Rep. Franks Blasts Afghanistan Decision As "Worse Than Completely Giving Up"

December 02, 2009 4:08 pm ET — Matt Finkelstein

In a statement, Rep. Trent Franks accused President Obama of "undercutting the generals on the ground." The generals disagree. 

In a prime-time speech last night, President Obama announced that he will deploy 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan next year, with plans to begin withdrawing in 18 months.  Congressional Republicans have mostly responded to the news with a mix of lukewarm support and backhanded compliments, while criticizing Obama's proposed timetable for leaving. 

However, Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) is taking a slightly different approach.  A quasi-birther who recently called Obama "an enemy of humanity," Franks issued a statement today blasting the president's decision as "worse than completely giving up," "half committing to victory," and "unconscionable." From the release:

The only thing worse than completely giving up on Afghanistan and bringing all of our troops home under a white flag immediately, is to keep our troops there while only partially resourcing them and by merely half committing to victory. Nothing could be more unconscionable for a commander in chief.

Apparently, Franks is furious that Obama is "undercutting the generals on the ground" by sending 30,000 troops when Gen. Stanley McChrystal originally asked for 35,000.  Despite Franks' outrage, however, McChrystal actually commended Obama's decision.  As reported by ABC News, McChrystal said today that Obama had provided "a new clarity of mission." More importantly, regarding the number of troops, McChrystal said "I think it is sufficient...it's exactly what we need."

Franks also echoed Dick Cheney's charge that Obama had been "dithering," calling the announcement "too long in coming." But earlier today, Gen. David Petraeus unequivocally rejected that line of attack. 

"This process was actually quite good," Petraeus told MSNBC's Joe Scarborough.  "It was a very substantive discussion.  Everybody's assumptions and views were tested.  I think out of this have come sharpened objectives, a very good understanding of the challenges and the difficulties and what must be done, in a much more detailed and nuanced fashion."

In short, the generals have spoken, and they clearly don't agree with Franks. It's not surprising that a far-right lawmaker would look for any reason to bash Obama -- but Franks' attacks are pretty contemptible, particularly given the facts.    

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