Graham: Leave more troops in Afghanistan

Just now seeing this release that moved late yesterday:

Graham, Ayotte, McCain Issue Statement on Afghanistan

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Kelly Ayotte (R-New Hampshire), and John McCain (R-Arizona) today made the following statement on Afghanistan.

“We hope a recent press report that the White House is considering a post-2014 force in Afghanistan well below the recommendations of our military commanders is incorrect.

“After 13 years of sacrifice and investment, success in Afghanistan is now within our grasp. The last thing we should do in the coming years is increase the risks to our mission unnecessarily. We believe the recommendations of our military leaders represent sound military advice and would allow for continued U.S. support in the areas still needed by Afghan security forces. Maintaining several thousand additional U.S. troops in Afghanistan could mean the difference between success and failure.

“This is the lesson of Iraq. The administration ignored sound military advice and adopted a high risk strategy of withdrawing all U.S. troops. The result, tragically, is a resurgent Al-Qaeda, rising violence, and growing risk of renewed sectarian conflict. That fatal mistake in Iraq must not be repeated in Afghanistan.

“We stand ready to support a follow-on force that is consistent with the recommendations of our military commanders and that will end the war in Afghanistan with success.”


I generally agree. The total pullout from Iraq was a terrible move, and I’d hate to see it repeated. Too many have sacrificed too much to abandon Afghanistan to the Taliban.

17 thoughts on “Graham: Leave more troops in Afghanistan

  1. Doug Ross

    “success in Afghanistan is now within our grasp.”

    Define “success”. How long will it take to achieve it and how will we know when we get there?

    He should finish his press releases on the war with:

    This propaganda has been brought to you by Halliburton, Lockheed Martin, and General Dynamics.

  2. Brad Warthen Post author

    Also… often, when people say, “How long will it take to achieve it and how will we know when we get there?,” what they mean is, “OK, if we can’t leave now, when can we leave?”

    Success in Afghanistan means, at the minimal level, the Taliban doesn’t control the country and provide a safe haven for al Qaeda and similar organizations. That is why we’re there — to prevent that.

    And I don’t see any time in the foreseeable future when we could completely abandon the country and not experience failure on that point. But I’m certainly no expert. Maybe the generals see a time when certain goals are achieved that provide us with sufficient confidence in the Afghan military and other institutions that we can safely leave. I’m not sufficiently in touch with the situation to know. So I leave it to the experts — the generals. And if the experts say we need X level of presence to keep things from totally collapsing, I tend to believe them.

    So I wouldn’t for a moment consider shortchanging the Pentagon recommendation on such a thing.

    1. Doug Ross

      So what you are saying is that success is NOT within our grasp. That we must commit to being the “cop on the beat” indefinitely.

      1. Doug Ross

        Plus the generals have a vested interest to keep the military large and engaged. A general’s gotta general something.

        1. Silence

          I’d rather fight militant Islamists and terrorists in Afghanistan than in Blythewood, but that’s just my personal preference.

          1. Doug Ross

            How about this? Me and my redneck buddies will pull a Red Dawn operation and fight the terrorists that make it to Blythewood. Meanwhile, we’ll let all those American soldiers come home to their families and be safe.

            I have ZERO fear of terrorists invading the U.S. and I (unfortunately) have no doubt that a small group of terrorists could do SOMETHING, SOMEWHERE in the U.S. despite all the billions spent on fighting a war on the other side of the world.

            1. Silence

              Doug Ross, you do not have any redneck buddies, so stop pretending! How are you going to pull a Red Dawn operation without any guns? And if it’s Islamic terrorists, wouldn’t it be a Crescent Dawn, instead of a Red Dawn?

              RIP Patrick Swayze

            2. Doug Ross

              @Silence – you don’t know me well enough. I’ve got an chaw-chewin’, ex-Desert Storm special forces buddy (complete with barbed wire bicep tattoo) in Blythewood who would gladly eviscerate any terrorist who made it past the BBQ joint on Main St. I’ve got another friend who spends most of his time on weekends in trees huntin’ deer. He’d put a bullet in Baghdad Bob from 100 yards away and have him dressed out before sunrise.

  3. bud

    I see the light at the end of the tunnel. Of course we need to get out of Afghanistan. It can never be won. Only more death, destruction and money thrown down a rat hole. This is simple. Get the Hell out. NOW!!!

  4. Phillip

    I continue to be mystified by this line, oft-repeated by neocon interventionists such as Graham, McCain, and yourself, Brad…that leaving Iraq was some kind of mistake that “we” made as if this were a decision that was entirely up to us. My memory is that a fairly wide array of factions within Iraqi society were sort of on the same side in saying it was time for us to get out entirely.

    How does one manage to keep troops in a foreign country that does not want those troops on its soil, other than as a unilateral, hostile move. This “parallel universe” outcome that Graham and McCain and you wish would have happened in Iraq, is just a hallucinatory fantasy. It had no chance of happening (troops remaining there) and in fact might have made things worse.

    1. Bryan Caskey


      I know. Pretty sure we could have gotten one if we had negotiated for it. I respectfully disagree that we had “no chance” of keeping troops there.

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