December 6th, 2009
03:50 PM ET
6 years ago

Romney praises Afghan surge, slams confusion about timeline

Washington (CNN) – A potential contender for the 2012 Republican presidential nod praised President Obama’s decision to surge 30,000 additional troops into Afghanistan and, at the same time, questioned the wisdom of Obama’s decision to announce a date to begin to draw down the additional troops.

President Obama used a speech at West Point last week to announce that he has ordered 30,000 additional troops to be sent to Afghanistan as part of a new, refocused strategy intended to quell the Taliban and help the Afghan government build up its own security forces. As part of the new strategy, Obama also said last week that the U.S. would begin to remove those additional troops in July 2011, depending upon the conditions on the ground in the war-torn country.

“I think he’s made the right decision with regards to Afghanistan in a general direction,” former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

“And, by the way, you’re noting that Republicans are not making this a political football,” the former White House hopeful added. “Republicans are saying ‘Yeah, he’s done the right thing here.’”

But, Romney’s praise of Obama quickly turned to criticism.

“It took him a long time,” Romney said of Obama’s 3-month deliberation process. “That was a mistake, of course.

“I think he is mistaken also in sending these conflicting and confusing signals about the timeline because you don’t want in any way to have [Pakistan or Afghanistan] thinking that somehow we’re only in there for 18 months and then we’re getting out no matter what. That’s not the message you want to have heard.”

Romney also questioned Obama’s judgment in providing Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan with 30, 000 additional troops when McChrystal had reportedly requested 40,000 more.

“My first question is not, ok, how do I get it down to 30,000?” Romney told CNN Chief National correspondent John King. “My first question is what’s the right number?”

“I think [Obama] may have been a little unwise to cut back on that number,” Romney said Sunday. “But we sure hope [Obama’s surge] works,” the Republican added.

Romney’s comments echoed those of Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl who said earlier on State of the Union that Republicans generally supported Obama’s decision to order the surge.

But “I think he has complicated matters by having this firm beginning-of-withdrawal date” of July 2011, added Kyl.

“The reason I said it complicates matters is that in war, will matters, “explained Kyl, “In fact, the whole object of war is to break the will of the enemy to fight.”

soundoff (101 Responses)
  1. SC-"Gotcha Question"

    It must be great to be a loser and sit on the sideline criticizing everyone else.

    December 6, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  2. Republican Turned Democrat

    I knew it...the Republicans "praise," but followed by "criticism"...very pathetic.

    December 6, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  3. Aaron

    If any of his sons were fighting over there, he'd be singing a different tune.

    December 6, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  4. Eisener

    Who is Romney? Another looser?

    December 6, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  5. Whatever

    Looks like Obama is not the only one "confused".. You either agree with "THE SURGE" or you don't....I doubt Romney knows the right number..Nor give any thought concerning the matter....He is simply trying to walk a thin line, and find something to gripe about when there is nothing to gripe about...but then ..thats what he's paid for.

    December 6, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  6. JonDie

    In 2001, Bush & Cheney sent our soldiers to hunt for bin Laden and to defeat the Taliban. But then suddenly the hunt was called off.

    By the begining of 2002 and all the way until late 2008, Bush & Cheney abandoned our troops in Afghanistan with no military leadership, no mission and no strategy.

    Of course, what would Mitt Romney know about this or any other military issue? The answer is absolutely nothing.

    So I don't much care what Republicans fools have to say about anything, especially anything about Afghanistan.

    December 6, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |

    Romney is a total idiot! And richer from our Taxpayer money, who
    continuously proves he don't care about American Hard Working

    Is their anyone left in the Republican Party that "don't want our President to FAIL? Is their a Republican that has the audacity
    to stand against Republicans and vote FOR HEALTH CARE REFORM WITH A STRONG PUBLIC OPTION. Actually, the same kind of insurance that YOU, the Politicians have because of our Tax Dollars!

    FROM, Retired Person with Health Care worried about my college
    educated children with jobs. One served in the U.S. Navy!!!
    Can they be denied at the whim of the Rich insurance companies
    who have loads of money to spend on paying the Politicians off,
    to vote against this bill, and run "SCARE TACTIC" ads that cost

    P.S. Insurance Companies should be spending this money on
    "insured" people being "denied" or have been "denied" or will lose
    their home because they have to pay, after being insured all of their
    life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!A company can fire an employee who gets
    ill, at the disgression of THE INSURANCE GIANTS!!!!! In a heartbeat.
    (pardon the pun!!!!!)

    December 6, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  8. Fan of Common Sense

    Unfortunately BOTH sides have it wrong. If we are not going to devote ourselves to one goal and ONE GOAL ONLY–and that is CAPTURE AND/OR KILL BIN LADEN and his cronies–then we need to get out and get out NOW!! Enough of this nation building nonsense. All these people know is tyranny, corruption, and violence. It's simply ingrained into their culture. We're tyring to teach chimps how to play chess for God sake!

    December 6, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  9. proud mother and sister of soldiers

    Troops were needed, now we need to stop fighting the gentlemen's political war dictated by those who have never fought. Get it done and get out but WHY, tell the enemy when we pullout. Anyone can play nice till we leave!

    December 6, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  10. Dennis

    Of course he would approve. Anytime you can give money to the war machine that would be a good thing. Screw the deficit, it is only a concern unless it is something that would benefit the middle class.

