McCain Angrily Demands McChrystal Testify on Afghanistan

Oct 1, 2009 1:17pm

ABC News’ Jonathan Karl reports: Sen John McCain, R-AZ, is furious that General Stanley McChrystal, US Commander in Afghanistan, has given a speech in London and appeared on ’60 Minutes’ this week – but has not yet testified before Congress about the way forward in Afghanistan. McCain’s furor is directed at the Obama Administration for not allowing McChyrstal and other top military officials to testify about the recommendations they are making for the way forward in Afghanistan. In a thunderous speech on the Senate floor, McCain introduced an amendment to the Defense appropriations bill that would require McChrystal to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee before November 15.  The amendment would also require testimony from CENTCOM commander General David Petraeus and Admiral James Stravridis, the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO. “General McChrystal gave a speech in London just yesterday talking about what we needed to do,” McCain said. “So it’s ok with the administration for General McChrystal to go on ’60 Minutes,’ it’s ok for him to give a speech at the Institute for Strategic Studies in London, but the administration does not want General McChrystal and General Petraeus before the Senate Armed Services Committee. How does that work?” McCain hammered President Obama for talking to McChrystal only once during a 70-day period “although the President talks to labor leaders almost on a daily basis, pushing a health care agenda.”   “We need to hear from the architects and the commanders. Now, if the president doesn’t want to talk to the commander in the field, General McChrystal, very often …  the fact is that we as members of Congress, a coequal branch of government, also have a responsibility in this decision-making process. Now, I respect the president’s role as Commander in Chief. I respect the President of the United States making a decision. But I also cherish the role of the United States Senate and House of Representatives in being informed as to the views of our military commanders in whom we place the responsibilities and the lives of our young men and women who are in harm’s way,” McCain said. Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin, D-MI, responded with his own amendment, calling for a hearing AFTER the President makes his decision on the way forward in Afghanistan. Levin noted that neither Petraeus nor General George Casey,who led the troops in Iraq, testified while the Bush Administration debated the surge strategy there.  The testimony to Congress came after the decision was made by the President.    Votes on both amendments will come later this afternoon.

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