Against the Afghan Policy

Monday, December 07, 2009

U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler (NY-08) explains why he opposes President Obama's strategy in Afghanistan.


Jerrold Nadler

Comments [38]

John W. McGinley from Farmingdale, NJ

Hats off the Congressman Nadler. I didn't know Democrats were capable of intelligent, straight-to-the-point analysis. He is also courageous to be bucking the titular leader of the Democratic Party. Obama's plan for Afghanistian is a loser; a gigantic fiscal waste; and an obscene wasting of the blood of our brave soldiers. They desrve better. A small force of specialized forces near the relevant parts of the border with Pakistan is what is called for. that and having the guts to exercise the right of "hot pursuit" whether Pakistan likes it or not. Right now the "drone" program is aimed only those parts of Pakistan which are secondary. Everyone knows that Buchistan (I hope I have the spelling correct) is where the leaders who matter are located. It would take balls to just go and do the job there and not ask anyone's permission. But Obama lacks balls. Our troops were never trained to be Boy Scouts. "Nation-building" is simply not in our national interest. Especially not in Afghanistan. Three cheers for the Congressman!

Dec. 07 2009 09:50 PM
CT from Hamilton Heights

Obama's escalation of this very unwise and costly war is a huge disappointment to myself and the other young people like me who campaigned so fervently for him last year. We saw Obama as our last hope for turning around the mess that previous administrations had left behind for us (the younger generations), but now it doesn't seem like we will get the change that we so desperately hoped for. Instead, Obama is delivering an increasing national debt, more endless warfare, increasing class divisions, and a ever-vanishing safety net (Social Security and healthcare when I'm a senior? Not likely.) Not only that, but he stands in solidarity with Bernanke, Geithner and others who allow the irresponsible financial giants to continue to run wild and endanger our economy, and he has continued (and in some cases even increased!) many awful Bush-era secrecy policies. To say that I feel disillusioned would be an understatement. Obama has severely betrayed our trust, and I fear that there is no hope for us now.

Dec. 07 2009 01:20 PM
Peter from Sunset Park


sorry, being critical of Israel haters and those who deny human rights to all is most appropriate. if u can't see that, then we have nothing more to say.

Dec. 07 2009 12:24 PM
hjs from 11211

oh, i did not know being critical israel was the same as being anti-semitic or being a nazi.

thanks for the info

Dec. 07 2009 11:38 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

There is no way to criticize the policies of one sovereign nation (Israel) in this sovereign nation (The United States of America) without being branded an anti-Semitic Nazi. Don’t bother fighting it.

Dec. 07 2009 11:28 AM
hjs from 11211

sorry, being critical of something is not the same as hating it. if u can't see that, then we have nothing more to say.

Dec. 07 2009 11:24 AM
Peter from Sunset Park


Can liberals talk about an issue without hating on Israel?

Poor rubber stamp liberals, they join the UN and the rest of the world in denying human rights to everyone by using Israel hate as a pawn to prevent action.

Dec. 07 2009 11:17 AM
billy pilgrim from stapleton

You who voted for Change and Hope,
things are not as they appear.

Obama's not who you thought he was - nope,
his silk purse holds Bush's sow's ear.

Dec. 07 2009 11:12 AM
hjs from 11211

can we be critical of something without hating it?

Dec. 07 2009 11:00 AM
John from Staten Island

I only caught the last part of Rep. Nadler's comments, but it was very refreshing to hear him engage this vital area of foreign policy in a way that show's he's actually taking it seriously and thinking about what's right rather than rubber-stamping the Party line.

Here in Staten Island, which at least politically is more of a test tube microcosm of the whole country than a part of New York City, we've suffered for years under Congresspersons who seem to think of their job primarily as bringing home the bacon to their local district, and make no connection whatsoever between that and the billions of dollars regularly wasted on ill-advised military misadventures on foreign soil. They just don't think about it. They seem to feel it's the Senate's job, at best. And the President, he can declare war on anything and everyone he wants to - it has nothing to do with the House. Just rubber-stamp whatever amount the Pentagon - and Lockheed Martin, and Halliburton, and Blackwater/XE - say they need. War gets a blank check, because God knows, if it's a war, it's always right, and if you ask questions about that, you're not a Congress person, you're a traitor.