    December 6, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  11. ICARE

    I am glad Obie mentioned a date. It's just a milestone or a date but I'm sure it will be re-assessed. For now, he has a plan. He has a start date and an end date.

    We should be happy about it and use that as a measurement stick to re-assess the situation.

    It's better than him coming out to tell us there is no date.

    There's so much trashing of Obie. All I can say is just be yourself and you'd be fine.

    December 6, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  12. Carnell From The Motor City!

    Yet We Have Another Disingenuous Politician Running Off At The Mouth About Decisions He Doesn't Have To Make. I Get That "Catchers" Mitt Romney Is Posturing And Prostituting Himself To Be The Next President. So It Doesn't Surprise Me That Shoots His Mouth Off The Way He Does.

    December 6, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  13. Rosebud

    Poor Mitt... his star just seems so much dimmer lately... he's waning on the stage of politics. He needs a facebook page, pumps, and a book of petty comments to compete with the waxing Venus.

    December 6, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  14. John in Tampa

    Mitt Romney I salute you. I am independent and I worked my soles off to get Obama elected, but it is possible I could support you. Yes, he did the right thing. I will hold on how long it took, I would be very careful too. But you can't have it every which way. And as quoted you are waffling, while he has done what he had to do. I sure hope it works too. I can just imagine what you will be saying if it is 5% off, and I'd admire you more if you committed to something.

    December 6, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  15. katiec

    Of course Romney turned to criticism.
    That is the only thing the party of NOthing is capable of.
    They almost destroyed our country these last eight years, yet have
    nothing to offer but attacks, anger, fear mongering, lies, distortions,
    with absolutely no workable, acceptable policies of their own but
    to continue to sell out the American people for big business and
    do everything possible to destroy our president, in the process our
    country regardless of the consequences.

    December 6, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  16. Brenda Morrisey

    Absolutely... you never let your opponent know your intentions... how could you win a war that way? I hope Mitt runs in 2012

    December 6, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  17. Joe

    I guess he wants to inherit some of the war in Afghanistan if he ever gets elected.

    December 6, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  18. Makeli Scholer

    I'm with him on his criticism of instituting a time line for withdrawal. I understand it's part of Pres Obama's triangulation to appease both sides of the Afghanistan issue but that's the last place to capitulate on. It's risky and irresponsible in my opinion.

    December 6, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  19. steven harnack

    If you think that anyone or anything can break the will of Afghanis to fight any foreigner that steps into their valley, then you have obviously never cracked the cover of any history book. Or even paid any attention to recent history.

    December 6, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  20. Rogue

    Mitten approves what a relief. A guy who came in last in his own party is acting like people cares what he has to say. Its about time for Huck to put another beatdown on this dude.

    December 6, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  21. They call me "tater salad"

    This guy would love nothing more than to use the US military for his secret campaign of ethnic and religious cleansing thoughout the world to try to turn everyone into a Mormon!!! Elitist, religious, zealot, much??????????

    December 6, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  22. Michele

    No, he has NOT made the right decision. He's made a decision that PLEASES the right, which is cause enough to question it. But killing more civilians, damaging more property that we will be responsible for rebuilding, and putting MORE troops in danger is wrong, immoral and just bad policy. And I voted for him.

    December 6, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  23. Beverly in NC

    Republicans don't understand war strategy, goals, or timelines. They love war so much they want it to go on forever – unless, of course, they or any member of their family is asked to go fight. They are happy to sacrifice other American's children and freely spend taxpayer money but don't ask them to make any commitments or exit strategies.

    As usual, Republicans are great at criticism but clueless when it comes to problem-solving, offering real ideas, or being part of developing solutions for anything. They are nowhere to be found when the tough decisions have to be made. Always available for grandstanding but missing when it's time to do any work to help Americans.

    Why do the media keep reporting their worthless statements? If they were actually to DO something or vote YES on any legislation to restore our country- now THAT would be news!

    December 6, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  24. Keith in Austin

    Before all you liberal zealots start the hate blogs on Romney, your annointed guru, Barry Solero (Obozo's real name) is behind closed doors with Harry Reid right now making deals with Democrat Senators to secure 60 votes. The GOP is not a part of the process nor have the litany of their ideas been considered.

    Dems have struck deals with Trial Lawyers to eliminate tort reform, Insurance lobbyists to eliminate buying health insurance policies across State lines and Pharmaceutical companies eliminating Americans from purchasing drugs from Canada.

    Dems desire Government takeover of healthcare for one thing and one thing only: POLITICAL POWER and more BIG Government control of our lives. WAKE UP America!!!!!!

    December 6, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  25. Indy

    Why was it a mistake to take 3 months to strategically analize the situation and line up the allies before the decision was made. You can't just say it was a mistake, you need to state why it was a mistake.If you have no answer as to why it was a mistake then we must assume it was a mistake because you must criticize Obama no matter what.Just because you like to do your business fast and disassemble companies and send employees to the unemployment line, does not mean that you can decide something as important as a surge with no regard for troops and allies.Back up your words with facts as to why it was a mistake to take 3 months.Does Mitt have any idea of how many very experienced Generals and experienced officials were involved in the final decision, and that a date was set so that the world would know this surge was not an occupation.

    December 6, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
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