June 27th, 2010
03:08 PM ET
12 years ago

State of the Union: Candy Crowley's Crib Sheet for June 27

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/04/art.candycribnew0404.cnn.jpg caption="In her Crib Sheet, CNN's Candy Crowley wraps the news from Sunday's political talk shows."]

Since he’s Director of the CIA, we should have expected Leon Panetta to be inscrutable in sizing up the situation in Afghanistan.

EG: “We are making progress.”

“I think the Taliban obviously is engaged in greater violence right now.”

“In some ways, they’re stronger, but in some ways they’re weaker…”

That settles that.

As the Senate Armed Services Committee prepares to vet the nomination of Gen. David Petraeus to be the new commander in Afghanistan, panel member Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) warned that the situation in Afghanistan is so difficult, the U.S. could win militarily and “still have a very ugly victory.”

Basically, it just doesn’t sound good.


The Sunday talk Republicans (McCain, Chambliss, Graham) continued to press for changes on the civilian side of the U.S.-Afghanistan team, but Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) seriously upped the ante. She suggests Gen. Petraeus can’t work with say, U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, then the ambassador “should be changed.” And if Petraeus can’t work with, say, Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke then, “that should change.” Feinstein calls this putting “all of our eggs in the Petraeus basket…”

Feinstein’s suggestion seems wildly out of sync with this week’s theme of the civilian government (that would be President Obama) asserting authority over the military (that would be fired Gen. Stanley McChrystal). McChrystal was fired in essence for going public with a lot of things that shouldn’t have gone public, including his disdain for… Holbrooke and Eikenberry.

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R) Georgia, on CNN’s “State of the Union”
“I think it's a huge mistake to even put that deadline out there. Because the enemy is watching, and you can rest assured that they are going to be looking to see if we in fact intend to begin pulling out come July 1 of 2011. And if that remains a hard and firm date then you better believe they are going to sit back and allow us to start pulling out then hit us with their full force.”

Sen. Jack Reed (D) Rhode Island, on CNN’s “State of the Union”
“People ask the question well how do we know when win? Well we'll know the same way we know in Iraq. That the burden of the battle is being borne by the local forces not by American and NATO forces. That we'll be able to withdraw our forces.”

Leon Panetta, CIA Director, on ABC’s “This Week”
“The mission that the President's laid out is we have to go after Al Qaeda. We have to disrupt and dismantle them so they never attack the country again. Are we making progress? We are making progress. It's harder, it's slower than I think anyone anticipated.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) California, on “Fox News Sunday”
FEINSTEIN: “I have great respect for General Petraeus. I think he really should be a command presence of all of it...”
WALLACE: “Over the civilians?”
FEINSTEIN: Over the team. If the team isn't right, I think Petraeus' views should be taken into consideration and observed by the administration. This is kind of if you will, not a last ditch stand, but it is a major change in the middle of the surge, and I think you put the general in, he should make the call. If he can't work with the ambassador, the ambassador should be changed. If he can't work with Holbrooke, that should change. I mean, I think we put all of our eggs in the Petraeus basket at this stage.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) South Carolina, on “Fox News Sunday”
“The team they had were not working well, the releasing of the memo from the embassy that the surge wouldn't work because Karzai's so corrupt. This is a chance to start over completely, and the military-civilian relationship is very important. I'll leave that up to the president, but I'm very concerned if nothing changes on the civilian side. Let me just say again, I'm not a general either, but if you're sitting down with a tribal leader and everybody in Afghanistan believes that we're going to begin to leave in July 2011 no matter what, it's going to be hard to win over people on the fence and that's gotta change, or we're gonna lose.”

Sen. John McCain (R) Arizona, on NBC’s “Meet the Press”

“Karzai is doing some of the things he's doing because he's not confident that we're going to stay. The troops on the ground are - are - in some ways confused about what the long-term strategy would be and I guess the best example I can tell you is a high ranking Taliban prisoner said you've got the watches and we've got the time. And that's what is pervading this entire environment. The fact that they think that we're going to leave.”

soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Michael Armstrong Sr. Tx.

    Making the best of a bad situation by putting Petraeus in charge may not be enough the damage is done the enemy must be fueled with success with the break down of our military maybe we need to be more aggresive and go into the places where Pakistan says we cant go and get rid of the problem .

    June 27, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  2. Adalbert

    May be we should get out. There is nothing ti win in Afghanistan.

    June 27, 2010 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  3. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Who cares what McCain says, I'm confident he doesn't know what he's talking about. A man who wanted to bomb Iran while we are in Iraq and Afghan is nuts, that's McCain.

    June 27, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    CNN is wondering why they are losing viewers and the answer is simple, Americans are socially Center Left and CNN swerved to the Right because they believed their own press that Sarah Palin was a contender and that the Tea-party was real, when they swerved Right they left their natural audience stranded.
    What CNN fail to realize, is that the Right already have a happy home in FauxNews, and they would never be able to out crazy FauxNews.

    Candy Crowley, seems to not realize who CNN natural audience is, thus they will continue to hemorrhaging viewers. – You may love Conservatives BUT they don't love you.

    June 27, 2010 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  5. Jim in St. Johns, FL

    Gosh Candy, war often doesn't "sound good"


    June 27, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  6. Jim in St. Johns, FL

    Crowley makes it sound like it's the militray leadership that is wrong. We can change that – but don't touch the imbeciles at the State Dept. This is exactly the kind of thought process that loses a conflict.

    June 27, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  7. stevegee

    How much "change" is left in your pockets?
    Vote Republican.

    June 27, 2010 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  8. GI Joe

    CNN may not be gaining GOP viewers away from FOX, but they sure are driving Independents to NBC and CBS.

    June 27, 2010 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  9. MAC

    For those who want to get out of Afganistan they should have no say in what America does if our Islamic Terrorist/Enemies take over and attack us agian. Next itme we should turn Afganistan into a parking lot!

    June 27, 2010 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  10. AnettaP21

    Insofar as this war in Afghanistan is concerned, it's past time to realize that with regards to the military aspect of the war, get the politics out of it. There should be only three rules: 1) Do whatever it takes to defeat the Taliban and Al Queda, 2) Do so while minimizing civilian damage and casualties while also increasing security for these civilians, and 3) don't settle for anything less than defeating those who promote terrorism within or without Afghanistan. This war has become more of a political battle at home than it is about defeating the Taliban and Al Queda. Call a cease fire at home and defeat the enemy in Afghanistan.

    June 27, 2010 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  11. S Callahan

    This is not our war....we are there to help those stuck in the middle of this war which can only be settled upon the return of the Lord. It's roots are long.

    June 27, 2010 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  12. Connecticut Observer

    She doesn't need a crib sheet. She simply uses the democatic party talking points.

    June 27, 2010 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |