McKeon criticizes president for not touting victories in Afghanistan

Associated Press
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, represents California’s 25th Congressional District, which covers most of Simi Valley, as well as Antelope and Santa Clarita valleys and portions of the San Fernando Valley.

Photo by J. Scott Applewhite

Associated Press House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, represents California’s 25th Congressional District, which covers most of Simi Valley, as well as Antelope and Santa Clarita valleys and portions of the San Fernando Valley.

WASHINGTON — Americans are “sick and tired” of the war in Afghanistan, but there have been strategic and moral victories over the Taliban they seldom hear about from President Barack Obama, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said Monday.

“So if the president of the United States won’t give this speech, I will,” Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, told a luncheon audience at The National Press Club.

McKeon, whose district includes most of Simi Valley, repeatedly criticized the president for not letting the public know that the troops working with the Afghan National Security Forces are having an impact and improving the lives of civilians, particularly women.

“For the life of me, I can’t figure out why the president hasn’t taken credit for these victories,” he said. “The gains since 2009 are threefold — strategic, diplomatic and moral.”

He later noted that Afghanistan is still a monumental challenge.

McKeon also took shots at the way the White House has second-guessed counterinsurgency experts such as former Gen. David Petraeus and other military planners.

During a question-and-answer session, he was asked about plans to be unveiled by the Pentagon that will reduce the Army to the smallest it has been in several decades.

“In the last few years, we have changed our strategy that has stood us well since World War II — to be able to be equipped and ready to go (with) two major contingencies at a time. We have cut that back to fight one and hold one,” McKeon responded. “What we’re trying to do is solve our financial problems on the backs of our military, and that can’t be done.”

During his speech, he argued that war planning has been politicized.

“Even though the way that this White House has run this war has been outrageous — with White House staffers telling four-star generals their business — there has been unmistakable progress,” he said.

McKeon announced in January that he will not seek re-election and has endorsed Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, as his successor on the committee. He spent Monday morning with Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and the other “Big Eight” members — the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate Armed Services committees and the defense appropriations subcommittee chairmen — going over the Pentagon budget to be released next week. Hagel provided several details about the budget in a separate speech Monday.

The Pentagon is expected to ask for $496 billion base budget for the year beginning Oct. 1. A senior House Armed Services staffer later confirmed that the Pentagon will be seeking another base realignment and closure commission, but that it is too soon to know if or how that would affect specific installations such as Naval Base Ventura County.

At the Press Club, McKeon discussed agreements involving Afghanistan, the U.S. and NATO, as well as the assistance pledged the country through 2017 at recent multilateral conferences. He stressed that without a Bilateral Security Agreement, which President Hamid Karzai has refused to sign, gains can be lost.

“Put plainly, without our support — and that support includes presence and money — the Afghan Security Forces can’t execute,” he said.

McKeon made an case for sticking with the Afghanistan. “We owe it to ourselves to have a frank discussion about America’s moral responsibility in Afghanistan,” he said. “The Taliban are brutal.”

McKeon said he has watched a steady improvement in the living conditions in Afghanistan, including an increase in male life expectancy from 37 to 56 years since 2000, the addition of miles of paved roads and nearly 8 million children attending schools, including 3 million girls.

Asked by an audience member what the U.S. has got out of the years in Afghanistan, McKeon referred to improved treatment of “wounded warriors,” better intelligence capabilities, the use of drones to keep soldiers safer and how to dismantle the improvised explosive devices used by terrorists worldwide.

Pressed on drone strikes that have killed civilians and turned some people against the U.S., he acknowledged that there have been some civilian deaths but noted all wars have them. He argued that he would rather equip soldiers with an advantage over the enemy, saying: “I’d never want to send our troops into a fair fight.”

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Comments » 26

cassandra9 writes:

This has to be one of the most audacious bizarre reframings of all time. What a spin!

The president is advised by the military to "surge" in Afghanistan. It goes badly and it's the president's fault because he did not fully believe in the success of the undertaking? This from Gates who gave the president the bad advice.

Gates could have manned up, as they say, and admit it was bum advice, his bad, sorry. But no, the president is bad because he didn't fully believe in the stupid advice given to him by a military that should have known better!

Greenwald did and outlined the problems in a widely seen documentary. The Russians who got their a-- handed to them in Afghanistan, the killer of empires, did. The British who also etcetera, and if Alexander the Great were around, he too, could have told him.

