McCain and Lieberman concerned about Afghanistan drawdown

Republican Sen. John McCain and independent Sen. Joe Lieberman — two of the dwindling bloc of senators still supporting the U.S. presence in Afghanistan — affirmed their support for the war Thursday.

Both senators also voiced their concerns about the projected troop drawdown.

At a panel hosted by the Institute for the Study of War, the two senators, along with retired Army Gen. Jack Keane, also a former vice chief of staff for the Army, said U.S. troops are succeeding in Afghanistan.

“Not only do I think we can succeed, we are succeeding now and we’ve got to succeed,” Lieberman said.

But they also said the Obama administration’s proposed troop drawdown — which would withdraw 10,000 troops this year and 23,000 by next September — would add more risk to the continuing operation in Afghanistan.

McCain said neither he nor any military expert that he knows of would agree with basing the troop withdrawals on a calendar instead of conditions in Afghanistan.

“This is now the Obama–Biden strategy,” he said. “This is not Petraeus’ strategy, or any other military leader that I know of.” (Obama unveils new counterterrorism strategy)

“I’m very, very, very worried,” McCain said.

The three panelists also expressed concern about the United States’ faltering relationship with Pakistan. The nation has been accused of harboring and abetting insurgents, and the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence is thought to have been complicit in concealing Osama Bin Laden.

McCain said the United States must do everything possible to make Pakistan, especially its intelligence service, appreciate that the American people will not support funneling tax dollars to Pakistan as foreign aid if Pakistan has factions working against the United States.

He also said he’s worried that taxpayers and politicians will stop being supportive of funding for other efforts in the region.

“I am very concerned about our long-term willingness to fund the Afghan National Army,” he said.

The panelists also addressed what they thought appropriate circumstances for removing all general-purpose troops from the region would be.

The 2014 deadline is achievable, McCain said. But it will be harder to achieve if the proposed number of troops leave in the next two years. (US cost of war at least $3.7 trillion and counting)

He said removing those troops would be justified when Afghanistan’s government resembles the current government in Iraq – a stumbling, factionalized democracy that does not pose a threat to the United States’ national security.

But the wars the United States is fighting in the region are ambiguous, Keane said.

“These are subjective judgments that are being made.”

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  • kingfish

    There are the 2 chief WAR-MONGERS again trying to gin up support for attacking more countries. Somalia was attacked by drones today — the 6th one. Surely, Americans must KNOW something is badly wrong here. I wonder how much AIPAC is paying these two to stay in front of the cameras war-mongering day in and day out. Lieberman will be leaving in 2012, but Brother Nathanael says he “will never retire” from his war-mongering. Is there ANY WAY POSSIBLE to get McCain recalled as a TRAITOR, instead of the country suffering another 5 years?

    I blame all those AZ people for voting him back in. Their discussions went on and on about how his competition wasn’t up to par, but they did NOTHING to find another candidate during the primaries, and they’ve had virtually YEARS to find a replacement.

    • kingfish

      Mr. McCain, how about signing your daughter Meghan up for service to our country in Afghanistan. We could use the troops, and you’re verifying here that you heartily support that effort. Your other children should also enlist. Put your own family where your mouth is.

  • rickyleaks

    Does reading the news lead you to believe you actually know what’s going on in America?

    This may be shocking, but here are 5 things you’re most likely wrong about.

    You never heard of Sarah Palin before she was announced as McCain’s running mate. If you believe that her name is really Sarah Palin, you’re wrong.

    Palin and McCain said they were going to reform Washington. If you think they were going to do this by getting elected, you’re wrong.

    Obama disappeared for 2 weeks after winning the election only to reappear looking exhausted sitting next to a John McCain, with a bad poker face, for a press photo shoot. If you believe Obama has free will and the feds aren’t writing his teleprompter, you’re wrong.

    If you believe that we caught Bin Laden immediately following the release of Obama’s birth certificate, you’re wrong.

    If you believe that the feds haven’t recruited editors, journalists, and moderators to write the headlines and control the commenting on major news sites in an effort to suppress this information, you’re wrong.

    The fourth of July is quickly approaching. If you love our country and want to live in a free democratic society, not an illusion, do not hesitate to share the following story. Share this with others at websites such as; Mediaite, Politico, The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, The Daily Caller, Raw Story, The Blaze, Time, and all other local online newspapers.

    This is what our federal government doesn’t want leaking out

  • BMF

    Will McCain please just go away. The guy is all over the map and no one can tell if he has any principles or not. Is he or isn’t he? Only the wind and the weather vane know for sure.

  • Hamilton-Jeffersonian

    How about a war tax, McCain and Leiberman?? You both have loved wars for the last 10 years, how about people OTHER THAN the military pay for it?