VIDEO: McCain Advocates Afghanistan Surge
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — At a town hall meeting here earlier today, Sen. John McCain boldly asserted that he knows "how to win wars" — and outlined his "comprehensive strategy for victory in Afghanistan. His prescription? A new counterinsurgency strategy ore troops — three brigades to be precise.
But with the U.S. military overstretched nearly to the breaking point, you may ask, where will these additional troops come from? Simple…as the success of the troop surge in Iraq allows us to withdraw troops from that war zone, we will have troops available to send to the rapidly-deteriorating situation in Afghanistan. How’s that for boosting military morale?
A short time later, aboard the Straight Talk Express bus, McCain refined his position and told reporters that he would ask NATO member countries to supply some of the troops. From The Washington Post’s Juliet Eilperin:
"We need to work that out, we need to have greater participation from our NATO allies, and we need a lot more help from our NATO allies," the senator said. "We need to — I laid it out in my speech, we need to have strategy, not just an injection of troops. I think that’s true of all counterinsurgencies."
Our NATO allies, he added, can provide manpower as well as other resources to help assure victory in Afghanistan.
"I think we need to work with our allies to get increased materiel, command structure reform, assistance in the form of personnel," he said, adding some of these personnel can conduct the kind of "civil-military kind of work that we are doing in Iraq where we are restoring goods and services to the people. There are many areas where our NATO allies can help us, that’s one of them."
McCain spokeswoman Nicolle Wallace said later that U.S. troops will compose some of the additional brigades McCain would send to Afghanistan, but not all of them. "Will we contribute? Of course we will," she said.
McCain also vowed to appoint an Afghanistan war czar, a "highly-respected national-security leader, based in the White House, to answer directly to the president — whose sole mission will be to ensure that we bring the war in Afghanistan to a successful close." For those of you who just experienced déjà vu, last year President George W. Bush created a similar "war czar" to oversee the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — and had, to put it politely, some difficulties filling the position. By the way, whatever happened to that guy? There probably aren’t more than a dozen people in the country who can name him right now. Kudos to you if you can. Another highlight: You better watch out, Osama bin Laden, because McCain is a-comin’ for you!
Here’s a 10-minute video clip from today’s town hall, in which McCain lays out his plan.