Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., blasted President Donald Trump Thursday for failing to provide strategic guidance on the war in Afghanistan since taking office in January.
During a July 19 meeting, Trump reportedly urged his top military advisers to fire Gen. John Nicholson, the commander of U.S. armed forces in Afghanistan, because he is not winning the war, NBC reported, citing senior Trump administration officials.
But McCain, who is the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Thursday it is the president who is ultimately responsible for the failure in Afghanistan.
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) August 3, 2017
“Six months ago, General Nicholson testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee and warned that the United States was not winning the war in Afghanistan,” McCain said in a statement.
“The reason for this failure is a lack of successful policy and strategic guidance from Washington over many years, which has continued in the first several months of this new administration. Our commanders-in-chief, not our commanders in the field, are responsible for this failure.”
McCain also voiced his support for Nicholson.
“General John Nicholson has served our country with honor and distinction for 35 years. He has earned the trust and admiration of those he has served with. And he has earned my full confidence.”
The Arizona Republican urged Trump to resolve the differences within his administration and decide on a strategy in Afghanistan as soon as possible.
The senator said he would come up with an Afghanistan strategy on his own if Trump was unable to produce one by September.
“If the President fails to do this by the time the Senate takes up the defense authorization bill in September, I will offer an amendment to that legislation, which will provide such a strategy,” McCain said.
McCain’s comments came less than a week after he cast the deciding vote against the Senate’s “skinny” Obamacare repeal plan.
Trump reportedly criticized his military advisers during a July meeting in the White House Situation Room for continuing to lose ground in Afghanistan.
“We aren’t winning,” Trump said, according to White House officials. “We are losing.”
Defense Secretary James Mattis reportedly told Trump the U.S. is losing ground in Afghanistan to the Taliban because the military lacks a cohesive strategy.
Michael Anton, the spokesman for the National Security Council, told NBC that Trump’s national security team is still developing a strategy for South Asia.
“The president’s national security team is developing a comprehensive, integrated strategy for South Asia that utilizes all aspects of our national power to address this complex region,” Anton said.
“That strategy has been worked carefully in the interagency process and while no decision has been made the president’s team continues to develop options for him that address threats and opportunities to America arising from this vital region.”
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source: Western Journalism