McConnell: McChrystal Controversy A ‘Diversion’ From Afghanistan Mission


Looks like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is trying to tie President Obama’s hands.

At his weekly press conference this afternoon, McConnell suggested that the row over General McChrystal’s comments in Rolling Stone were a ‘diversion’ from the ultimate goal of winning the war in Afghanistan.

“It seems to me it’s important to remember that we’ve got a conflict going on in Afghanistan, a challenging conflict, which has enjoyed bipartisan support, unlike the war in Iraq,” McConnell said. “And I hope we can keep our eye on the ball here, and win in Afghanistan and not get diverted off of that on to these other issues that seem to have developed.”Emphasis his.

McConnell refused to go further. “The important thing here is to get the mission right and to win,” McConnell added. “And rather than getting diverted off on this I think it’s important for everybody around here to remember that we’ve got a big stake in having the Afghan conflict come out the right way. This is a war that to date has enjoyed pretty broad bipartisan support.”

But the pretty clear implication is that the GOP reserves the right to–at the very least–second guess Obama if he cans McChrystal, who has driven the United States’ Afghanistan strategy. As before, Republicans really are tiptoeing toward supporting McChrystal over the administration on this.


Brian Beutler is TPM’s senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he’s led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at