This is, this is so important at a time when I think
is so grateful, and thankful for our fighting men and women in
and the incredible sacrifices that, that they offer day in and day out. The debate about the war still matters, and maybe too few Americans are really engaged in it, and that's why we wanted to dedicate the time here. Congresswoman
, the most important aspect, I think, of this interview that I just did with
is about when the
come home. A year from now they're supposed to start coming out. Now, the president was asked about that
timetable, and this is what he said about it this week.
We did not say that starting
suddenly there would be no
or allied countries in
. We didn't say we'd be switching off the lights and closing the door behind us. What we said is we'd begin a transition phase in which the
is taking on more and more responsibility.
Now, you heard
say that's too opaque, that's too vague. The president ought to really level with the country and say, "We don't know how it's going to go. We may need more
." Where do you come down?
. Nearly a decade ago, the
were told that we were going into
Osama bin Laden
and to stop
. At this point, we have to look at what has happened during that last 10 years. Has our goal and mission been accomplished? The reason I could not support giving then
and any subsequent president a blank check to wage
was precisely because of what has happened. The American people, had they known that this would be the
in history, I think there would have been much more debate and discussion in
. And there may have been a three-hour discussion before this authorization was granted. I think we need an exit strategy, we need a plan, we need a, a way to begin to redeploy our young men and women out of harm's way, and we need to look at how to move forward.
Do you think the president's backtracking when you hear him say, "Hey, we never said we were just going to
turn the lights out
I think the public expects a review in December. The public respects us to begin to end this in July of next year. I, for one, do not believe that we should have even gone there. Again, we have to remember why we went to
But, but my question, Congresswoman, do you believe the president was backtracking in those remarks? A lot of people on the left were concerned about it.
I hope the president is not backtracking. I believe that the longer we stay in
-- excuse me, in
, we're going to hear generals say, and come to us, say -- and say, "It may not be working. We need more money, more time, more
." Or, if there's progress being made, we're going to hear the generals saying, "We need more money, more
, and a longer
." So I believe that we need to stick with what the president initially said, and that is to begin to end this next July.
is -- for
, in his new piece --
who's covered the strategy, covered the war extensively, wrote this this week:
is going to have to be less coy with the public about what is really going to happen in
, even if that risks alienated his party's vestigial anti-war base. He is going to have to make it clear that `significant' troop withdrawals -- a word bandied around in recent weeks -- are not in the cards unless the situation on the
changes dramatically, for good or for ill."
GEN. BARRY McCAFFREY (Ret.):
, this is a political dilemma, not a
one. There's 7,000 killed and wounded, $5.4 billion a month, the
don't support the war. We have a goofy, incompetent
. We're trying to build an Afghan
and get it largely done in a very short period of time. None of this is going to work the way we're going about it. So, again, back to, I think, the congresswoman's remarks, you either got to pull out in, in a stated
with huge negative consequences, potentially, to
, the Afghans themselves,
U.S. foreign policy
; or you, you announce that we're in there until we have achieved a stable
, what is the argument to be made in support of the president sticking -- as they are doing. I've spoken to
officials; they're sticking to this
. They emphasize this is not a, you know, a time when everybody comes out, it's the beginning of a process and there will still be significant numbers of
MR. WES MOORE:
Well, I think it's important to understand that we are going on close to 10 years. But this war has not been a priority for close to 10 years. I mean, in the time when I was over there, we had around -- a little over 19,000
to cover a land mass that is 50 percent larger than
. So this was never a large priority on the side.
think the problem is when you have second-tier priorities, you get second-tier results. There, there is no one who wants us to redeploy more than me. For every day for the past 10 years I have either been in harm's way or had friends who have been in harm's way. So I want -- no one more than me wants this to end. But we also understand the consequences and ramifications for having a pre-emptive pullout without any type of understanding or real comprehension of the conditions on the
Do you agree with what
said, which is maybe the president needs to say, "Look, we're properly resourcing the war. I can't tell you how it ends by that point. We may need more
if we're going to get this done right. We're in -- we're in for 10 years almost, nine years. We got to do it right."
Well, I think the indication that we have right now is that the system that we have in place and the systems that we put in place over the past few years are actually starting to show some results. We have a 30 percent increase in Afghan
participation. We now are finally seeing complete integration between the civilian side and
side. These are important developments if we're going to see that type of progress in
. But I do think the crucial thing to remember throughout
all this is that
the decisions on the
and the conditions on the
need to be the thing to help guide the policy.
I'm not sure we're having complete integration between the civilian and the
side in terms of what's happening on the
there. But we're going to return to that in just a minute.
, weigh in on that.
I've been reporting from
since '96, for
the first 10 years
of that, from the perspective of the
. It's of incredible concern to me. I mean, human -- these are
human rights watch
has been there, 16,000 Afghan civilians have died in combat operations. It's a horrifying number. That ended a period of violence in
where 400,000 Afghans were killed. So we really do need to assess the effect of pulling out on the
, first of all. It's -- people back here don't realize that. I think that, you know, the left --
-- when they talk about withdrawal, their concern is the humanitarian impacts of war. But they do not remember the '90s.