October 25th, 2009
12:35 PM ET
13 years ago

Give McChrystal the troops he wants, Hatch says

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-UT, said Sunday that, regardless of the political situation on the ground in Afghanistan, President Obama should give U.S. Gen. Stanley McChrystal the 40,000 additional American troops that McChrystal has reportedly requested.

In an interview that aired earlier on CNN's State of the Union, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, the leading challenger to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, called into question the ability of the Afghan government to partner with the United States if Karzai wins an upcoming run-off election as many senior Obama administration officials expect.

Asked about Abdullah's comments, Hatch told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, "I think it's taken too long," for Obama to make a decision about troop levels in Afghanistan.

"We have to worry about corruption but we also have to work with whoever is put in there," Hatch also said, making a reference to the unsettled political situation in Afghanistan caused by fraud in the country's presidential election last month.

"And whoever is put in there, you're going to find some corruption," the Utah Republican added. "The fact of the matter is I think we ought to rely on the hand-picked general, by President Obama, Gen. McChrystal, who said that we've got to have more troops."

Hatch added that he thought some of Obama's critics have been "hypercritical" in suggesting that the president was delaying a decision about Afghanistan until after two upcoming gubernatorial elections early next month in Virginia and New Jersey. Some political observers have suggested that the two races could be viewed as a referendum on Obama's presidency so far.

"I hope that's not the case," Hatch said of suggestions that Obama's drawn-out decisionmaking process on Afghanistan could be motivated by domestic political considerations.

But Hatch also said it was "a mistake to continue to not make this decision" given the advice the White House has reportedly received from McChrystal, the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan.

Two Democratic senators were more generous towards Obama in their assessment of the situation in Afghanistan.

Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio said he thought it was "frankly too early to tell" whether another Karzai term would lead to more corruption. Therefore, Brown said, Obama should continue to listen to his many advisers and make the Afghanistan troop level decision "in the most sobering way possible."

Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson said the U.S. relationship with the Afghan government "has to be a partnership. There's no question about it when we have that many American troops stationed there, fighting there, and, unfortunately, dying there." Nelson told King that he didn't think the capability of the Afghan government would be known until next month's run-off election.

Filed under: Afghanistan • Popular Posts • State of the Union
soundoff (141 Responses)
  1. On the other hand...

    Isn't it more a question of support for our own troops and our own national decision to stop State supported terrorism than a question of support for Karzai as a specific leader?

    This delay is incompetence in it's worst display. Considering the current administration's priorities, it has to be politically motivated.

    October 25, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  2. mathew

    ...'we have to work with whoever is there....' Gawd, ZERO principles. This from the same intellectually barren mind of someone who would submit an amendment exempting US citizens that live in a state beginning with the letter 'U" from the 'evil' healthcare reform. seriously, have you no shame sir?

    October 25, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  3. Tate

    This is what happens when you have a boy doing a mans job. Cant vote present Owhiner.

    October 25, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  4. haren

    so that people criticized him for escalating war so that we can win majority in congress.

    October 25, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  5. annie s

    Trust yourself, Mr. President, NOT the generals – and certainly not the Republicans who want your administration to fail so much they'd be happy to see us get bogged down in a war we can never win.

    October 25, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  6. Henya CA,

    Good Morning John,
    Let our president do his job we are talking about sanding our solderers in to arms way he need to take his time, I like the job that our President is doing I never Sean any President working so hard on all fronts , and to the Republican they need to stay away there are not helping the president at all, P.S I love Donna keep up the good work.

    October 25, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  7. Dave

    First, he will get the Nobel prize for the ego and image.
    Then, the consideration of what is really needed will be dealt with!!!!

    Do not disturb the "new world order" of decision making with your logic!

    October 25, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |

    The "delay" is very much necessary in order to "finally" (after 7 long years) to come up with a "strategy" that will work.

