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. They call me "tater salad"

    Yeah! Rush right into it before you actually have a plan! That makes sense! Typical Republican halfwit! Funny how it wasn't a big deal for the past 7 years, but suddenly its a big deal now! Republican mindset = "When in doubt, blame it on the black guy"!

    October 25, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  2. Marry

    Debbie, you are so right!!!
    It seems the RIGHT and GOP is more afraid of intelligent thought than of putting the military in harm’s way! (Easy, since they are not the ones standing in the line of fire!)
    Ah, if they just had done some good and intense considerations of how and when and where, in this "war game"! And I have never heard of a military man that wanted fewer troops!
    We can just be so glad; the President is an intelligent man with an excellent team. Trust him any time over Cheney or Rumsfeld. Ups, should not have mentioned Donald – not that he wakes up and starts talking too…..

    October 25, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  3. Adelita

    Why are so many people trying to make this a partisan issue? If you have someone who knows about war and what it takes to win it makes sense to take his advice! Do you really want to turn your backs on Afghanistan and Pakistan? To walk away from bin Laden, Al Qaeda, and the Taliban? That will allow the people who throw acid in the faces of schoolgirls to become heroes! It pains me to agree with Orrin Hatch, but let's do what it takes to get this taken care of!

    October 25, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  4. Don

    I have been in combat and I believe President Obama is doing exactly what he should be doing before committing more troops. He is defining our mission, roles and objectives in Afghanistan, something we should have done years ago. It is interesting to hear Republicans now criticizing the president for taking too long to make a decision. President G.W. Bush took more than three months to make his decision on the Iraq surge yet no democrats criticised him for taking too long. It seems the conservatives have two sets of standards for how much time it should take for a president to make an important decision.
    It is really sad to see former VP Cheney criticize President Obama for taking too long to send more troops into Afghanistan. For eight years the Bush administration virtually ignored Afghanistan while the Taliban regained strength do to our lack of commitment. Cheney has no credibility since he and President Bush did little to help our troops in Afghanistan while the newly elected President Obama acted quickly to send more troops to Afghanistan earlier this year.

    October 25, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  5. S M R

    Do You realize Mr. Hatch that if Bush didn't invade the "NO WMD WAR" in Iraq, that the war in Afghnistan would be over. The GOP just needs to SHUT UP!!!

    October 25, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  6. ATL Guy

    After 7 years of not doing anything in Afghanistan, Republicans finally believe we should do something there!!! Shocking indeed.

    October 25, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  7. g

    haliburtion must phoned him about his stock going down

    October 25, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  8. mike

    lets play army 101 if this doesn't work lets try something else and in the mean time our soldiers will suffer or lets have different opinions an maybe just maybe the out come will be good for our soldiers

    October 25, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  9. S M R

    Mr. Hatch: Don't you realize that OUR GREAT COUNTRY is BROKE??? Thanks GOP!!!

    October 25, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  10. S M R


    October 25, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  11. Lynda

    It's easy for these Senators to send in as many men and woman that they think we need.......most of them haven't spent one day in the military or fought on any battle ground........and most of them don't have any sons or daughters or grandsons and grandaughters that are fighting for this country.......so sure go ahead and send in more troops to be killed......as long as it isn't any of their precious relatives that are on the battle fields......they don't care how many die........republicans you suck........

    October 25, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  12. Al Bluengreenenbrownenburger

    Hey conservatives! You ignored Afghanistan for year after year, and now that it is probably too late, you are screaming for action.

    Right. No hypocrisy there.

    October 25, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  13. Chipster

    OK, fine! But tell me this, where will those troops come from, Sen. Hatch? The DOD says that they won't have enough troops to send what has been requested until early 2010. Over the past 8 years, our troops have been over exposed and over worked. My nephew just left for his 3rd tour of duty (2 in Iraq and now Afghanistan).

    This is why President Obama is reviewing new strategies. A lot of young Republicans and Democrats are demanding more troops but I don't see them volunteering. We cannot sustain this.

    October 25, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  14. S M R

    These Generals are in Cahoots with the Warmongering GOP for a piece of the WAR PROFIT PIE.

    October 25, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  15. TRESOR

    They know, he knows that this war is not really about the general, it's not about winning because he can't explain what he understand by "to win". Nobody has ever won a war in Afghanistan, nobody and we are not going to be the first. The reason is simple, those so called talibans are part of the aghan population, it's rooted in their culture so ask an aghani to fight a taliban will jut depend to who ask this to.
    We have been here for 9 years, what have we achieve after those years? How many civilians are DEATH? How many US casualties do we have? How much money are we WASTING there? What is the reason for us to be there? Were these guys involved in 9/11? Is this the place where we should be or Should we be on the border with Pakistan?
    Ask any General in the army, any army if what they need first. The same response: MORE Troops. They are formatted just like that. Explain to us again what the Hell We are fighting in Afghanistan. How can we protect a whole country who does not have a Real Administration, A puppet corrupted President and tomorrow we will be seen as an Army of Occupation.
    Please start sending back our troops from Irak

    October 25, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  16. A guy

    I love how all of these Republicans like to whine and hand-wring about "budget deficits" (you know, the ones THEY created with their insane spending spree during the Bush years, but would somehow, insanely, like to hang around Obama's neck) but they have absolutely NO problem pouring BILLIONS of dollars every week into piles of meaningless sand 6000 miles from here.

    Enough war in Iraq and AFG, let's bring everyone home, stop wasting the money we're borrowing from Communist China to support it, and start taking care of our own people for once, you bunch of hypocrites.

    October 25, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
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