Jones Chides McChrystal for Public Pressure
By John Amick and Ibby Caputo
CNN: STATE OF THE UNION - Afghanistan Advice Should Come Through Chain of Command, Jones Says
Addressing Gen. Stanley McChrystal's public call for more troops in Afghanistan, White House national security adviser James L. Jones said that advice to the president should come though the military chain of command rather than by open campaigning for a strategic decision.
"Ideally, it's better for military advice to come up through the chain of command and I think that General McChrystal and the others in the chain of command will present the president with not just one option, which does, in fact, tend to have a ... enforcing function, but a range of options that the president can consider," Jones said.
President Obama and McChrystal, top commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, held an impromptu meeting in Denmark a day after McChrystal's speech to a British think tank. The general's assessment is that the war effort may need around 40,000 additional troops to succeed.
Jones said he's convinced the McChrystal is in for the long haul in Afghanistan no matter what President Obama finally decides is the correct strategic path. Jones stressed that additional troops are part of the answer in an increasingly difficult war in a country with a weak central government currently mired in a possibly fraudulent election.
Following Sunday's announcement that U.N. inspectors will tour a uranium nuclear facility in Iran in late October, Jones applauded the direction Iran was taking, saying there is no substitute for inspections in verifying what Iran's capabilities are.
Jones said the "don't ask, don't tell" policy of excluding homosexuals from serving in the military is something President Obama will address at the appropriate time. "I don't think it's going to be - it's not years ... I think it will be teed up appropriately," Jones said.
What keeps Jones up at night? If the U.S. lost "track of nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction and came into the hands of a radical terrorist group, they would use them. And that bothers me a great deal."
Also on "State of the Union," Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chair of the Senate Ethics Committee, said a preliminary investigation has begun into the details surrounding Sen. John Ensign's (R-Nevada) use of contacts in his home state to find a job for the spouse of the woman the senator had an affair with.
CBS: FACE THE NATION - Jones: I Don't Do Hypotheticals
Jones, also appearing on "Face the Nation," said it would be a mistake to solely focus on troop levels as a gauge of how successful the U.S. is, or could be, in Afghanistan. It would also be a mistake, Jones said, to underestimate the base strategy the U.S. military has operated under since March, implemented by President Obama. Gen. McChrystal's assessment of the war will be debated in the coming weeks.
Jones would not clearly answer whether he thought a rise in Taliban influence in Afghanistan would lead to a rise in Al Qaeda in the country, saying it was a "hypothetical" he wouldn't try to predict.
In response to the suggestion that these weeks of deliberations are a sign of "dithering," as host Bob Schieffer said, Jones said careful thought was part of the process.
Retired Gen. Anthony Zinni, also on "Face the Nation," said he was worried about the dithering. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, recalled that it took four months for President Bush to decide on a troop surge in Iraq, and that that decision is largely seen as the right one despite its unpopularity with some military brass.
Levin said it will depend on many factors whether the Senate would back McChrystal's call for more troops. House Armed Services chair Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) said he thinks the House would likely provide support for more forces.
NBC: MEET THE PRESS - Susan Rice Says "Time is Short" for Negotiations with Iran
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said on Sunday morning that negotiations with Iran will go on for a "finite" period of time.
"Time is short. We are not interested in talking for talking's sake," Rice said on NBC's Meet the Press.
Rice did not give a specific end date for negotiations, but she said Iran must prove that their nuclear program is for peaceful purposes and open up their facilities for inspections or face consequences.
Rice sited Russia and China's recent agreement on sanctions against North Korea as evidence that those nations, which historically have been against sanctions, are now onboard with sanctions against Iran.
"Iran and the people of Iran have a tremendous history and a great opportunity to be much more constructive players in the international community," Rice said.
FOX NEWS SUNDAY - Graham Calls for "Iran Week" in Senate
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) called for a two- or three-day session in the Senate devoted to passing measures that would empower President Obama to impose tough sanctions on Iran.
"Let's have 'Iran Week' in the Senate and get something done," Graham said on Fox News Sunday.
Senators Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) agreed that sanctions against Iran are necessary.
Regarding the war in Afghanistan, Casey called for Congress to debate the fastest and most effective way to prepare the Afghan army and national police to provide security and fight.
"I think that debate alone is critical to getting this right. We can have long debates about how many troops should be there, but a lot of the parts of this debate haven't taken place yet in the Congress," Casey said.
ABC: THIS WEEK - Schumer: Public Option, Cornyn: No
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.): Democrats are going to come together on a public option, despite no one knowing what a public option would look like in the legislation.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas): I am against government takeover of health care that would cannibalize the system and undercut insurance companies.
October 4, 2009; 1:16 PM ET
Categories: Sunday Talkies
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