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. chenna_benna

    The problem with what the GOP wants the Prez to do is that McCrystal never said that adding more troops would lead to victory. This is one of the reasons why this decision is hard.

    October 25, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  2. katiec

    Typical republican. No concern given for the wounded or soldiers who have lost their lives due to lack of guidance, competence of the previous administration, which he fully supported.
    Thank God we have a president who takes the time to consider all options, plans and advice.
    Thank goodness we have a president who prefers diplomacy over war. If Mccain had been elected we would have bombed Iran by now.
    The Bush administration and the republicans have cost our country billions upon billions of dollars with an unwarranted war, thousands of lives lost, and have the hypocrasy to pretend they have knowledge on what they so completely blew.
    But what else can you expect from the party of NOthing.

    October 25, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  3. mike.texas

    Where was the pressure and outrage from the right when Dick and Bush didnt send more troops when the generals requested.And who reduced the troops in the first place. Republicans

    October 25, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  4. C Spurgeon

    Let Hatch run for President if he wants to run the country. He is an elected Rep of Utaq and only talks party line and so is not credible. Jus another from the party of no.

    October 25, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  5. chrisalva

    we should send more troops and get the war over with. bush had no choise but to invade iraq should i remined all of u these people killed millions of us citizens we deseve are revange on them. i say send all the genral needs to iraq and destroy everyting there

    October 25, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  6. RonC

    Generals will always ask for more troops. That's what they do. I'm sure there are many bashing on here that have never worn the uniforms of our Military, including War Monger Cheney, who bought his way out 5 times because he didn't want his butt shot but turns around and sends our sons and daughters into harms way.

    The Afgan mess is like another Vietnam whereby there is no winner regardless if you send 40 thousand troops or 40 million. I'm glad we have someone who gets the facts and makes good decisions rather than blindly sent people into uncalled for wars.

    October 25, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  7. S M R

    Prolonging any war is money in the bank for the GOP and Their connections to the Defense Contractors.

    October 25, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  8. Joe the carpenter Lex. Ky.

    We hastily sent in more troops to Vietnam at the request of the generals, look where that got us. What is interesting is that when the troops were requested for Vietnam all the current republicans were writing deferments and using acne as an excuse to get out of being drafted. Republicans are VERY eager to send someone else in harms way.

    October 25, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  9. economist

    Mr. Hatch is just playing politics. The reality is that we need to know what sort of government we are defending in Afghanistan before we commit even more troops. Why? Because we need the support of the *American* people to do it. We will not be pleased with any American deaths to support a corrupt regime, and without public support, no war can be won.

    October 25, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  10. katiec

    The republicans also talk about fighting terrorism while they are becoming our countries most dangerous domestic terrorists.

    October 25, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  11. Mike

    This bundle is too good to pass by!
    First of all, bco, you need to read your history. MacArthur was relieved for disobeying a direct order from the Commander in Chief. Every E1 in the military knows better than to disobey a lawful order. GEN McChrystal was ordered to Afghanistan to make and deliver an assessment to the President, which he did, and that included a request for additional troops. I am quite certain that the general is well aware of our (US) concept of civilian direction of military operations. He wouldn't have made it to his current billet without the understanding.
    Unfortunately, President Obama is commiting one of the same errors that previous wartime presidents did, and that is lending more credence to political hacks and pollsters than those with a working knowledge of the situation on the ground. And trust me, those on the ground have an awareness that resolving this war will require both diplomatic and military effort.

    October 25, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  12. jd

    Why isn't anyone thinking of the end game? If it is trying to make a westernized democracy out of this tribal country, then it is a fool's errand. Time to get out troops out, and now. That strategy worked well with Vietnam. Just put the troops guarding our borders, where we are more certain of systemic failure as a country than from any threat offshore.

    October 25, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  13. S M R

    The PAID GOP Bloggers are out in full force today. To bad there is not enough of you to win an election thou. OBAMA 2012

    October 25, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  14. Joe M

    After spending 35 years in the military I can tell you one thing for sure,

    NO GENERAL or ADMIRAL ever has enough men and material..They always want more and more...On more than one occasion I have heard a general say.....THIS IS WHERE THE PROMOTIONS ARE...You are not going to get promoted states side..HERE IS YOUR CHANCE,,

    October 25, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  15. jd

    What is the end game of this? If it is installing a westernized democracy, then it is doomed to failure in this rockpile of tribal warriors. We need to pull our military and put them on our borders. Protect us from illegals, who are doing a great deal more to destroy this country than any threat from offshore could ever do.

    October 25, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  16. ender

    We have no real need to be there. Tactically its a "no win" situation.

    No more blood for oil. No more lives pointlessly lost.

    It's time to worry about OUR borders.

    October 25, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  17. Bruce

    Sen. Hatch has it correct. If our military leaders on the ground in Afghanistan say more troops....then we should not delay for any reason. How would you feel, if you are in Afghanistan and the news is indecisivenes on wether to send more help???

    October 25, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  18. TheBottomLine

    Ok, regardless of Obama wanting to stick to his guns and not send in troops, at least pull out the remaining troops, because if they don't have more troops, they who are there now are just going to die off. It's like sendingtroops into battle with shovels instead of guns. Who are we? The Russians in WW2?
    Come on. If he came out and simply said, "I know we have obligations to uphold for not sending in more troops, but the fact is, is that they who are there now need our help while we organize an exit strategy...
    So, my advice...send the troops, secure the situation, and get out like he promised, but don't just leave our guys in there without backup or a chance to make it out alive... SUPPORT OUR TROOPS!

    October 25, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  19. juge

    Hey Hatch get on your horse and lead the charge – your troops will be made up of Cheney and Bush and other irregulars. Good Luck! Don't come back.

    October 25, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  20. vic nashville , Tn

    Did Hatch hear what Afghan president say he don’t need occupation

    So we need a new strategy to destroy Al- Qaida let Obama take his own time

    No more troops unless we have new plan

    October 25, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  21. jim

    and what else would we expect from the party of no?

    they are so hungry to scream "no" regardless of the situation that they spend NO time thinking.

    one thing that is great about our commander in chief is that he actually thinks about his actions.

    October 25, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  22. EF

    By not committing troops after that disgraceful, fraudulent election, the White House has forced the Karzai administration to take its medicine and submit to a fairer runoff.

    Unfortunately, Karzai, who seems to be massively corrupt, will probably still win, if only due to name recognition, but this humiliation and setback should at least send a message that elections and laws matter.

    The idea of just blithely rubberstamping an election fraud by pretending it's a case of business as usual, as Hatch apparently prefers, and throwing in a huge number of troops as though the fraud never happened, would have shocked the conscience.

    Of course we were right to wait until this was set right. I hope we continue to wait until after the runoff–at least. This is the only real leverage we have to get the democratic process running more fairly and without fraud.

    October 25, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  23. Jan

    Send more troops or get out...one or the other

    October 25, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  24. Wade Sunde

    I think the president is very aware of the situation. He's one man, he can't fix the entire world's problems with the snap of his fingers. Maybe he's trying for a troop pullout when the General wants more troops, who knows?

    October 25, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  25. normajean

    Senator Orrin Hatch was part of the administration that sent us into the quagmire which was Iraq and now is in a hurry to send us into another mess. Thinking experts agree with the president and his intellegent and experienced staff that we should know what we are doing before we do it. Getting the facts and moving with knowledge can save us many young American lives and hopefully will give us a chance to bring this situation to a successful conclusion.. We, the public can sit here and tell them what we think{which isn't worth much} but we aren't the ones who have to put our lives on the line. Let the experts do what they have to do.

    October 25, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
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