NBC Correspondent Takes Sides in Afghanistan Debate

By Lindsey Ellerson

Oct 8, 2009 6:10pm

ABC News' Jonathan Karl reports: NBC Correspondent Richard Engel is taking sides in the debate over what to do next in Afghanistan. Appearing on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” today, Engel declared, “I honestly think it’s probably time to start leaving the country.  I really don’t see how this is going to end in anything but tears.” Engel’s comments — which came in response to the simple question, “What did you see in Afghanistan?” – have become part of the political debate.  In an interview today on CNN, Senator Russ Feingold repeatedly quoted Engel in a making the case for a timetable for withdrawing US troops. Engel described the kind counter-insurgency effort advocated by General McChrystal as “a loser.” “The idea of going in to nation-build and win hearts and minds, I think, over the long term is kind of a loser,” Engel said.  “Going in to try and convince the people that we're there to develop democracy and develop hearts and minds — the afghans don't want it, they don't want it from us. And I don't think that US troops pushing out into tiny villages to try and work with the Afghan people, holding their hands is something that is going to have a lot of long term resonance.” Oddly, Engel also said it may be necessary to send over more troops in the short-run to facilitate a withdrawal.  “Think about moving out of your house,” he explained.  “You need extra people to come in and help you do that.”

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