July 7th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Should the U.S. leave troops in Iraq past the deadline for leaving the country?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

In 2008, President Obama promised over and over again to get all U.S. troops out of Iraq by the end of 2011. After winning the presidency, he vowed to keep that promise.

Now as that deadline for military withdrawal from Iraq approaches, he's apparently prepared to break that promise. Gee, what a surprise.

The President announced this week that he's offering to leave 10,000 U.S. troops in Iraq indefinitely, beyond the scheduled December withdrawal date. The White House says it's concerned that the planned pullout of nearly all U.S. troops at the end of the year could spark violence and trigger militant attacks there. Oh, and don't forget the oil.

Any extension of U.S. military presence depends on a formal request from Iraqi government, and so far no request has been made. But the Pentagon wants to give Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and his government time to decide so if they need the help, there is time to plan. The Iraqi government is reportedly divided on whether the U.S. should leave additional troops behind and al-Maliki is facing pressure from hard line members of his own party to let the troops leave on schedule.

There are about 46,000 U.S. troops in Iraq right now. Only about 200 were supposed to remain in the country in "advisory" roles beyond December to train security forces there. The White House said yesterday that's still the Pentagon's plan and that time for the Iraqi government to ask for the troops to stay is running out. What'll you bet they ask.

Meanwhile there are discussions about cutting Social Security and Medicare to deal with a ballooning national debt and deficit caused at least in part by the war in Iraq which so far has cost an estimated $1 trillion. Makes a lot of sense.

Here’s my question to you: Should the U.S. leave troops in Iraq past the deadline for leaving the country?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Iraq • Troop Withdrawals • U.S. Army • United States Military
June 15th, 2011
04:08 PM ET

How would you feel about the U.S. maintaining a military presence in Afghanistan for decades?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As the calls for a quicker U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan get louder in Washington, an interesting story appeared in the British paper, The Guardian. The paper reports that U.S. and Afghan officials are in secret talks over a long-term security partnership between the two nations.

If this is the case, such a deal could put U.S. troops and other special forces and personnel in Afghanistan for decades. The Guardian reports these talks have been under way for more than a month. A U.S. official denies The Guardian report and said there are no plans for a permanent base in Afghanistan. We'll see.

The withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan is supposed to begin in July. And President Obama is planning to release his plan soon on how many of the more than 100,000 U.S troops in Afghanistan will come home as the withdrawal begins. More than two dozen senators sent a letter to the president today calling for a "sizable and sustained reduction" of military forces in Afghanistan.

The U.S. is involved in four wars right now. Even though the White House - in trying to clear the president of any wrongdoing under the war powers resolution - argues that the U.S. military action in Libya doesn't amount to full-blown "hostilities." But we're spending money on these operations, we're engaging in military action, and we're putting military lives at risk. And we're stretched pretty thin.

Here’s my question to you: How would you feel about the U.S. maintaining a military presence in Afghanistan for decades?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Afghanistan • Troop Withdrawals • U.S. Army
August 16th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Iraq's army: not ready until 2020; should U.S. forces leave next year?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Iraq's top army general says his troops won't be fully trained and able to take control of security until 2020.... another 10 years from now.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/08/16/art.us.troops.jpg caption=""]
The warning comes as the U.S. says it's on target to end its combat mission and pull thousands of troops out of Iraq by the end of this month.

The White House says it's pulled out 80,000 troops from Iraq since President Obama took office... and that thousands more will leave at the end of August.

The U.S. plans to keep about 50,000 troops in Iraq - for support and training - but they, too, will leave by the end of next year.

But Iraq's military brass don't think this is such a great plan. And Iraq's top army general may have a point. Iraq's political leaders still haven't been able to form a new government 5 months after holding elections.

U.S. National Security Adviser Jim Jones said despite this assessment by Iraq's army, there will be no significant U.S. troop presence after next year... and that, "the mission is on the way to being accomplished" in Iraq.

The U.S. better hope so... now that it's focusing a lot of money and military resources on the war in Afghanistan, where insurgent attacks are at record levels.

It doesn't look like Afghanistan will be in any shape to see U.S. troops leave as soon as next summer, which is what President Obama wants.

