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. aliou

    give the war industry the whole treasury, he means to say.

    October 25, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  2. One of your troops

    The opposition to Pres. Obama's decision to send more of us into harm's way are complete idiots. Here's the truth about it, you guys talk about sending 40,000 more troops like we don't have families and talk about us like some kind of never ending resource. Now the majority of us joined the military to serve our country and recieve benefits like health care, dental care, "burial" insurance, education, and all the things that most "Americans" don't have. I wish you guys would consider us and any fool who's in the military and responds to this and says you know what you signed up for; while that may be true, I'm proud to serve my country; but not proud of the people in it as they continue to practice poor judgement and want to throw my life in harm's way with no second thought. If you want 40,000 more troops get the people in your family to enlist and then vote to send them off; like most you don't care until it affects you directly! GOD bless and GOD bless real Americans in the greatest country on earth.

    October 25, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  3. jmz

    I hope CNN has the courage to post this

    Obama has to wait to have someone type his decision on a teleprompter. I love how all his koolaid drinking followers dont understand how time is a factor here. Obama wastes hundreds of billions of dollars on a pork laden 'stimulus' that did NOTHING. And he made that decision over a weekend. Hes is quick in calling cops racist for daring t arrest his buddy. he is quick in every decision that actually needs time and planning to do. but a decision that actually requires speed...he takes his sweet time. Hes not planning anything except how to pin his next failure on the republicans and Bush

    October 25, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  4. Nancy G

    Maybe Orin Hatch should volunteer to be one of those 40,000. He might think twice before shooting his mouth off.

    October 25, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  5. Joe

    Of course, if Obama had immediately given the general all the troops he wanted, Hatch would be complaining about Obama's lack of deliberation and undue haste in making such an important decision. No matter what he does, short of resigning, nothing is going to please the party of "NO!"

    October 25, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  6. Barbara

    Someone tell Orin the Bush/Cheney rule of storm in first and evaluate-never-is over. President Obama will make his decision not by being pressured from the GOP or Generals but by sound evaluation of the situation and real goals-quite refreshing-rather Commander-in-Chief like which we haven't seen in a very, very long time.

    October 25, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  7. Jay

    Yeah the GOP has definitely had great ideas for Afghan policy the past 8 years, of course it makes sense to listen to them for what to do now. Just do what the General Sez! Just do what he sez! It will all be all right!

    GOP doofuses.

    October 25, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  8. Trudy Harteg

    its Time the they soldiers comming home ,all the republicans want is War an more War , the the ones that cost all the nasty Parties this Summer .the are the most hatefull Party i ever seen .President Obama hasent got a mean Bone in him .he caers abaut People .all the republican caer abaut is them selves ,an power .an one more thing President Obama has more smart in his little Finger .then the republican have in there Head .all the know is how to hate ,no compassion.stupid A Cheeny an Busch got us in the Mess we in .an President Obama is working soooo hard to get us aut off Cheney an Busch mess.lets get rid of the Republican ,Party of do nothing .republicans acht like terroist.

    October 25, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  9. James Parochetti

    I believe our Commander-In-Chief made it clear this week what his intentions were:

    We are not sending more troops to Afghanistan now. Period.

    October 25, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  10. Mike in Seattle

    I'm not surprised the Repblicans are crying about President Obama's serious deliberation. After all, they are the party of knee-jerk reactions. Somebody should tell Hatch that the lack of serious deliberation is the cause of this mess, not the other way around. What a nitwit!

    October 25, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  11. Michael M, Phoenix AZ

    Everytime you turned around during the Viet Nam conflict Gen Westmoreland kept asking for more troops...eventually it was over 500,000 and nothing was resolved in our favor. Plus we kept backing the wrong people in a very corrupt situation, just like Afganistan...Remember there is a former Union Oil Exec running Afganistan now...Karazi!

    October 25, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  12. Ronald Schwartz

    Pres. Obama doesn't know he's costing lives, He could have sent the troops and cleaned it up or if he chickens out he just has to pull out 40,000 more troops, pretty simple,

    October 25, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  13. ohio

    all you love to hate libs, seem to forgot, McChrystal was picked BY Obama...yet you keep blaming it all on "the last eight years" by that logic its one year of Jimmy Carter the 2nd and 7 years of Bush...
    and funny how right after 9/11, no one had an issue with any of this!

