CNN's Bash cited McCain's Afghanistan plan as "proof" that he knows "how to win wars"

››› ››› MEREDITH ADAMS

On Lou Dobbs Tonight, Dana Bash asserted that Sen. John McCain's proposal to send more troops to Afghanistan offered "proof" -- in the form of what Bash said was "a new proposal for Afghanistan" -- that McCain "know[s] how to win wars." Bash did not explain how this "proposal" constituted proof that McCain "know[s] how to win wars."

On the July 15 edition of Lou Dobbs Tonight, CNN congressional correspondent Dana Bash asserted that McCain's proposal to send more troops to Afghanistan, made in a July 15 speech, offered "proof" -- in the form of what Bash said was "a new proposal for Afghanistan" -- that McCain "know[s] how to win wars." Bash did not explain how this "proposal" constituted proof that McCain "know[s] how to win wars."

Nor did Bash report that McCain later reportedly clarified his remarks, saying, in the words of Washington Post reporter Juliet Eilperin, that he "might call on NATO to supply part of the additional troops he hopes to send to the region."

Bash reported of McCain's speech:

McCain would send three more brigades to Afghanistan, called for a doubling of the Afghan Army to 160,000 troops, and said a unified military commander must be in charge of all forces there. But this was as much about slamming Barack Obama's war plans as presenting his own. Obama wants to take troops out of Iraq and send them to Afghanistan.

From Eilperin's July 15 entry on the Post's blog The Trail:

In an interview with reporters aboard his campaign bus, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) modified his assertion today that the U.S. could send three additional brigades to Afghanistan by drawing on troops that were leaving Iraq.

The presumptive GOP nominee, who made his initial remarks in a speech before an Albuquerque audience, told reporters just minutes after the event that he might call on NATO to supply part of the additional troops he hopes to send to the region.

"We need to work that out, we need to have greater participation from our NATO allies, and we need a lot more help from our NATO allies," the senator said. "We need to -- I laid it out in my speech, we need to have strategy, not just an injection of troops. I think that's true of all counterinsurgencies."

Our NATO allies, he added, can provide manpower as well as other resources to help assure victory in Afghanistan.

From the July 15 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight:

DOBBS: Well, Senator McCain strongly criticized Senator Obama's speech. McCain declaring sending more troops to Afghanistan by itself is not enough to achieve victory. McCain presented a new strategy for Afghanistan based on the principles behind the surge in Iraq. Dana Bash has our report from Washington.

[begin video clip]

McCAIN: The next president will inherit a situation in Iraq in which America --

BASH: Experience is his calling card, and on a day both candidates talked national security, John McCain laid this down as a basic test:

McCAIN: I know how to win wars. I know how to win wars. If I'm elected president --

BASH: He offered proof: a new proposal for Afghanistan, where violence has spiked.

McCAIN: And I'll turn around the war in Afghanistan just as we have turned around the war in Iraq with a comprehensive strategy for victory.

BASH: McCain was an early supporter of the military surge in Iraq, which he repeatedly tells voters is working. He said he would apply those lessons to Afghanistan, more troops and a better strategy for how to use them.

McCAIN: A nationwide civil military campaign that is focused on providing security for the population. Today, no such integrated plan exists. When I'm commander in chief, it will.

BASH: Specifically, McCain would send three more brigades to Afghanistan, called for a doubling of the Afghan Army to 160,000 troops, and said a unified military commander must be in charge of all forces there. But this was as much about slamming Barack Obama's war plans as presenting his own. Obama wants to take troops out of Iraq and send them to Afghanistan.

McCAIN: Senator Obama will tell you we can't win in Afghanistan without losing in Iraq. In fact, he has it exactly backwards. It is precisely the success of the surge in Iraq that shows us the way to succeed in Afghanistan.

BASH: He mocked Obama for outlining his plan for Afghanistan before ever visiting the country.

McCAIN: Fact-finding missions usually work best the other way around. First you assess the facts on the ground, then you present a new strategy.

[end video clip]

BASH: Later on his bus, McCain continued to hit Obama on his national security credentials. McCain reminded reporters that Obama is chairman of the Senate committee that oversees NATO, which has command in Afghanistan, but Obama has never held a hearing. Lou.

DOBBS: Nor has Senator Obama ever been to Afghanistan. Dana, thank you very much. Dana Bash from Washington.

Posted In
Elections, National Security & Foreign Policy, War in Afghanistan
Network/Outlet
CNN
Person
Dana Bash
Show/Publication
Lou Dobbs Tonight
Stories/Interests
John McCain, 2008 Elections
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