Here’s my question to you: Iraq's army says it won't be ready to take control until 2020. Should U.S. forces still leave next year?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Iraq • Troop Withdrawals • U.S. Army
September 21st, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Commanders: Failure in Afghanistan without more troops

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Military commanders on the ground in Afghanistan are about to force President Obama to do something he doesn't want to do - make a decision. The day of reckoning has been coming for a while now - as the U.S. death toll continues to rise, the Taliban strengthen their hold on ever-increasing parts of the country, and the effectiveness of the Karzai government when it comes to troops and security remains very much in doubt.

History suggests Afghanistan is a tough nut to crack. And to think you can do it on the cheap with limited budgets and a limited number of troops is just plain ludicrous.

In effect - the White House is being told by the people fighting the war: either come up with a strategy that has a chance of working and commit enough troops to make it happen - or resign yourself to the same failure that all foreign invaders of Afghanistan have ultimately come face-to-face with.

It's time for the administration to stop equivocating. First we heard a decision on troops is "weeks and weeks" away, then we were told there were no plans for additional troops for Afghanistan.

But the people fighting the war say without them - there are no plans for victory either.

Since World War II - we have failed to achieve victory in Korea, in Vietnam, in Iraq... And the polls indicate the American people are not eager to commit the resources that might be necessary to win this one either.

Here’s my question to you: What should President Obama do when commanders are saying the mission in Afghanistan will fail without more troops?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Afghanistan • Troop Withdrawals • U.S. Army
March 27th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Should U.S. send more troops to Afghanistan?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama is stepping up the U.S. effort in Afghanistan. He says the U.S. will send 4,000 more troops there in addition to the 17,000 additional combat troops he authorized last month.

Pres. Obama says the U.S. will send 4,000 more troops to Afghanistan in addition to the 17,000 he authorized last month.

Mr. Obama is describing a "comprehensive" new strategy to confront the growing threat in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Seven and a half years after the 9/11 attacks he says al Qaeda is planning new attacks against the U.S. from its safe haven in Pakistan.

President Obama says up until now Afghanistan has been denied the resources it needs because of the war in Iraq; and he's pledging those 4,000 additional troops to help train the Afghan Army and police - new legislation that would help the economies of both countries; and more civilian help to develop Afghanistan's economy and corrupt government.

As for Pakistan, the president says that after years of mixed results, the U.S. won't provide a "blank check" to them; they'll have to prove they're committed to rooting out al Qaeda.

It seems like Mr. Obama has public support behind him here. A recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows 63 percent of those surveyed favor his plan to send an additional 17,000 troops into Afghanistan. However, he also has his work cut out for him: While 62 percent say the U.S. can eventually win the war there, only half that many think the U.S. is winning now.

Here’s my question to you: Should the U.S. send additional troops to Afghanistan?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Afghanistan • Troop Withdrawals • U.S. Army
July 14th, 2008
03:21 PM ET

Would faster troop withdrawal help McCain or Obama?

Marines patrol in the town of Garmser in Helmand Province of Afghanistan. (PHOTO CREDIT: AP PHOTO)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Bush is thinking about speeding up the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq starting in September.

Reports say no decision has been made yet, but anywhere from 1 to 3 of the 15 combat brigades now in Iraq could be withdrawn by the time Mr. Bush leaves office in January. That would leave between 120,000 and 130,000 troops in Iraq, down from a peak of 170,000 last year.

One reason for an accelerated withdrawal is because more U.S. troops are needed in Afghanistan, where the Taliban have been making a comeback. Yesterday, 9 U.S. troops died in an insurgent attack there – the deadliest for U.S. troops in 3 years. In the last two months, more American and allied troops have died in Afghanistan than in Iraq.

The White House says that although the president hopes to bring more troops home, he will wait to hear what General David Petraeus says in September. If President Bush decides to announce troop reductions, it could impact the presidential race. John McCain could say that the surge, which he was in favor of, worked, and therefore troops can now be withdrawn.

On the other hand, Barack Obama has been against the Iraq war from the outset and has said he would immediately look at getting our troops out of Iraq if he's elected. Obama has said the war in Afghanistan has suffered because of the administration's misguided policies in Iraq. He says he would be in favor of deploying up to 10,000 more troops to Afghanistan.

Here’s my question to you: Would faster troop withdrawal from Iraq help John McCain or Barack Obama?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Troop Withdrawals • War in Iraq