Even Mr. Republican George Will got this one right.

And now when it is completely apparent that a. there was no there there--no nation to begin with in this rag tag collection of tribes b. the installed ally government was corrupt and distrusted by all a c. everyone on the Left and a lot of folks on the right saw the trap, the president is bad again because the good things that our people were able to accomplish at extreme cost to themselves were not trumpeted to the hills?

What a piece of political poo poo this McKeon is.

waddy1 writes:

If it does not involve fund rasing, a photo opp, a party, pushing a failed medical plan, golf, or an over the top vacation. He does not have the time.

RIGHTisRIGHT writes:

If McKeon had a D following his name,the libs would be all over themselves with praise.
Left wing hypocrisy is never a surprise.

Eagleshift writes:

McKeon and his ilk are the kind of politicians who take us into these failed wars time and time again. They then seek to distance themselves from the mess they themselves have created. By the way this guy was wrong about Iraq too. Once a person hears a quote like "moral" victory you know it's all nonsense.
Obama's failure is in listening to these losers instead of immediately leaving both wars like he promised during his campaign. Obamas own failed warmongering has been a huge bust too.

Mina writes:

in response to Eagleshift:

McKeon and his ilk are the kind of politicians who take us into these failed wars time and time again. They then seek to distance themselves from the mess they themselves have created. By the way this guy was wrong about Iraq too. Once a person hears a quote like "moral" victory you know it's all nonsense.
Obama's failure is in listening to these losers instead of immediately leaving both wars like he promised during his campaign. Obamas own failed warmongering has been a huge bust too.

Right on!

Mina writes:

McKeon should be talking about the disgusting way we treat our veterans and the backlog of disability claims, but he's not going to bring it up because he support's war contractors, not veterans.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/gop-sen-v...

Mina writes:

Maybe if congress had raised the taxes to fully fund the Bush Wars, we'd be done by now.

It's been over ten years since Bush declared "mission accomplished", but his something for nothing war continues to bleed us.

waynes-world writes:

We had no business getting into a war with no clear mission and no end game, The only talk about Afghanistan should be when we are leaving.

Eagleshift writes:

in response to RIGHTisRIGHT:

If McKeon had a D following his name,the libs would be all over themselves with praise.
Left wing hypocrisy is never a surprise.

Not true Right.
These failed wars started because of right wing warmongering AND left wing warmongering or weakness. The Dems bought this one too and most libs I know admit it.
Always seeing the world in a left right way is a way to see we all go down..together.

OnTheOutside writes:

in response to RIGHTisRIGHT:

If McKeon had a D following his name,the libs would be all over themselves with praise.
Left wing hypocrisy is never a surprise.

True

Eagleshift writes:

in response to OnTheOutside:

True

I'll refer you to my previous comment.

Cy writes:

Does anyone remember who was living in a cave in Afghanistan?

Everyone bought into this war. The problem was...what is our purpose after we engaged?

If we leave who builds back up in the vacuum? Will this become another state like Iran sponsoring terror and pushing for nukes? How long until Pakistan shares nuclear technology with a new anti-western government in Afghanistan? Once we are gone the Afghanis are going to hate us.

Where are our "allies" now? Should we disengage with the world and let somebody else deal with terrorists in the future?

As for Obama, he was gifted this mess, but since he politicked against it he remains silent about it hoping nobody notices he continued the same policy.

TheCrusader writes:

Looks like old Buck is trying to hide the fact that he helped Bush get us into this war that added a trillion to the debt and lead to the deaths of thousands all for a place that will look just like it did 10 minutes after we leave.

Piru_T writes:

in response to TheCrusader:

Looks like old Buck is trying to hide the fact that he helped Bush get us into this war that added a trillion to the debt and lead to the deaths of thousands all for a place that will look just like it did 10 minutes after we leave.

Obama was in full support of the Afghan war, and why are you bring Bush into this?

All that Buck is doing is is asking the question, why is Obumbles forsaking our troops and their hard fought accomplishments in Afghanistan, that's all.

The majority of US Troops have died under Obumbles and he does not even give a rip about what they have died for and accomplishments that should be victorious are not even being raised.

This President is not worthy of holding the office or title of Commander in Chief of the United States of America !

He is by far the most incompetent and unworthy president in over a century, without a doubt !

craig#262778 writes:

in response to Mina:

Maybe if congress had raised the taxes to fully fund the Bush Wars, we'd be done by now.