    October 25, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  9. Robert the Man

    To Annie S, your comment was completely ignorant. You said trust yourself, NOT the generals. ARE YOU KIDDING? Obama appointed him to lead the war there, you do know this right? Heaven forbid Obummer listens to someone who has been doing their job for 20+ years in the military, I wasn't aware of Obummers military service, oh wait thats right he has none. Republican or Democrat your comment was just plain stupid. It's ok though you're prob a liberal with no combat expierence at all, yet you know more than the Generals on the ground. I get it now

    October 25, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  10. imnotamoron

    Oh yeah? If Orrin Hatch will volunteer his own family to go to Afganistan then we'll talk.

    October 25, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  11. Daniel Schlafer

    Yes ! Yes ! Yes ! Let's give General McKrystal all the troops he wants ! Let's also make the Bush-Cheney tax cuts for the wealthy permanent ! Let's continue to grow the economy through the wealthy and military-industrial complex . Let's also continue to blame President Obama and call him a socialist .

    October 25, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  12. GI Joe

    We've waited almost 8 years for a good plan for afghanistan, we can wait 2 more weeks.

    Without taking out "the man that tried to kill my daddy" in Iraq, maybe we would already be done in afghanistan. But then Cheney/Bush, the warmongers, just had to do what they did with NO plans at all.

    October 25, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  13. Reggie from LA

    This is all so interesting. No offense to General McChrystal, but when he went into theater, he did not know how many more troops he needed than those already under his command. How many does he really need? Notice how many times this question has been asked in the last 7 or 8 years. I'm sure Sen Hatch will remember General Shinseki who recommended more and was ridiculed. Then we needed more for a surge (after Shinseki was summarily dismissed). How many do we really need you armchair quarterback hacks who criticize the president;s deliberate approach? Why don't some of you naysayers run for office to get it right? What's the magic number, and when, Senator? Moron values continued. Mercy.

    October 25, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  14. ran

    hatch another fear/hate Republican. were was he when bush left afghanistan to fight Iraq. Obama is doing what bush and the republican should have done in 2002 which is stop and think about what you are going to do and try to get it right. If bush and the republican had done just a little thinking Iraq would not have happen and the war in Afghanistan would be over now.

    Also we would have health care reform and good energy policy and even immigration by now if the republicans had done some thinking over the 8 yrs they were in power. Instead we have all the messes we have now and Obama is trying to get us out of by thinking it through.

    October 25, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  15. Tony in Maine

    I can think of about 50 potential warriors who just sitting around the Senate Chamber with their thumbs in their ears.

    Orrin baby, these are not disposables, these are human beings. They have real lives with real familes and real hopes for the future. Of course they're going to tell you and Faux Gnus they WANT to be there. They're not stupid. They know if they don't sound like they're testosterone overloaded, they'll be walking point up a ravine on the Pak border.

    What McChrystal and you have to stop doing is trying to jam people with a 12th century mindset into a 21st century mold. We cannot save everyone from themselves.

    October 25, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  16. We Won Get Over It

    Just like Biden said about cheney.....WHO CARES WHAT HATCH SAYS. He is the colony of good old boy white men republican....who are so entrenched in "ruin the president" he lacks any kind of authenticity.

    October 25, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  17. imnotamoron

    Robert the man your the ignorant one, Why. because for the last 8 years, your egg Hatchers ,strategy didn't work and the war is still on. As long as the US is still voting for the US PARTY OF BULLIES their enemies on this war will only be empowered so. why don't you shut your trap. Live this to INTELLIGENT PEOPLE to decide.

    October 25, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  18. Beverly in NC

    McChrystal reminds me of General Westmoreland, the head of command in the Vietnam War, who just kept asking President Johnson for more and more troops. What happened? More Vietnamese died and more American soldiers died and it accomplished nothing.

    For those of you armchair generals out there – President Obama is doing the prudent strategy. You have to have a stable government to work with and the election results for who is Afghanistan's elected President are not in yet. The run off is next week. We will be wasting more our soldiers lives in the Bush wars if we don't have a partnership with the legitmately elected Afghan government and if we don't have buy-in and troops from our Allies to solve this Afghan problem, execute a strategy, and then get out.

