Tag Archives: U.S. Troops

Donald Trump Denies Calling Afghanistan Invasion a Mistake

During an interview on Tuesday, GOP presidential candidate and billionaire mogul Donald Trump called the invasion of Iraq a mistake but denied describing the invasion of Afghanistan as such, marking a difference from comments he made earlier this month.

Trump received publicity when he criticized rival Jeb Bush’s comments about former President George W. Bush keeping the American people safe even though 9/11 occurred under his watch.

Following those comments, Trump told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota that he believes he would have had a better chance at keeping the U.S. protected if he were in office.

“This all started because Jeb made the statement that ‘under my brother we were safe,'” Trump said. “Well, he would have qualified by saying ‘after the attack,’ but he didn’t do that.”

Trump continued, “You can say ‘yes, we did well after,’ but then we also made mistakes there, because yes we were safe in a sense, but we went into Iraq, which was a disastrous decision, just a disastrous decision. Not Afghanistan, because that’s probably where we should have gone in the first place. But Iraq was a disastrous decision.”

Trump claimed that while he wasn’t saying he could have prevented the terrorist attacks that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001, he does think that he would have had a chance because he is “pretty good at this stuff.”

“I would have had a much tougher visa program, the visas are too easy,” said Trump, who also claimed that while the CIA warned of a possible attack, the main U.S. intelligence agencies weren’t working together.

“Then we went out and we attacked the wrong country,” Trump said. “We went out and attacked Iraq, they had no weapons of mass destruction, as you know and as we found out.”

Trump’s most recent comments contradict an earlier interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Oct. 6 when Trump was asked whether he thought keeping boots on the ground in Afghanistan was a good idea.

“I wouldn’t totally disagree with it, except, you know, at some point, are they going to be there for the next 200 years?” Trump replied.

“We made a terrible mistake getting involved there in the first place,” Trump continued. “We had real brilliant thinkers that didn’t know what the hell they were doing. And it’s a mess. It’s a mess. And at this point, you probably have to [stay] because that thing will collapse about two seconds after they leave. Just as I said that Iraq was going to collapse after we leave.”

When Camerota questioned Trump about his previous comments during Tuesday’s interview, he insisted that he “never said” that the U.S. made a mistake by invading Afghanistan.

“We made a mistake going into Iraq,” Trump said. “I’ve never said we made a mistake going into Afghanistan.” Trump denied making the October 6 comments about Afghanistan despite Camerota reading his comments on air back to him, as shown in the above-embedded video.

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Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton Support Keeping U.S. Troops in Afghanistan

Democratic Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have both indicated support for President Obama’s decision to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan through 2016.

During Obama’s re-election campaign, he promised that he would end the war that was started by former President George W. Bush in 2001.

Obama announced his plan to leave the current 9,800 troops in Afghanistan on Thursday.

“While America’s combat mission in Afghanistan may be over, our commitment to Afghanistan and its people endures,” Obama said. “I will not allow Afghanistan to be used as safe haven for terrorists to attack our nation again.”

[RELATED: President Obama Cancels Plan to Withdraw from Afghanistan]

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lent support for Obama’s decision during an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Friday.

[pull_quote_center]I think what you’re seeing with President Obama is a perfect example of a leader who has strong convictions about what he would like to see happen, but also pays attention to what’s going on in the real world. And his decision is one that I agree with.[/pull_quote_center]

Clinton said she wouldn’t specify what she would do if she were President, but that she believes the U.S. should “continue to work with the government of Afghanistan to try to help strengthen security for them.

“I will not sit here today and say what I would do upon taking office because, again, we want to bring our troops home,” Clinton said. “We certainly don’t want them engaged in on the ground combat. We want them to help support and train the Afghan army.”

Clinton concluded, “So, I can’t predict where things will be in January of 2017. But I support the president’s decision.”

[RELATED: U.S. Turns Blind Eye To Afghan Allies Abusing Children]

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) also showed support for Obama’s decision on ABC’s “This Week” when he was asked by host George Stephanopoulos if he would keep troops in Afghanistan.

Stephanopoulos said that Obama is “keeping 10,000 troops in Afghanistan through next year. More than five thousand after that. You just heard Ben Carson saying he supports that decision. So does Hillary Clinton. Do you?”

“Well, yeah- I won’t give you the exact number,” Sanders replied. “Clearly, what the president has been trying to do and I say this as somebody who voted against the war in Iraq, a war which destabilized the entire region.”

“Clearly, we do not want to see the Taliban gain more power, and I think we need a certain nucleus of American troops present in Afghanistan to try to provide the training and support the Afghan army needs.”

Sanders said he would not “get into hypotheticals” when pressed by Stephanopoulos to explain which circumstances might push Sanders to authorize unilateral action to use force.



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President Obama Cancels Plan to Withdraw from Afghanistan

President Barack Obama announced on Thursday that he is canceling his plan to withdraw from Afghanistan during his presidency and instead will leave the current force of 9,800 troops in place throughout 2016.

Under the new plan, troop levels are set to drop to 5,500 at an unspecified point in late 2016 or early 2017. The U.S. will continue operations out of bases in Kandahar, Bagram, and Jalalabad, a departure from Obama’s previous plan in which America’s presence in Afghanistan would have been scaled back to 1,000 troops garrisoned at the U.S. embassy in Kabul.

Afghan forces are still not as strong as they need to be. Meanwhile, the Taliban has made gains particularly in rural areas and can still launch deadly attacks in cities, including Kabul,” said President Obama in a Thursday speech from the White House, according to the Washington Post.

“I will not allow Afghanistan to be used as safe haven for terrorists to attack our nation again,” he added.

[RELATED: Doctors Without Borders Leaving Afghan City After U.S.-Led Coalition Bombs Hospital]

The New York Times notes, “The Taliban are now spread through more parts of the country than at any point since 2001, according to the United Nations, and last month they scored their biggest victory of the war, seizing the northern city of Kunduz and holding it for more than two weeks before pulling back on Tuesday.

Beltway hawks have reportedly been pressuring the president to bolster U.S. presence in Afghanistan after ISIS rose to power in a vacuum created by years of war and destabilization in Iraq.

President Obama’s new plan, which is estimated to cost $14.6 billion, leaves flexibility for U.S. military leaders or the next president to decide when troops levels will be scaled back from 9,800 to 5,500.

[RELATED: Doctors Without Borders Hospital Raided By Afghan Forces Months Before US Airstrike]

U.S. troops have been fighting in Afghanistan for 14 years. To date, 2,345 U.S. military members have been killed in the conflict and 20,071 have been wounded in action, according to NBC News.

President Obama, who had pledged while campaigning to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan during his presidency, said that he is not disappointed by the change in plans.