The Cable

Exclusive: Kit Bond on the Afghanistan strategy briefing

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s ranking Republican, Kit Bond, R-MO, calls into The Cable to give some insider details on the Afghanistan strategy briefing he attended at the White House just now. The meeting was heavy on strategy, light on specifics, and generally had a positive and bipartisan tone, Bond reports. His main takeaway was that ...

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s ranking Republican, Kit Bond, R-MO, calls into The Cable to give some insider details on the Afghanistan strategy briefing he attended at the White House just now.

The meeting was heavy on strategy, light on specifics, and generally had a positive and bipartisan tone, Bond reports. His main takeaway was that Obama pledged not to return to a counterterrorism approach, where troops "shoot and then fall back to the base," Bond said.

Obama told the lawmakers that "nobody on his team was proposing that," Bond reported, which lawmakers took to mean that the president was leaning toward a strategy heavily focused on counterinsurgency, which is of course more manpower intensive.

And though Obama didn’t reveal whether or not he will approve Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s request for up to 40,000 more troops, the president did talk about the need for Congress to quickly approve additional funding quickly if and when more troops are sent over there.

"If he provides more troops, we are going to need more resources," was the message the White House was sending, according to Bond, who interpreted that to mean another supplemental funding bill could be in the offing.

Bond’s message to the president was similar to that of Sen. John McCain, namely that time is of the essence and the new strategy needs to be announced now and explained to the public.

"Obama said he understands the urgency but still wants to consider all options," Bond said.

Every lawmaker who wanted to had the opportunity to say his or her piece, but only for one to two minutes, so everybody had to make it short and sweet. So many congressmen took that opportunity that the meeting lasted much longer than had been planned.

There was no discussion in the meeting of the demand by Republicans that McChrystal be allowed to testify in open hearing, Bond said.

 Twitter: @joshrogin
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