    We need to end these failed Bush wars with smart strategy plans and exit plans – not just war for war's sake like the Republicans love.

    For all the money we have spent on the Bush wars in Iraq and Afghanistan we could have paid for healthcare for everyone, built brand new school in every city in America, and sent every child to college. War has consequences. Not only does it kill our soldiers but it bankrupts our nation and increases our deficit – exactly what President Obama is trying to fix – stopping these wars and investing the money in Americans.

    Know your facts before you spew your ignorance and hate.

    October 25, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  19. Retired US Army Officer - Kansas

    Answer a question that has as of yet to be answered by this or the last administration. What is the militray objective for victory in Afganistan? And then the Generals can tell you what is needed to provide acheivement of those objectives. It is time to get off the fence, weare not nation building, we are either going to kill our enemies or we are not. If we are not committed to destroying our enemies, then we have no purpose of throwing more into Afganistan, that in my opinion would be an error. So what must we do in Afganistan, a war that has been placed on a side burner? The total destruction of the Taliban and the captue and destruction og bin Laden. Who leads Afganistan is not an issue that is a matter of the Afgan people. As to those that are attacking the President, back off. Monday morning quarterbacks that have never worn the uniform are a dime a dozen. For those that say the President has never served, he is the Commander in Cheif of the US military, in my boat that means he is in service, thats where the buck stops. Incompetence is demonstrated by the longest war in American history, that at this time in history is no closer to completion than it was the day that President Bush ordered the military in, once again , What is the military objrctive that must be acheived?

    October 25, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  20. kris

    the republican want the president to make mistake by hastly send the troop to afghanistan without due consideration,some of them are even saying they want him to fail.I am afraid to say most GOP don,t like america to succed on this afghan war

    October 25, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  21. N

    Indecision is how people die; three simple words can kill more troops than any enemy can. Those three words are “I don’t know”. We need leadership, someone who can make a decision and stand behind that decision without wavering, our troops are not stupid, they can see indecision in their chain of command, and they know that if their leadership is wavering their lives are on the line. We need someone to step up to the plate, and make this decision before more of our dedicated troops lose their lives in this conflict. This is not a game of chess where you can sit and stare at the board for hours, while the pieces remain still, it’s a moving target, decisions must be made, and the leadership needs to be strong so that our troops feel secure, and are motivated for the cause. If this current administration does not have what it takes, they should step down….. My two Cents…………

    October 25, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  22. Bob

    What! Do all these idiot Republicans now think THEY are the commander in Chief. Funny I don't recall any election where they won.

    October 25, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  23. N

    I am sorry to say, but some of you that are posting on these articles are too darn stupid to even have your own opinion, you do nothing but show the world the lack of education that exist in this country.
    This is not about the last 8 years, and some of you dumb a$$ people need to start thinking about today, and quit making excuses for everything that is not right and needs good leadership today.

    October 25, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  24. Bush_took_his_time

    The fact is, Obama is right to be careful in making the decision to send my son into battle. I don't know if anyone who is pushing him to make a rushed decision has a child or children in the military, but we have 2 sons serving and we appreciate that Obama is NOT making rash decisions.

    Oh, and by the way – Bush took # MONTHS to make the decision to send additional troops into Iraq for the surge operation after the additional troops were requested.

    These Republicans have not learned anything – they would be quite happy for Obama to send troops, then blame him for making a rushed judgment.

    Personally, I prefer my President to be careful with the lives of my children.

    October 25, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  25. Bob

    If our Presidents blindly followed everything their generals said, we would still be in Vietnam. It is the job of generals to win wars and they are going to request whatever they think is necessary to win the war. If a general came to the President and said, "we can't win this war", he should be fired immediately. It is the job of the President to decide if the cost is too great for the reward and if we should pursue a different course of action or not.

    October 25, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
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