Anderson Cooper | BIO
Anderson Cooper: Senator McCain, many conservatives have blasted President Obama over the past two days at the U.N. Former U.N. Ambassador Bolton said of the president's message it was "extremely naive." Do you agree?
Senator McCain: Well I would like to hear the President mention that American blood and treasure was expended on behalf of Muslims and Operation Desert Storm, the same thing was in Kosovo, in Bosnia, and we have made sacrifices that we also hope will be recognized by the Arab world in particular and the entire world.
Anderson Cooper: Lets talk about Afghanistan. You support sending more troops. This counterinsurgency strategy, "Clear, Hold, and Build" clearly requires more troops. Anyone who goes there, we that ourselves two weeks ago on the ground in Helmand province with the Marines. Do we have the right strategy? In effect, there are a lot of people who say we are nation-building in Afghanistan with military personnel instead of civilians and on behalf of a government riddled with corruption.
Senator McCain: Well that's a big question, Anderson, and I'll try and make my answer short but I think what we are in engaged in is a counter-insurgency not counter-terrorism operational plan and once we make the areas secure then the people are able to make progress economically, politically, and every other way. But unless we do what we did in the surge in Iraq which is "Clear, Hold, and Secure" areas then it is very difficult to defeat an insurgency.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/11/04/mccain/art.mccain.speech.cnn.jpg caption="Former Presidential candidate and Senator John McCain."]
Anderson Cooper: But in terms of the shear number of troops that that would require...in Helmand alone, the Taliban have just moved into other areas where we don't have enough forces to go into to clear and hold and secure and or build.
Senator McCain: Well it is going to be difficult and it will require a significant injection of troops I hope in keeping with General McChrystal's assessment. But there's also an advantage we have here which is people don't want the Taliban back so if we offer them an alternative of a safe and secure environment I think it can be successful. It's going to be long and hard and tough just like the surge in Iraq was, but I have confidence in our leadership, in General McChrystal and General Petraeus, and in their strategy.
Filed under: 360° Interview
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