    October 25, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  14. Keeth in California

    For 7 years the GOP and their (p)resident ignored Afghanistan. Now that Obama is in the White House, they hypocritically scream about our troops. Hatch and his ilk are disgusting immoral opportunists.

    October 25, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  15. Jake

    President Obama said he did a thorough review of Afghanistanjust this past Spring. That is when he appointed Gen. McChrystal, announced a counter insurgency strategy and said this was a war of necessity.

    I believe President Obama when he said he wants to consider Gen. McChrystal's request for more troops before making a decision.

    However, if President Obama truly did do a thorough review this past Spring then it shouldn't take him this long to do an update. Not that much has materially changed.

    Either he lied when he said he did a review last Spring or he has some other reason (domestic politics?) for delaying a decision.

    This isn't the leadership we were promised.

    October 25, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  16. oadefabi

    Good luck , president Obama, i pray that God will guide you in taken a decision that will be in the best interest of both America, Afghanistan and the world at large ,as regards sending more troops to Afghanistan , because the world are waiting for your positive action on this sensitive issue

    October 25, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  17. JonDie

    No more troops to Afghanistan!

    Let the Afghanis start fighting.

    Our troops shouldn't be over there dying to save that pathetic, little cheat Hamid Karzai, who doesn't even control the country outside of Kabul, and who could only hold onto the presidency by fraud.

    October 25, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  18. anthony

    There is a reason why Orrin Hatch and the Republicans are not making the decision to send more troops to Afghanistan: they lost the election. Part of the reason that they lost the election was that when they were in power, they sent the troops to Iraq, rather than Afghanistan, and we ended up with an unnecessary war (Iraq) and an unfinished war (Afghanistan). If the Republicans wouldn’t send the necessary troops to Afghanistan when they were in power, they have no right to complain now. Besides, did Bush listen to the Congress after the 2006 election when he started the surge in Iraq? No. He was the commander-in-chief. Who is the commander-in-chief now?

    October 25, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  19. Mike1952

    This has nothing to do with the political situation in Afghanistan. It's all about the political situation in the U.S. Obozo is pandering to the far left lunatics. And all the while puts our troops in greater danger. By the way, how many families of fallen solidiers has BO met with. I'd say zero.

    October 25, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  20. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    @ThinkAgain, all you have done is rehash history. We are where we are, and the pretender we have as Commander-in-Chief can't just campaign his way out of making a decision. He's had 9 months to decide on a strategy. The strategy for WWII took a lot less time. US troops are dying at an increasing rate trying to implement Obama's strategy as set in March. Decide Pretender-in-Chief! Voting 'present' won't work this time.

    October 25, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  21. RO

    I disagree with Hatch 100%...we should have NEVER gone to Afghanistan in the first place. The Soviets had over 100,000 troops there when they invaded Afghanistan...yet, they had to retreat and lost. There is NO way we can do the same. I am glad that Obama is listening to all sides.. THERE are many generals who thinks that more troops are NOT the answer. Geez whiz, Hatch... if you think you could do a better job, why don't you run for Presidency?

    October 25, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  22. John

    The only thing the right can ever say yes to is sending young under priviledged men into a blood bath of any war that we could easily win just by having the guts to blow cities off the face of the planet one by one with no ground troops needed. If we don't have the same level of commitment as our enemies (meaning women and children will die and we "can't" worry about it) then we should just sit at home and shut up! Finally, if these countries are such a threat to the world, then let the countries who are most vulnerable step up and send their troops in before the almighty "West" gets involved. We didn't join WWII until all was almost lost. Don't allow poor children to be aborted.... the right needs bodies to sacrifice in their next little blackwater adventure... Pigs!

    October 25, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  23. Think again, Hatch

    McChrystal is not the only general or only military expert giving advise to the president. Hatch is just blowing off hot air.

    October 25, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  24. GT Hill

    Orrin Hatch should go hunting with Dick Cheney.

    October 25, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  25. Gee

    With respect to Orrin Hatch’s comments…

    I sincerely hope that Bush/Cheney did not let Bin Laden get away from Torra Borra because it was key to their winning strategy for 2004 re-election. After all, Bin Laden did play a role by releasing his video message days before 2004 election. I hope Bush/Cheney did not prolong the Iraq War because, it their own words/beliefs, (a) Americans would not change commander during the war, and (b) it is never a good strategy to change horse during the race.

    Politicians like Orrin Hatch are good at starting rumors and making accusations with statements like “it is hypercritical on part of people to suggest”, “I hope not, but…”

    October 25, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
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