Hagel in 2011: ‘I disagreed’ with Obama’s troop surge in Afghanistan

Nicholas Ballasy Senior Video Reporter
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In August 2011, former Nebraska Sen. and current defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel said he disagreed with President Barack Obama’s decision to order a troop surge in Afghanistan.

“I disagreed with the President Obama — his decision to surge in Afghanistan — as I did with President Bush on the surge in Iraq,” Hagel told the Financial Times on August 29, 2011.

“Of course, no force in the world can stand the sophisticated power of American military. Nobody can stay on the field with you, but that’s not the issue. That never was the question.”

Hagel then laid out a series of questions he thought should have been asked by the Defense Department about the war in Afghanistan. (RELATED: Media Matters for America funder emerges as major backer of pro-Hagel ads)

“The question is then, ‘What happens next? Where is this going? What is the end game? Is this going to lead to a unified nation? Is this going to lead to a national resolution of national governance, of freedom for individuals? Is that what we’re buying here?’ That’s the question,” Hagel said.

“It isn’t, ‘Can our power do that?’ Of course our power can do that, but you can’t sustain that, and so what did we accomplish? I think that is yet to be decided.”

In December 2009, Obama decided to send an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan. In September 2012, the Defense Department announced that the surge effort had been completed.

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