on CNN's State of the Union, U.S. national security adviser Jim Jones, a retired Marine Corps general, said, “Ideally, it’s better for military advice to come up through the chain of command.” Jones added that he thought McChrystal and others in the chain of command would present Obama with “a range of options.”

Asked whether McChrystal should stay on as the top military commander in Afghanistan if Obama decides not accept McChrystal’s recommended approach, Jones described that as a “hypothetical” situation.

“I shouldn’t judge what Gen. McChrystal is going to do or not do,” James told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, “I’m absolutely convinced that Gen. McChrystal is in it for the long haul.”

soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. offwallst

    Do you liberals have any shame??
    well you will in 2010 and 2012..

    you can forget about seeing a democrat in the white house for at least 20 years....

    October 4, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  2. renee

    what I want to know is who leaked the report and what is this person's relationship with the republicans????????

    October 4, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  3. wgara

    First, any and all White House advisers that appear on talk shows and discuss the Afghanistan situation should be transferred there for the duration of the Obama presidency with the rank, pay and privileges of a PFC. I don't think Biden would make a good PFC and he's not an adviser so he can be left in place as chief strategist.
    Second, MacChrystal seems to have proceeded exactly as per his orders and as an earlier poster pointed out, the White House has not moved with alacrity on his recommendations. I'm glad he got his fourth star before they pull the rug out from under him. Afghanistan is a tough nut, but they knew that in March when they decided to send about 30000 Marines over there. If we're now going to re-evaluate that decision, I suspect that Afghanistan will be irretrievably lost between now and decision day. Withal, it's time to hustle on this strategy – troops are dying while these meetings/reviews are taking place (assuming there's any forward motion at all). Very sad.

    October 4, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  4. Fed Up

    Seems that McChrystal has the troops well-being in mind, as well as our national security. I have reservations about the others.

    October 4, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  5. offwallst

    Hey CNN:
    Some advise start considering refreshing your journalism skills ...your viewship is SHRINKING..AMERICANS know where to go for real news..

    60-70% of America is conservative or moderate...and

    Michael Moore movie BOMBED!!!!

    A silver lining to this election :you have revived the conservative movement

    October 4, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  6. lol

    problem is obama ran on making this his war...he better just pick a strategy or something soon...maybe he should ask oprah...seems to listen to her more than biden...

    October 4, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  7. Keith in Austin

    Barry ACORN hand selected McChrystal! He did not confer with him for months thereafter. His response this week was the result of strong concern voiced by the public. Jones's opinions are opinions only! Listen to the General YOU appointed NoBama and not your left-wing progressive friends. The security of the Nation rests in your decision!

    October 4, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  8. N Holland

    When are people going to realize that Obama is the President and Bush is no longer.. Quit blaming Bush and enforce your "Change" already!

    We haven't seen it yet!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 4, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  9. N Holland

    BTW.. there is NOTHING wrong w/ Fox News. Truth hurts, doesn't it?

    October 4, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  10. B

    There is NO victory in trying to change that part of the world as the Russians found out, and their predecessors.

    We seem to have this endless notion of nothing less than Victory -- !

    There is no such thing in religious issues two thousand plus years old.

    We are spending trillions of dollars and wasting lives on a Black hole..
    Money that we don’t even have, this country is BROKE. The Chinese Own our Butts people.. Endless John Wayne mindset.

    October 4, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  11. JR

    I see the neo-whiners are out in force, so I'll just answer a couple of your whinings:

    The economy is improving and no one ever said that unemployment wouldn't grow, it's always is the last to improve after a recession and I would remind you cons that the rate was over 7.6% when Obama took office.

    As you fools defending Bush and blaming Obama for Afghanistan, who screwed up the war there in the first place, BUSH, who set the current leadership in place, BUSH, maybe you should wait till Obama decides what HE'S going to do before trashing his plans.

    October 4, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  12. Jerry

    For the sake of being fair we should ask Biden;s son that just came back from the war what he thinks. Surely it will be a not fun thanksgiving day dinner at their house. Impeach Obama now and beat the rush.

    October 4, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  13. Don

    It seems that with this administration, the military does not really believe in the "chain of command" moving up, being able to overcome the "chain of politics" pushing back in a clueless fashion from the top.

    October 4, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  14. Lori, Houston Texas

    Afghanistan should have been dealt with properly in 2003/4. We had the Taliban on the run away from the cities, Bin Laden headed north towards Pakistan and they all have been in the general areas of Warazistan ever since. But, if anyone remembers, Bush took troops out of Afghanistan to fight AlQueda in Iraq. That is when we lost control of Afghanistan. We can't get that control back now. It was a missed opportunity thanks to a bad decision. History has shown fighting the Afghanis is a difficult endeavor. It would be a 10-20 year fight that we cannot afford right now. Our military needs a rest. However, we CAN go after Bin Laden, Al Queda and some Taliban in the Warazistan area. And with a little deplomacy, Pakistan will agree to let us do so. We need to get out of Iraq now, go after bin Laden, and let Aghanistan heal itself at this point.

