Following a press conference today on the situation in Afghanistan, five Republican Study Committee members of the freshman class who served in the Armed Forces and RSC Chairman Tom Price released the following statements encouraging President Obama to listen to his top commander on the ground, General Stanley McChrystal.
"As the President's appointed military leader in Afghanistan, General McChrystal has clearly defined the objectives and metrics for victory," said Rep. Duncan Hunter, an Iraq and Afghanistan combat veteran. "It would be irresponsible to take any action other than what General McChrystal has recommended, which includes adding at least 40,000 troops to the region. Victory in Afghanistan is well within reach, but it will only be possible if our military leadership and combat forces receive the resources they need to win."
"As a Marine Corps combat veteran, I know firsthand how critical it is to provide our field commanders the resources they need," said. Rep. Mike Coffman, a Gulf War combat veteran who returned to service in Iraq in 2005. "I am deeply concerned that General Stanley McChrystal's report may have been constrained by strong opposition to committing more resources publicly voiced by congressional Democrat leaders and some in the Administration. It is for this reason I am joining my colleagues here to today to reiterate our call for the Administration to allow Gen. McChrystal to testify before Congress. Gen. McChrystal has stated that unless the President provides the full resources of a counter-insurgency strategy and does so quickly, the U.S. risks mission failure' in less than a year. It is disconcerting that a month and a half after receiving Gen. McChrystal's report the President has yet to make a decision on the General's request and instead he is considering moving the goal posts for success he set just a few months ago. We are at a defining moment in America's involvement with Afghanistan and we hope the President will not let political calculations at home cloud his decision making on a military strategy for Afghanistan."
"General McChrystal's assessment is clear that the situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating and that failure to change the mission would cast serious doubt on our ability to achieve our goals," said Rep. Tom Rooney, a veteran of the U.S. Army. "Having a comprehensive counter insurgency strategy requires not only providing security to the people of Afghanistan, but also integrating ourselves into their culture and legitimizing the Afghan government. Per General McChrystal, to be successful in Afghanistan we need a clear anti-insurgent strategy and the troops necessary to effectively carry out a well defined mission. We cannot allow Afghanistan to become a terrorist safe haven like in the years before the 9/11 attacks. President Obama ordered General McChrystal to develop a counterinsurgency strategy earlier this year and now it's time for the President and the Congress to provide the troops and resources necessary to carry out this mission. I also hope that General McChrystal will be able to come and appear before the House Armed Services Committee so my colleagues and I can have the opportunity to question him and discuss this new strategy."
"President Obama selected General McChrystal to lead the war in Afghanistan and requested a report on how to achieve that goal," said Rep. Pete Olson, a former naval aviator. "The General completed the report and unequivocally stated the need for additional troops to win the war. Now the President is backing away from his support for the troops on the ground. As a result, troop morale suffers and we lose ground in our effort. Gen. McChrystal should be allowed to come to Congress and make his case to Congressional leadership and the American people. President Obama needs to lead and provide the support necessary for our troops to win the war."
"One lesson my military service instilled in me is the principle of always trusting the commander on the ground,'" said Rep. John Fleming a veteran of the U.S. Navy. "If Gen. McChrystal feels additional resources are needed on the battlefield in Afghanistan, then the Congress should stand ready to fully support that request. We owe nothing less than a free and stable democracy to the people of Afghanistan."
"President Obama has expressed the importance of listening to our commanders on the ground on numerous occasions," said RSC Chairman Tom Price. "And seven months ago, he signaled support for a fully resourced counterinsurgency campaign to defeat both al Qaeda and their Taliban allies. The equivocation now emanating from the White House on this strategic issue is very concerning. Our top commanders have declared that anything less than a strong counterinsurgency campaign severely impacts the ability to achieve our goals in Afghanistan. If we are going to commit even one American soldier to combat, we must do so with the strategy that gives our military the best chances for success. Our military has made clear what that strategy is, and it's time for the President to listen."