Kristol: Obama's Afghanistan Announcement "Unbelievably Irresponsible"


BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR, "WEEKLY STANDARD": The president is supposed to lead. Do you think the president was right in 1994 not to go into Rwanda? I'm sure the polls showed not to get involved. So what if a billion people were slaughtered? The intervention in the Balkans weren't popular. Bill Clinton did it, to his credit. We supported it at "The Weekly Standard." Some Republicans opposed him. They were wrong in that case.

Look, the announcement today on Afghanistan is unbelievably irresponsible. It's one thing to draw it out to 9,800 troops. That's on the low side. Maybe that's enough to sustain the training and counterterrorism mission.

To announce ahead of time we're going to zero troops except for the troops guarding the embassy at the end of 2016 is beyond irresponsible. It's totally crazy. You're telling them we're getting out. What are they going to -- Wait a second. What is wrong with saying -- leaving it and saying, "I'm going to make a judgment based on conditions on the ground."

JONES: What's wrong with open-ended commitment for this country?

KRISTOL: We have sacrificed -- we have sacrificed blood and treasure in that country, and President Obama sent tens of thousands of troops there, and now he is making their sacrifice in vain. I find it sickening.

BEINART: I actually think President Obama was wrong to send additional troops to Afghanistan. And it was wrong. Ii think it was the single biggest failure of his presidency, Obama, because the truth is, we went to Afghanistan...

KRISTOL: How can you support a man who sends tens of thousands of troops to fight...

BEINART: How did you manage to support a man so successfully that sent hundreds of thousands...

KRISTOL: I support that war. Afghanistan was a disaster.

BEINART: Afghanistan...

KRISTOL: War in Afghanistan wrong?

BEINART: The war in Afghanistan against the Taliban, yes, against the Taliban, yes, against al Qaeda, no. It was a very important distinction. We don't have enough money in this country to pay people who are unemployed unemployment benefits, according to the Republican Party. Yet we have -- we can continue to send -- to afford tens of thousands of more troops in Afghanistan. When we see what's happening to those troops when they come back, the incredible...

KRISTOL: That's pathetic.

BEINART: That's pathetic?

KRISTOL: You're talking about the veterans as victims.

BEINART: No, I'm not talking about the veterans.

KRISTOL: That's what you said, we see these troops when is they come back. The troops are proud. President of the United States sent them there. The president of the United States -- let me finish -- sent them there, and now he is running a huge risk of undercutting all they achieved.

BEINART: Bill, my sister-in-law served in Iraq and Afghanistan. I'm very full aware of the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of people who served in both wars. She left her small children to do so.

But the fact that our soldiers served honorably wherever they are sent does not mean wherever they are sent is wise in the national interest. The cost to the families and those people has been enormous. And there is nothing in Afghanistan, save preventing another attack on the United States, that is worth it.

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