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MSNBC "The Ed Show" - Transcript

Interview

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Let me bring in New York Congressman Eric Massa, retired Naval commander, and sits on the Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees. Congressman, great to have you with us tonight.

I think I speak for a lot of progressives across the country. When it comes to confidence for a successful conclusion in Afghanistan, I think a lot of people are fresh out. How do you feel about knowing that there"s going to be 30,000 more troops going to Afghanistan in year number nine?

REP. ERIC MASSA (D), NEW YORK: Well, first off, let me just say that nobody wants the president to succeed more than I do, because if he succeeds, our country succeeds. But putting 30,000 more in Afghanistan is like pouring a bag of sand in a broken New Orleans levee. Even General Petraeus, who wrote the current insurgency strategy that we"re supposed to be following, said we should have over 300,000 more.

No sector of the American society has borne the burden of this war against terrorism more than the uniform military of the United States and their families. Yet, now we will continue to ask for no sacrifice from the American people. I don"t understand the strategy. If it"s to build an Afghan nation, we"re on a fool"s errand.

SCHULTZ: OK. so you would advise the president, don"t to this and begin a draw down?

MASSA: Absolutely. We invaded Afghanistan with 1,000 special forces personnel over eight years ago, 2,969 Days we"re up to. That" eight times longer--five times longer than World War I, three times longer than World War II. Those 1,000 special forces personnel achieved military victory unheard of in the 21st century; 98 percent of everybody that we located--these are who did us harm or would do us harm--were killed or captured.

It is time to declare victory and come home. Should terrorism and terrorists resurface anywhere in the world, let alone Afghanistan, we"ll take the actions that are necessary. Not with the force of occupation of over 100,000 American military personnel.

SCHULTZ: Congressman, are you concerned the Taliban would get even more control of the country than they have right now, and create a safe haven for al Qaeda to set up shop, that would eventually come over here and hit us again?

MASSA: Ed, there is no safe haven should we choose a military option to make sure there is not. In fact, in a country that is built along tribal lines and tribal boundaries, for us to back one of the most corrupt central governments created since that which we saw in South Vietnam, I think is a tremendous strategic mistake.

SCHULTZ: Congressman, the president is a cerebral guy. He"s not a military guy. But he"s a is a cerebral guy. He"s invested in the issues big-time. He"s not just a quick study. He spends a lot of time. If I had to describe him, I would say he"s a very thorough person when it comes to reasoning things out and understanding the situation. Somebody sold him on this.

MASSA: I don"t disagree with anything you say. I congratulate the president on taking his time under political pressure. I think, however, if what we hear tomorrow is 30,000 more troops to create a Jeffersonian democracy, I believe, with all due respect to the president, that we are on a fool"s errand.

SCHULTZ: This is more of the Bush doctrine, in a sense?

MASSA: I strongly disagree with it. I know others will talk about how we"re going to pay for it. The ultimate payment is the sacrifices that our uniformed men and women make, up to in and including their lives, and the bereavement and hardships of their families. I don"t see the justification in Afghanistan for continuing that.

SCHULTZ: Congressman, great to have you with us tonight. I appreciate your time.

MASSA: Thank you very much.

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