If only all members of Congress had Nadler's brains and inititative.

Dec. 07 2009 10:44 AM
Peter from Sunset Park


Melanie is an Israel hater. That is Peter's point.

Dec. 07 2009 10:37 AM
Max from Brooklyn

I agree with many points that your guest is making about counter-insurgency based resistance in Afghanistan. Why is no one talking about a diplomatic and human-aid based solution in Aghanistan?I think the best solution to create an ally in Afghanistan, who would help us fight the Taliban, Al Queda and other threats in the region. We would be much better able to do that with humanitarian aid and programs - to create programs that change Afghani economics away from the poppy trade and educate the youth of Afghanistan on any number of topics, most especially the empowerment of women, which we have seen furthers world peace and the betterment of society. Why aren't our billions of dollars being spent on this instead of creating a war which endlessly just moves our enemies back and forth between Afghanistan and Pakistan's border?

Dec. 07 2009 10:31 AM
Nick from NYC

#14, if we're "surrounding Iran", they must be laughing at how that process will bankrupt the country and bring us nothing.

That said, I've also wondered how thinking about Iran may factor into these decisions.

Dec. 07 2009 10:30 AM
hjs from 11211

16] Peter
HRC is a hawk. that's Melanie point

Dec. 07 2009 10:29 AM
Nick from NYC

What a refreshing voice! Thank god to hear someone prominent call this war for what it is, a waste of our young men and women and our dollars. Kudos to you, Rep. Nadler!

Dec. 07 2009 10:27 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

To follow up on my comment @ #9. What do the Committee on the Judiciary and Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure have to do with national security?

Dec. 07 2009 10:27 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

A "danger to predicting failure"?! That's dangerously close to charging critics with being 'un-American'.

If failure is likely or probable, it is the DUTY of those who consider themselves loyal to a JUST America to air their views.

People like Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn and many others, predicted failure in Vietnam. They were excoriated by politicians, 'experts' and journalists. Chomsky and others were right. They served their country better than the Johnson and Nixon people who lied.

Dec. 07 2009 10:26 AM
Robert from NYC

Bravo yet again Congressman Nadler.

Dec. 07 2009 10:26 AM
Javier from Westchester

Going back to 1965, Johnson's decision was based on the cabinet and aides that he retained from the Kennedy administration, which sowed the seeds of it's own destruction (since it already had the policy it was placing in motion). We will never know what Kennedy would have done after 1965 (since most guesses place his decision in pulling out of Vietnam) but will this decision ultimately fall upon Secretary Clinton and Gates much like it did to Secretary McNamara and adviser George McBundy?

Dec. 07 2009 10:25 AM
Kenny from Manhattan

Please ask the Congressman:

"Assuming that you fail to stop the troop deployment, would you favor a War Tax to pay for it, so that we don't have to sacrifice our domestic agenda?"

Dec. 07 2009 10:25 AM
Adrienne from East Village

Congress holds the purse strings. Can our nominally Democratically controlled Congress block funding the surge and the war generally Of course the GOP will accuse Democrats of being weak, but they make that charge no matter.

It's hard to imagine incredibly smart people--Hillary Clinton for one--making the case for this surge unless they have additional, very convincing information no one else does. Given their positions, that's entirely possible. To us "outsiders" this appears to be an extraordinarily misguided policy.

Rep. Nadler--please continue to be a strong voice against it.

Dec. 07 2009 10:25 AM
Jay F. from manhattan

2011 is Obama's "Mission Accomplished!"

What a joke.

Dec. 07 2009 10:25 AM
Peter from Sunset Park

I feel this is one of the many “I told you so” moments with President Obama. Obama prayed in a racist church for 20 years because it was politically expedient for him to do so. Now Obama is making some really bad decisions regarding life and death because it is politically expedient for him to do so.

Melanie (#10),

I support H. Clinton's support of Israel. But I am not sure what that has to do with Obama and Afghan policy. Could you please explain to us why your hateful views of Israel are relevant here?

Dec. 07 2009 10:24 AM
antonio from park slope

Does Rep. Nadler think turning to de-funding the war as a way to stop it?

