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Tag: Afghan War

The following is a fact-check from the June 27, 2010 episode of Meet the Press.


1) White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel appeared on Meet the Press on June 20, 2010 – FALSE

2) Last week White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel reiterated the Obama administration’s plan to begin withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan in mid-2011 – TRUE

3) The president’s spokesperson [Robert Gibbs] said, regarding the date for the beginning of withdrawal, “It’s etched in stone, and he has the chisel” – TRUE

SEN. McCAIN: Rahm Emanuel on your program last, last Sunday reiterated the commitment to leaving middle of 2011. The president’s spokesperson said, “It’s etched in stone, and he has the chisel.”

A few more quick Sen. McCain checks to round out what has turned into “McCain Day” here at Meet the Facts:

1) This one is pretty minor but we’ll point it out anyway. Rahm Emanuel did not appear on Meet the Press on June 20, 2010, he appeared on ABC’s This Week with host (and fact-check proponent) Jake Tapper. Though this is most likely a harmless misstatement, Sen. McCain’s statement is obviously FALSE.

2) However, on This Week Rahm Emanuel did in fact reiterate the Obama administration’s date of mid-year 2011 to begin the withdrawal of troops. Thus, we rate Sen. McCain’s statement TRUE.

3) According to CBS news, the White House spokesperson Robert Gibbs did report the President saying the withdrawal date is etched in stone and that the President even has the chisel. Thus, we will rate Sen. McCain’s statement TRUE.

This fact-check took a combined 1 hour.

The following is a fact-check from the June 27, 2010 episode of Meet the Press:  

SEN. JOHN McCAIN (R-AZ) | No military adviser recommended to President Obama that he set a date of mid-2011 for begin the withdrawal of coalition forces from Afghanistan – LIKELY FALSE

SEN. McCAIN: Look, I, I’m against a timetable. In wars, you declare when you’re leaving after you’ve succeeded. And, by the way, no military adviser recommended to the president that he set a date of the middle of 2011. So it was purely a political decision, not one based on facts on the ground, not based on military strategy or anything. Now…

MR. GREGORY: All–Senator, is that fair? All of his military advisers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Petraeus, General McChrystal, they all signed onto the idea…

SEN. McCAIN: They signed onto it…

MR. GREGORY: …of July. 2011. Well, isn’t it their obligation to say…

SEN. McCAIN: It’s not their idea.

MR. GREGORY: …that this is wrong?

SEN. McCAIN: In my view it is.

MR. GREGORY: Well, they didn’t do that, though.

SEN. McCAIN: In my view it is. They didn’t.

MR. GREGORY: So they were for it.

SEN. McCAIN: They didn’t do it. They didn’t do it, and they should have because they know better.

According to the New York Times, both Admiral Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates signed onto the date of mid-year 2011 to withdraw forces from Afghanistan, though, they both said withdrawal will hinge on “conditions on the ground.” But Gates and Mullen reiterated that mid-year 2011 will mark the date to start the transition of control to Afghan government. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, former commander of the war in Afghanistan, was “absolutely supportive” of the withdrawal date.

To judge whether the withdrawal date was purely political, we looked over Obama’s statements, including focusing on campaign promises to see if he ever mentioned the withdrawal date on the campaign trail. Obama did pledge to send additional brigades to Afghanistan on the campaign trail, but never mentioned a date of withdrawal from Afghanistan. The first mention of the specific withdrawal date was on December 1, 2009, in President Obama’s speech at West Point.

As Mr. Gregory rightfully pointed out, it is unlikely that Sen. McCain’s point could be true when President Obama’s military advisers indicated they supported the timetable. Although, it’s worth acknowledging that it is unlikely that a presidential military adviser would publicly contradict the President, that assumption cannot provide a factual basis for McCain’s statement. In addition, we could find no evidence that the Obama administration determined the withdrawal timetable for political reasons, though, we admit it is obviously impossible to confirm at this time what happened behind closed doors regarding the matter.  We rate Sen. McCain’s statement LIKELY FALSE.

The following fact-check took a combined 2.75 hours..