    One other thing. For everyone who believes we must continue the fight in region, I suggest you 1) enlist today or 2) volunteer. Our beloved troops who are coming home after 3,4,5 tours of duty, and their familes, need our help. Visit the VA hospitals, support the USO, find an organization that helps the homeless/lost heros of out country. To do any less should shame you.

    October 4, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  15. Frank Switaj

    Obama's only accomplishment thus far has been to very convincingly make President George Bush look good.

    October 4, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  16. Nea

    All of you that are pushing for more troops so quickly without reconsidering an stratergy, why dont you and the Republicans go and sign-up for the military then ask then to send you in Afghanistan to fight in the war, This President is doing the right thing because he is thinking not about himself he is thinking about families of those military men and womens. I PRAY FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA THAT HE WILL MAKE THE RIGHT DECISION WHETHER ITS POPULAR OR NOT BECAUSE BELIEVE ME HE WILL GET CRITICIZE ANYWAY. GOD BLESS HIM AND HIS ADMINISTRATION!

    October 4, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  17. mickeymatla

    Dear Think Again.
    What Syracuse reported was in news casts and in major newspapers and the reported by the AP. I guess you have just revealed that you do not read many news sources. And one other thing-"Fox News" is not an argument.

    October 4, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  18. No Hillary = No Obama

    This is going to be a drawn out bungling, flip-flopping debacle because Obama does not know what he is doing, but keeps pretending he does. And while these people sit around and chew the strategy, 8 more soldiers were killed.

    October 4, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  19. Peace Out!!

    @Obama's failures are piling up and up!! October 4th, 2009 12:38 pm ET– While his failure with Chicago hosting the Olympics is a little more than an embarrassment ***You are Beyond Repair***

    October 4, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  20. wizboman

    We'd be fools to follow anything Biden recommends re foreign policy. He is WEFT (wrong every freakin tme) on these issues. I cite Nam, Sandinistas, SDI, Desert Storm, the surge in Iraq to name a few. When it comes to Biden and pol-mil issues it is best to take the opposite (contrarian) of what Biden recommends.

    October 4, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    To all you Obama watchers! You are the same people that put Bush in the chair for 8 longgggg years! You or should i say We all knew that His Family mwas in the Oil business! Everything that him an his cronies did was Raping the Whole Country! Gas prices shot out of the roof! They plunged us into a war that couldn,t be won!! YYYooouuu Allowed all of this !! And Now you want to talk about Obama!!! He Inharited all of this from Bush an you people that kept him in the chair!! By the way! no Country has went into Afganstan an won a thing ! From back in the 40s up to now!

    October 4, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  22. Kevin McGee

    Who is this world with any sense would care to openly discuss military strategic direction. Why American media and so-called journalists would spin critical discussions openly in the press in the name of freedom of speech is beyond understanding.

    Just who are these people supporting anyway?

    October 4, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  23. étranger

    To the nincompoop who calls himself, "Obama's failures":

    It was a conservative Republican president who put troops into Afghanistan nine years ago, botching the hunt for Osama and condemning the United States to repeat the journey into a quagmire that wrecked havoc upon Alexander's army to the Soviet's. It was a conservative republican president and his near conservative dictatorship in both houses that imposed Reaganomics full-tilt, bringing the US to a near second Depression. You slur a man of intelligence as an "intellectual elitist" in putative support of the anti-intellectual dimwits, i.e., the past conservative Republican president and his idiotic trolls, responsible for the gravest geopolitical and economic crises the Republic has faced in decades, a combined crises that will take years, if not decades, to extricate ourselves if we have the best leadership imaginable.

    As for the notion that the "SURGE" has produced a "victory" in Iraq, the utter idiocy of this lie is revealed when we contrast this claim to what the war was supposed to produce:

    1) a cost of "only" 60 billion dollars: FAILURE
    2) elimination of WMD: LIE
    3) end of Iran's nuclear ambition: UTTER FAILURE
    4) end of North Korea's nuclear ambition: UTTER FAILURE
    5) spread of democracy throughout the middle-east: UTTER FAILURE
    6) key to resolving Palestinian-Israeli conflict: BITTER FAILURE.

    There's your "surge" results: ABJECT FAILURE.

    October 4, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  24. Some guy in the military serving in Iraq

    Look, first we have to define what win or lose means. Something Bush/Cheney never did. All these right wing nuts keep saying catchy phrases that the left wants to lose because the President doesn't bow to his General's every decision. General Custer had a plan too. What is the end state goal??? Are we going to continue to fight until Afghans embrace pop culture, buy tons of American goods, and work for American companies at low low wages? The GOP only wants a surge in Afghanistan so they can help their buddies KBR, L-3, Raytheon, Xe, and Halliburton. I'd like to thank the GOP for exploiting us soldiers to help line their campaign funds. President Obama, take your time, get the decision right, and bring us home when the job is done. In the meantime, I'll continue to serve and enjoy my (evil) GOVERNMENT run health care.

    October 4, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  25. maria

    The general has no business speaking out in the
    media. Any concerns should go directly to his superior.
    He should remember what happend to Gen. MacArthur.

    October 4, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
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