October 6th, 2009
06:21 PM ET
12 years ago

GOP urges quick decision on Afghanistan after talks with Obama

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/06/art.afghanistan.gi-1.jpg caption="GOP urges quick decision on Afghanistan after talks with Obama."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Leading Republicans urged President Barack Obama to make a swift decision in favor of more U.S. troops for the war in Afghanistan after talks between the president and congressional leaders Tuesday.

Obama faces an expected request for thousands of more U.S. troops from Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan. He had leading members of Congress from both parties over to the White House on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the future of the war, which turns 8 years old Wednesday.

"Obviously, there are many of us who feel that delay does signal uncertainty to the region," Rep. Eric Cantor, the House minority whip, told CNN's "The Situation Room."

Cantor, of Virginia, said Republicans would support Obama if he agrees to send more troops into the conflict. But "If the president chooses to go a different route, you know, it is obviously going to be tough for us," he said.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, told reporters after the meeting that "everyone - Democrats and Republicans - said, whatever decision you make, we'll support it, basically." But he expressed skepticism about Republican pledges of support, saying "It will be interesting to see if their actions follow their words."

U.S. forces launched the invasion of Afghanistan on October 7, 2001, in response to the al Qaeda terrorist network's attacks on New York and Washington on September 11.

Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden escaped the U.S. onslaught and remains a fugitive. Now the U.S.-led coalition is battling a resurgence of the Taliban, the Islamic militia that allowed al Qaeda to operate from its territory before the attacks and is trying to return to power.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates acknowledged Monday that Taliban fighters "have the momentum right now," blaming a shortage of U.S. and allied troops over the past seven years for the development. The war has claimed the lives of 865 Americans and 570 allied troops to date, and U.S. public support for the conflict has slipped sharply in the past two years.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, told reporters after the White House talks that Obama has "a difficult decision" before him, but offered no overt pledge of support for more troops.

"Whether we agree with it or vote for it remains to be seen when we see what the president puts forth," she said.

But Sen. John McCain, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said, "It's pretty clear that time is not on our side."

"We need to act with deliberate haste," said McCain, Obama's GOP opponent in last year's presidential election.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters earlier that Obama would consult with Congress on his eventual decision.

"The president has [heard] and wants to hear from all of those that are involved in decisions about protecting our homeland, keeping our country safe, as well as the deployment of our men and women in uniform," Gibbs said.

"Obviously, Congress plays an important and significant role in that, and this is part of talking to them about this process."

Filed under: Afghanistan • GOP • President Obama
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. m smith

    Gosh does this mean that if the president does not send troops they won't support him. Like they are now? emember they got us into this war in the first place and spent 8 years screwing around and getting our guys killed so now we need to make a dicission in a hurry. The president will listen to all sides and make the best dicission he can . Thats why we elected him

    October 6, 2009 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  2. Casual Observer

    There has been some talk and some action on bombing the poppy fields in Afghanistan to slow down their ability to purchase arms and supplies purchased by the sale of drugs. What about poisoning the crops so nothing can be regrown for a few years or so. Then concentrate on the purchasers of the drugs, and eliminate them altogether! Then have the remaining free world put laws into place like the death penalty for drug dealers/pushers and organized crime including gangs that deal in the death products. Maybe then the backward living 300 year old life styles of some of the countries that still live off the sale of drugs may change to a life style worthy of the rest of the industrialized world in the 21st century

    October 6, 2009 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  3. Anthony

    Wait... NOW they want a QUICK DECISION on military affairs??? But when it comes to issues like HEALTH CARE, they want to slow it to a crawl and hope it it goes away. God, these guys NEVER cease to amaze...

    Health care = slow it down, yell, obstruct, LIE
    War = rush decisions, LIE, act on impulse

    you people make me sick (and I hope I have the health care to survive it...)

    October 6, 2009 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  4. mb-texas

    Quick quick quick.I am surprise that it is not no no no as usual.

    October 6, 2009 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  5. Tracy-Oakley

    of course the shot first ask questions later want a quick resolution. They do not encourage strategic thinking and planning. The GOP is a bunch of air heads.

    October 6, 2009 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  6. tony

    God forbid anyone in government take the time to make an informed, not a knee-jerk, decision. The GOP will obviously not be happy unless the maximum amount of America's soldiers are killed.

    October 6, 2009 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
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