Who decide required troop strength?
Senator Mitch McConnell has accepted another responsibility, apparently. The most unpopular Senator in America wants to second guess the President and military commanders’ decision on Afghanistan troop strength.
The Commander in Chief makes the determination based on advice from the Secretary of Defense and Military Commanders. It is an executive responsibility. It is not the Kentucky Senator’s responsibility.
He can offer his advice and opinion. But, he has no more experience in the military than the President. He has access to the military leadership, though he is not a member of the executive branch.
Wandering around the world espousing his opinion isn’t helpful when there remains a pile of debt and other needs at home.
Are Kentucky seniors worried about getting their Social Security checks on time? How’s the economy back home, Senator McConnell? Maybe he has an idea. Draft 10,000 Kentucky sharpshooters for Afghan duty for an unspecified duration. That would help the local economy. Send over General McConnell to supervise with his boots on the ground.
“The Topline: Republican senators returning from Afghanistan were optimistic about the country’s future Monday, even as potential fights loom between the GOP and President Obama.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) led a delegation of four Republican senators — three of them freshmen — to Afghanistan and Israel over the weekend. McConnell told reporters Monday that he felt, for the first time, a sense of optimism about Afghanistan, so long as the United States keeps roughly 10,000 troops in the country after handing off security to the Afghans in 2014.
McConnell’s number is the first concrete volley from Republicans in what could become a heated debate over the U.S. future in Afghanistan.
GOP defense hawks like Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have not specified the troop levels they believe are necessary there, but both are expected to want a robust U.S. presence to help keep the Taliban at bay when NATO hands over security control to the Afghans in 2014.
That could put them at odds with the White House, which is accelerating the hand-off of combat lead operations to the Afghans to spring 2013, Obama announced Friday.
The administration hasn’t said how many troops it will keep in Afghanistan post-2014 — or how quickly it will draw down the 66,000 currently stationed there — but those decisions should be near as U.S. Afghan commander Gen. John Allen has submitted his recommendations.
McCain and his allies were angry with Obama over pulling out all U.S. troops from Iraq, which occurred after Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki refused to grant U.S. troops immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai hinted that problem would not stop a U.S.-Afghan security agreement. But White House officials last week said that a “zero option,” where all U.S. forces do leave Afghanistan, is still on the table.