McCain Knocks July, 2011 Afghanistan Deadline

In an EXCLUSIVE interview on “This Week,” Senator John McCain, R-Ariz., told host Jake Tapper that the Afghanistan strategy “has not gone as well as we had hoped” but he thought President Obama’s date for beginning to transition U.S. troops out of the country was a bad idea.

“What I worry about more than anything else is the July of 2011 firm date” for beginning to withdraw American forces, McCain said. “In other words, we need a conditions-based situation, not a date for withdrawal.”

The Senator said having a “date certain” for beginning to reduce the American military presence in Afghanistan “sounds an uncertain trumpet.”

“I’m concerned about the perception of our friends and our enemies as well as the people in Afghanistan, as to the depth of our commitment,” McCain told Tapper from Kabul, Afghanistan.

McCain said, “I’m all for dates of withdrawal, but that’s after the strategy succeeds, not before. That’s a dramatic difference. And I can tell you for sure, our people in the region are not sure whether we are going to be here after the middle of 2011, whether we have succeeded or not.”

“I know enough about warfare,” the former Naval aviator said, “I know enough about what strategy and tactics are about. If you tell the enemy that you’re leaving on a date certain, unequivocally, then that enemy will wait until you leave.”

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