June 25th, 2011
12:06 PM ET
11 years ago

DeMint: America should 'finish the job' in Afghanistan

Washington (CNN) - Sen. Jim DeMint is criticizing President Obama’s decision to draw down troops in Afghanistan, telling CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley that the United States needs to “finish the job” there.

“I’m concerned about what the president said earlier this week,” DeMint, a South Carolina Republican, said. “I think we need to finish the job to honor the people that have lost their lives.”

When pressed on the cost of the war, estimated at nearly $10 billion per month, DeMint said the potential costs of leaving Afghanistan too early would end up costing American taxpayers much more.

“The most expensive thing we could do may be to withdraw too quickly and find ourselves in a fray again and starting over,” DeMint said.

While DeMint supported leaving American troops in Afghanistan, he said the faltering U.S. economy couldn’t support intervention in other places around the world, including Libya.

“It’s not a matter anymore of what we want to do or what we should do,” DeMint said. “We certainly want to protect lives in Libya, in Yemen, and other places. Frankly we can’t afford it anymore. We can’t continue to be the sugar daddy to the world when we have to borrow money from China to do our mission in Libya.”

Crowley’s full interview with DeMint will air Sunday morning at 9 a.m. ET on CNN’s "State of the Union."

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Ed Texas

    Demint is trying to score political points with his Yaw Who Southern constituants. Anything the President is for, this guy is against. Forgot what is best for the country, he's only concerned about getting Obama removed in 2012.

    June 25, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  2. tblodge

    When will reporters/correspondents ask significant questions: Mr. DeMint, define victory in Afghanistan? How long are you willing to fund the battle to achieve "victory"? How many troops are enough? How will we know when "victory" has been achieved? Can democracy be imposed on another country? Should part of foreign policy be nation building? What are the costs that you, Mr. DeMint, state the US will bear if we leave leave too early? If the polls of the American public show a disdain, a frustration, a weariness for the "war" in Afghanistan, shouldn't POTUS factor public opinion into the calculus of how long to continue the battle? When does a politician ignore poles and follow party ideology?

    June 25, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  3. Canuck

    What job??? Bin Laden is dead, isn't that what this was about?? What is the object of being there now?? Typical Republican, slam the Democrats but don't offer a solution.

    June 25, 2011 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  4. jules sand-perkins

    Senator DeMint is absolutely correct: we should stay in Afghanistan until our victory there is unquestionable.
    America needs to stop running away from every military action in which we become involved.
    This tough one would be a good place to start winning again.

    June 25, 2011 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  5. GonzoinHouston

    We lost Afghanistan over a year ago, when Karzai stole the last presidential election. At that point he became just another self-appointed despot. The only difference to the population was whether they were abused by the Taliban or abused by the national police. In that situation, they were more likely to support or aid the Taliban than they were the current government.

    Gonzo's 2nd rule of Asymmetric Warfare states that "the incumbent government must not only be morally superior to the insurgents, it must be superior to what the civilians ls believe the insurgents will be." When the national government ceased being a real democracy, it lost its most important advantage.

    There will be some sort of political agreement, and we will eventually withdraw, and inside of six months the Taliban will again rule Afghanistan. Whether they will get involved with terrorists like Al-Qaida again is yet to be seen.
    (Gonzo's 1st rule, incidentally, is "the eventual winner in an asymmetrical conflict is most likely to be whoever has the most support from the civilian population.")

    June 25, 2011 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |

    Well Senator DeMint, should we go backand finish the Vietnam war too? Even more, what about Iraq? Such foolish rambling.Senator. More money for war, none for Social Security?
    It is obvious that the GOP is in a state of confusion and cannot focus on what they stand for, IF anything.
    The GOP is for Big Business, the Oil Companies, a non-regulated Stock Market and Banking Industry. This country was built on the backs of the working men and women of this nation. The rich need to step up and pay their share of taxes. The middle and working class have carried your burden for too long.

    June 25, 2011 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  7. Michael

    "Frankly we can’t afford it anymore. We can’t continue to be the sugar daddy to the world when we have to borrow money from China to do our mission in Libya.”


    Fine, Mr. DeMint. However, you do remember that every dime that President Bush shoved into the Iraq War was borrowed as well? Bush wouldn't even put it in the budget. He used "supplemental budget bills" to have that money borrowed and spent on an illegal war that he lied to Congress about. That war has cost the United States more than a trillion dollars and is still in need of more money every day.

    Also, Mr. DeMint. If you do really believe that "we cannot afford it" and we can't be "the sugar daddy to the world" then why does your party refuse to consider some serious defense cuts? Certainly we have armed forces in places around the world where we don't need them anymore. Certainly we continue to sell contracts to make armaments that are no longer needed in order to prop up jobs in the defense industry. Talk about serious defense cuts and I'll believe your statement about our nation not being able to afford this.

    June 25, 2011 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  8. vic , nashville ,tn

    Clearly Americans overwhelmingly in favor of a withdrawal

    War always higher tax or debt

    Sen, Jim DeMints not listening

    June 25, 2011 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  9. Larry Laguardia

    what does "finish the job" mean? Killing every able-bodied Afghan male? We got bin Laden, now let's go home. let the Afghans sort themselves out.

    June 25, 2011 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  10. Kwesoe

    A republican talking from both sides of his mouth. On the one hand, we need to finish the job in Afganistan but on the other hand, we can't afford to keep borrowing money from China for the war. How do you win a war if you don't fund the operation?

    June 25, 2011 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
1 2