'This Week' Transcript: McCain

SENOR: Well, Chairman Steele has been furiously working the phones this weekend to try to explain that, at worse, this was a gaffe, at best, what he said was taken out of context.

I think it's important to take a step back and recognize -- his historical inaccuracies notwithstanding -- got some basic facts wrong -- he did articulate a real point of view. I mean, it's a real point of view out there by those who are opposed to the war in Afghanistan, that as he said, for centuries, people have tried to succeed in Afghanistan. Land wars never work in Afghanistan, which was a direct criticism of the McChrystal-Petraeus counterinsurgency strategy.

And it's fine. He's entitled to that point of view. It just happens to be the point of view of organizations like MoveOn.org, and you see that point of view articulated on liberal blogs. It's the view of many of the Democratic members of Congress who voted for a timeline this past week.

So it's one thing for him personally to have that point of view, but for the chairman of the party to articulate that point of view, to advance that point of view is indefensible.

And I would also say, what we've seen over the last couple weeks is a very sensitive and raw moment as it relates to Afghanistan. And it has been admirable how serious our leaders, military and civilian, have stepped up.

I mean, McChrystal stepping down the way he did, Petraeus stepping in, taking a demotion from his Central Command position to step in, President Obama acting swiftly and recommitting to Afghanistan when he would have had an inflection point to change policy if he wanted to, all of these people have been acting incredibly seriously.

And what's striking about Steele is how fundamentally unserious he -- giving political counsel, how to frame this debate in a political context for candidates, I think is -- is actually offensive.

TAPPER: And you think he should step down?

SENOR: There's no -- I mean, I don't think the Republican Party can seriously engage in foreign policy with credibility if its chairman is engaging in this kind of rhetoric.

TAPPER: Jorge?

RAMOS: Because it's something so fundamental. It's like if 9/11 never happened. I mean, that's -- that's -- that's the point.

But now, going beyond Steele's comment, what's so interesting is that I think there's a contradiction in Afghanistan right now. On one hand, how can you be completely fully committed to a war and at the same time say that you're going to be leaving and setting a deadline?

I think many Americans and politicians would be hard-pressed right now to -- to know exactly and to explain, what are we doing in Afghanistan? I know obviously we invaded Afghanistan after 9/11. Obviously, we didn't want the Taliban to be supporting Al Qaida and other terrorist groups.

But at the same time, what are we doing right now in Afghanistan? I don't think that's very clear, and I think that's -- that's clearly setting up other questions.

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