Dec. 07 2009 10:23 AM
Pliny from nyc

Are we really just surrounding Iran?

Dec. 07 2009 10:23 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

#6 (Rene),
Yes, the Soviets failed in Afghanistan, but answer me this: Why were the Soviets in Afghanistan? Do you think the motives of the United States parallel those of the Soviet Union (go ahead… check out Wikipedia or whatever source you use, I’ll wait.)

Dec. 07 2009 10:22 AM
hjs from 11211

5] RLewis you must not have good points if u need to attack the guest that way

Dec. 07 2009 10:21 AM
Richard Johnston from Upper West Side

Jerry Nadler is so on target. Nobody who lived through the Viet Nam war as a thinking adult thinks the American people have the persistence to put up with decades of presence in Afghanistan.

Dec. 07 2009 10:19 AM
Melanie Teagle from NYC

Who really is surprised with Clinton? She supports the Israeli build up of settlements into disputed territory and sided with Leiberman in his run for the senate. She lost my vote when as a senator, she approved the Bush invasion of Iraq. As former first lady of the nation, she of all people should have been aware of the bogus claims of weapons of mass destruction.

In this time when we need a real leader, we get spineless compromise on healthcare and now war. I may as well have voted for the Republican. This president wants to win a popularity contest and lacks the character we so desparately need at this time. For this I registered voters in Ohio? I am so disgusted with Obama, I can't stand it. He won the election because America voted for change. We've all been had.

Dec. 07 2009 10:19 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

What exactly are Representative Nadler’s national security bona fides?
He is openly criticizing and expressing a lack of faith in the Secretary of State and Commander and Chief and speaks of failure, but the only reason the representative has any platform at all is sixteen acres.
Why exactly should we believe anything Mr. Nadler says including telling us the time of day?

Dec. 07 2009 10:19 AM
Tom from UWS

I think it's incorrect to say that President Obama is "getting us into" a war that may last a long time. We are already in it, and it has already taken a long time. The reason for the first fact is well known. The reason for the second is that President Bush ignored that battle to wage war on Iraq.

If we don't do a better job of cleaning up the mess of Afghanistan now, we'll regret it, no matter how regretful we are that we are there right now.

Dec. 07 2009 10:18 AM
Sophie from manhattan

Am I missing something? Hasn't Hillary always been pro war? Her fight first mentality was the main reason I did not vote for her, and I think ultimately why she lost to Obama. Fight, fight, fight...

Dec. 07 2009 10:18 AM
Rene Calvo from Harlem

You don't need to compare Afghanistan to Vietnam. You can compare Afghanistan to Afghanistan. It brought down the Soviet Empire it will bring us down too.

Dec. 07 2009 10:18 AM
RLewis from bowery

30,000 troops and 2 years is the price that Dove's pay to get out of Afghan'. Anything less is outside the realm of realism.

To compare this to '65 lacks any credibility. Jerry is just doing what the opposition has to do. Tell him to lose some more weight, so we can actually respect him. We want to believe him, but it's too hard to believe anyone who does not look like they respect their own body.

Dec. 07 2009 10:17 AM

President Obama very clearly articulated during the campaign that it was his intention to increase our presence in Afghanastan, away from Iraq. This should not be a surprise.

Dec. 07 2009 10:16 AM
Peter from Sunset Park

President Obama is sending troops to fight and die in a war in which he seems to be saying that an evacuation deadline is more important than winning. President Obama is pandering to both the left and the right instead of making a solid case why staying in Afghanistan is important for the safety of the United States and our allies. It feels like President Obama is sending American troops to die because he is worrying about politics - that is morally corrupt on every level.

Dec. 07 2009 10:15 AM
Robert from NYC

An endless war!!? For chrissake it's already been 8 damned years and we got nowhere but no one will state that. Why are we there? Cut out the 9/11 crap it's tired already. Not to belittle and malign the deaths of the innocent but this political war mongering make more a mockery of those who lost their lives.

Dec. 07 2009 10:15 AM
gaetano catelli from downtown manhattan

not the least of the reasons i supported Secretary Clinton's bid for the presidency.

Dec. 07 2009 10:12 AM

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