Entries in Mitch McConnell (3)


Sen. Mitch McConnell Now Enthused About Afghan Security Forces

DoD photo by Pfc. Jorge A. Ortiz, U.S. Marine Corps(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says that what he's seen of Afghan national forces, he now likes.

The Kentucky Republican told reporters in Italy on Monday that after his latest fact-finding visit to Afghanistan with some fellow lawmakers, it's the first time he's returned "with a sense of enthusiasm" about turning over security responsibilities to Afghan soldiers and police.

McConnell described the Afghans as "tough fighters that will be able to deal with the Taliban or any other threats.  This country will be able to maintain itself after we are largely gone."

As it happens, President Obama announced last week that the Afghans would take the lead in fighting their enemies beginning this spring with the U.S. stepping back into a support role until the near total withdrawal of coalition forces by the end of 2014.

Asked about what kind of residual force should be left behind, McConnell suggested at least 10,000 soldiers should be sufficient although the White House might try to make do with far fewer than that number.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Sen. McConnell: Obama Administration Libya Explanation ‘Disturbing’

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call(DANVILLE, Ky.) -- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday blasted the Obama administration’s “disturbing” explanation for the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya that resulted in the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens.

“We’re finally getting the right story from the professionals down at the State Department who have been saying from the very beginning that it was a terrorist attack,” said McConnell, R-Mo., on the ABC News/Yahoo News pre-vice presidential debate live stream show.  “I don’t know where this notion that this thing was video-inspired came from in the first place.”

Republican lawmakers have skewered the Obama administration this week in the first Congressional hearings on the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks in Libya, suggesting that the administration altered its explanation for the attacks for political reasons.

“It leaves you with the suspicion that since the president was in the campaign going around reminding everybody that [Osama] bin Laden’s gone and we were out of Iraq and we would soon be out of Afghanistan, and implying that the war on terror was over, that the campaign just felt it was inconvenient that we had a terrorist attack that killed four Americans,” McConnell said.  “As I said, inconveniently -- a month before the election.”

McConnell said that State Department officials never believed that the attack in Benghazi was the result of a hijacked protest over an anti-Islamic film that was released on YouTube.

“There’s no evidence that the video was the cause of this theorist attack,” he said.  “The professionals in the State Department felt that from the very beginning."

“So, yes its quite disturbing,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Senate Leaders Agree: US Should Keep Timetable for Afghanistan Withdrawal

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Democratic and Republican leaders of the Senate both said Tuesday they don’t believe the shooting rampage this weekend in Kandahar should affect the timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

“I think we should stick by the drawdown that we have now,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told reporters Tuesday. “I support Secretary Panetta, who’s saying that they’re going to do everything they can to resolve the issue and have the Afghan people understand that that’s not America.  And I think that we should stick by what we have.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., echoed Reid’s statement when he was asked later.

“I support the policy the administration has laid out to move toward a transition over the next couple of years,” McConnell said. “The president has a plan to transition this mission over to the Afghan army over the next couple of years.  I know it’s been a very challenging period, but I think we ought to stick with the plan that’s been laid out by the administration.”

On Sunday an Army staff sergeant allegedly went on a rampage, killing 16 Afghans as they slept in their homes.  The suspect was serving on his fourth combat deployment in 10 years, the first three in Iraq. He was on his first tour in Afghanistan, where he’d been since December.

An official told ABC News that the soldier has suffered a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the past, either from hitting his head on the hatch of a vehicle or in a car accident. He went through the advanced TBI treatment at Fort Lewis and was deemed to be fine.

President Obama, in an interview with ABC station KABC-TV in Los Angeles this week, said it’s important not to “rush for the exits” in Afghanistan following this weekend’s massacre, and the White House has said the incident will not change the timetable for the withdrawal strategy in Afghanistan.

Before this weekend’s incident there was a movement brewing in the Senate, led by Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., to pressure Obama to speed up the withdrawal. More than 20 senators, including two Republicans -- Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah -- signed a letter expressing this to Obama last week.

“We simply cannot have more years of elevated troop levels in Afghanistan,” the letter says. “It is time to bring our troops home from Afghanistan.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio