Rep. Allen West on President Obama's Afghanistan Speech
Florida congressman reacts to plan for troop withdrawal
- Duration 6:31
- Date Jun 22, 2011
Florida congressman reacts to plan for troop withdrawal
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This is the beginning not -- end of our effort to wind down this war.
We'll have to do the hard work of keeping the gains that we've made.
While we draw down our forces and transition responsibility for security to the Afghan government.
And next -- in Chicago we will host a summit with our NATO allies and partners to shape the next phase of this transition.
I was more president Obama's speech from -- -- the -- where he unveiled his plan for withdrawing troops in Afghanistan and what will follow once the draw down as complete.
And in this case it sounds like the commander in chief is once again turning to NATO.
Joining me now with reaction is Florida Republican congressman Alan west.
Colonel Howard welcome back doing very well thanks for -- -- -- get down there not DC then I corrupting you are they.
No where we're able to swim in the cesspool very well -- back back back -- gotten publicity -- president tonight I'm very discouraged.
-- and even bother.
To send the troops and for the surge which he took a long time making a decision on and only give a fraction of the -- and even bother if if this was the plan that doesn't seem to make sense to me why is it -- listen and General Petraeus.
Well I think one of the things that you saw tonight was a highly politicized.
Mission accomplished speech that was -- -- of the aircraft carrying the banner.
And I think that you saw the facade of a president that wanted to get involved in the -- combat theater of operations in Afghanistan.
But really that was not his comfort zone I think when you look at this -- the money line that the president -- was that America we're going to -- nation building at home.
Which is exactly what he'd like to have his focus on so this ended up being more of a campaign speech and really a a strategy speech for that combat theater of operations.
I asked us Senator McCain this did you find it -- as I did that.
It'll bring up General Petraeus -- -- the speech.
You're absolutely right no talk about some of the incredible theater commanders that you have their General Petraeus and maybe some of the other subordinate commanders.
-- hat -- to the Marines who have done -- an incredible job down there in Helmand Province.
But you know that is why this speech was really focused more so on the president because you look at what -- recently happen with this poll numbers.
Right he's that the war is ongoing the conflict is ongoing he say in the war is gonna and it's only enemy the date this artificial deadline that he sat.
Didn't talk about winning who won this conflict.
Well wanna answer -- phase is when the president says that we are going to conductors draw down from a position of strength.
That's absolutely false because you still have a very vicious a very determined enemy.
That is still on the battlefield I think the important thing that we have to understand is.
How does the Taliban their propaganda machine take the president's speech and spend it for their own -- court it's been -- for their own recruitment how does al-Qaeda.
Who is and an entity an organization that maybe we -- on the ropes now spin this to increased their roles and also involved in themselves to conduct more operations.
Gotta wanna give the name me any ideas but I would be think in the end of bomb in the Taliban and al-Qaeda I just by just wait out the American troops is not really that far away in.
You know at that point they have free -- to go back to whatever they wanna do in and they'll be waging war in trying to take control the country EM all thank.
You're you're absolutely right it's not just what the Taliban would do -- but now also start to think about.
What was the tribal leaders and those people who were willing to trusts us and Afghanistan do.
If they see this end of the road and is coming very quickly.
What do you think there will start to place their allegiances because in that part of the world having spent two and a half years in Afghanistan.
They only understand strength than they only respect stressed.
So there -- want to live themselves and their efforts towards who they believe will be the strongman at the end of the day.
You know it you've mentioned the politics -- this earlier.
And you know what bothers me wanted to get into the poll numbers in the next segment -- that this -- abysmal poll numbers all across the board every poll for the president.
And why don't I suspect that the president thinks he needs to shore up his left wing base here you think that was a big consideration for him.
Well when you hear a lot of talk about war fatigue.
That's one of the things he wants to do and once again it it's never been in his comfort zone to.
-- -- commander in chief I think he was far more culpable in the accepting.
The Nobel Peace Prize so he's looking to move away from that and reestablish himself with the anti war left.
But once again the thing that you always have to understand Sean is.
You can say as to commander in chief of our forces that combat operations is over but the enemy still has a vote.
What did you think when the president went lawyer shopping after he rejected the views of this top lawyers at the Pentagon and the Justice Department.
As it relates to their position on the war powers act and his need to go to congress to get approval for the ongoing -- -- sorry.
They're not hostilities even though bonds -- being dropped war is being waged he tells us it's not hostilities for the ongoing.
Do you think that the president you know do you think there's some culpability there do you think he's thumbing his nose at the law -- and inches and which laws he wants and is that an error on his part.
Well absolutely right I do believe that that's one of the big discussions we -- today because the war powers act is very specific there's no ambiguity in the language there.
And I have to disagree with Senator McCain I don't think -- Libya's operation that we should be and we have a very nebulous mission and objectives and the thing is that those people that are put to -- operation are receiving imminent danger pay.
So I think that there are hostilities over there and if you have -- a bomb dropped on your head.
That is definitely a hostile -- it.
The actions in -- do not meet the criteria -- that is found in the war powers that.
The president has had.
He sent the very nebulous our report that came from some underlings in the department of defense and Department of State.
So we have a crisis that we have to stand up.
And abide by the constitution article one section eight and you're gonna see the house representatives as exert itself and this is not a partisan issue.
He's given a the former President Clinton a run for his money on parsing words now we're defining with the term hostility means.
Good to see colonel thanks so much for being with us good looking -- for -- me.
Thank you so has.