Friday, July 18, 2008

VETVOICE AND ABC NEWS REPORT ON MCCAIN'S HISTORY OF BEING WRONG ON AFGHANISTAN

McCain: A History Of Being Wrong On Afghanistan

by: Chris LeJeune
Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 11:29:37 AM EDT
From ABC News:
http://www.vetvoice.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=1629

ABC News' Z. Byron Wolf reports from Capitol Hill: The McCain campaign criticism of Sen. Barack Obama's hearing record on Capitol Hill led us to put the shoe on the other foot. It turns out that presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain has attended even fewer Afghanistan-related Senate hearings over the past two years than Obama's one. Which is a nice way of saying, McCain, R-Ariz., the top Republican on the Senate Armed Service Committee, has attended zero of his committee's six hearings on Afghanistan over the last two years.

Meanwhile, Obama attended the full Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Afghanistan in March 2007, although he used the opportunity to ask Gen. James L. Jones, then the commander of NATO, about Pakistan.

McCain's campaign claims that his years of previous foreign policy experience make up for his recent lack of attendance at hearings. But, as any combat veteran will tell you, the battlefield is fluid. It is dynamic. It is always changing. Simply because you know how Afghanistan was running in 2001, does not mean you have an idea of the reality on the ground today.

A review of the Senate Armed Services Committee hearings as listed on the committee Web site for the past two years reveals that McCain's committee has held six hearings that included the word "Afghanistan" in the title or Central Command -- which overseas U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

McCain missed them all.

He missed the hearings with Adm. William Fallon, then the CentCom commander, with authority over Afghanistan, on March 4, 2008, and May 3, 2007.

There was also hearing on June 7, 2007, on the nomination of Gen. Douglas Lute to be the White House war czar with oversight over Afghanistan.

Gen. Jones testified before the Armed Services Committee on Sept. 6, 2007, but that hearing was on Iraq and while McCain showed up late for his opening statement, he was there.
But he missed the hearing on Afghanistan strategy Feb. 14 with representatives from the State Department and Marine Lt. Gen. John Sattler.

He also missed the hearing April, 10, 2008 on the war in Iraq and the "situation in Afghanistan" where Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Michael Mullen both testified.
McCain also missed the Feb. 6, 2008 hearing where the committee considered the fiscal year request for authorizations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

However, to be honest, even if he attended the meetings I'm not sure how much he would learn from them or be able to contribute. The following video (click on this link to see video: http://www.vetvoice.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=1629) is from a McCain speech in 2003 where he downplays the importance of the fight in Afghanistan, and refers to President Karzai as the leader of Iraq. According to McCain in 2003, we can just "muddle through in Afghanistan".

And this is the experience that qualifies him to miss the above mentioned hearings.

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