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Doubts Surface Among Democrats on Afghan War Strategy

During testimony on Capitol Hill Tuesday, Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the Afghan war is growing more complicated and may require more troops. Margaret Warner reports on doubts among some Democrats on the strategy for Afghanistan.

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  • GWEN IFILL:

    Next, growing doubts in President Obama's own party about the Afghan war. Margaret Warner has that story.

  • MARGARET WARNER:

    The administration's senior military officer, Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen, went to Capitol Hill today to urge patience for the president's stepped-up commitment in Afghanistan.

  • ADM. MIKE MULLEN:

    The president has given us a clear mission: disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qaida and its extremist allies, and prevent Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven again. You can't do that from off-shore, and you can't do that by just killing the bad guys. You have to be there, where the people are, when they need you there, and until they can provide for their own security.

  • MARGARET WARNER:

    Mullen also gave the clearest indication yet that Commanding General Stanley McChrystal is likely to recommend additional U.S. forces be sent.

  • ADM. MICHAEL MULLEN:

    Having heard his views and having great confidence in his leadership, a properly resourced counterinsurgency probably means more forces.

  • MARGARET WARNER:

    His comments immediately touched off a debate with Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin saying Afghan security forces need to be beefed up before more U.S. troops are sent.

  • SEN. CARL LEVIN, D-Mich.:

    Providing the resources needed for the Afghan army and Afghan police to become self-sufficient would demonstrate our commitment to the success of a mission that is in our national security interest, while avoiding the risks associated with a larger U.S. footprint. I believe these steps should be urgently implemented before we consider a further increase in U.S. ground combat troops beyond what is already planned to be deployed by the end of the year.

  • SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-Ariz.:

    In all due respect, Senator Levin, I've seen that movie before.

  • MARGARET WARNER:

    The committee's top Republican, Senator John McCain, swiftly countered, saying the administration should request more U.S. forces and do it quickly.

  • SEN. JOHN MCCAIN:

    Every day we delay in implementing this strategy and increasing the number of troops there, which we all know is vitally needed, puts more and more young Americans who are already there, lives in danger. I don't think we should do that.

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