It's been over ten years since Bush declared "mission accomplished", but his something for nothing war continues to bleed us.

I see you have 2662 posts. Nuff said...

TheCrusader writes:

in response to Piru_T:

Obama was in full support of the Afghan war, and why are you bring Bush into this?

All that Buck is doing is is asking the question, why is Obumbles forsaking our troops and their hard fought accomplishments in Afghanistan, that's all.

The majority of US Troops have died under Obumbles and he does not even give a rip about what they have died for and accomplishments that should be victorious are not even being raised.

This President is not worthy of holding the office or title of Commander in Chief of the United States of America !

He is by far the most incompetent and unworthy president in over a century, without a doubt !

When you name call "Obumbles" it makes you look very very ignorant. Grow up! Obama is more qualified to be Commander and Chief than you will ever be! Bush and every republican who ever held the office was incompetent and totally unworthy, you just don't have the integrity to admit it, but you know it down deep.

poncho writes:

Unfortunately, it seems anyone capable of being a great president wants no part of the job. Who's next?

TheCrusader writes:

“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either." Jesus Christ. Hey Buck, would Jesus brag about our victories in Afganistan?

waynes-world writes:

in response to TheCrusader:

When you name call "Obumbles" it makes you look very very ignorant. Grow up! Obama is more qualified to be Commander and Chief than you will ever be! Bush and every republican who ever held the office was incompetent and totally unworthy, you just don't have the integrity to admit it, but you know it down deep.

If Obama, the "community organizer" ran a hot dog stand:
1) They would cost $12.00
2) Taste horrible
3) You would be forced to buy them
4) The hot dog stand would still operate at a deficit.

TheCrusader writes:

in response to waynes-world:

If Obama, the "community organizer" ran a hot dog stand:
1) They would cost $12.00
2) Taste horrible
3) You would be forced to buy them
4) The hot dog stand would still operate at a deficit.

If Wayne the tea partier ran a hot dog stand:
1. The roads would be so bad you could never get there.
2. They would be made from sick and rotten animals of all kinds because of no regulation and bits of human fingers like in the Jungle.
3. You would have no money to buy them because the tea party policies would have given every penny to billionaires and you would be broke and out of work.
4. The hot dog stand would go bankrupt in a day, the same way they destroyed the economy in 2008.

waynes-world writes:

in response to TheCrusader:

If Wayne the tea partier ran a hot dog stand:
1. The roads would be so bad you could never get there.
2. They would be made from sick and rotten animals of all kinds because of no regulation and bits of human fingers like in the Jungle.
3. You would have no money to buy them because the tea party policies would have given every penny to billionaires and you would be broke and out of work.
4. The hot dog stand would go bankrupt in a day, the same way they destroyed the economy in 2008.

Well working in fast food as you do I must defer to your expertise on the matter.

TheCrusader writes:

in response to waynes-world:

Well working in fast food as you do I must defer to your expertise on the matter.

At least I work Wayne, unlike you who lives off the Government entitlement check every month.

waynes-world writes:

in response to TheCrusader:

At least I work Wayne, unlike you who lives off the Government entitlement check every month.

Yes you do work hard, I heard you made "associate of the month" for your outstanding service at the fryer.
Personally there is no one better that changes my Depends and I have nothing but the highest regard for your efficiency. Keep up the good work Crusader, please pick up my entitlement check on your next "Diaper run"
BWAAAAAAAAAAA

Piru_T writes:

in response to TheCrusader:

When you name call "Obumbles" it makes you look very very ignorant. Grow up! Obama is more qualified to be Commander and Chief than you will ever be! Bush and every republican who ever held the office was incompetent and totally unworthy, you just don't have the integrity to admit it, but you know it down deep.

So you don't like Obumbles?

How about Irkel ?

Very similar if you ask me, and who gives a rip about what you think is ignorant, you don't have a freaking clue as to reality and you obviously have depended on government for you survival, where I haven't !

I as do most hard working people want government out of the way to allow business to have a chance at survival, you on the other hand are looking for a handout at every turn, as most Democrats do.

OnTheOutside writes:

in response to Eagleshift:

I'll refer you to my previous comment.

No need. Right's comment was true.

OnTheOutside writes:

in response to TheCrusader:

“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either." Jesus Christ. Hey Buck, would Jesus brag about our victories in Afganistan?

*Afghanistan

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