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UPDATED: Chaffetz talks pull out, votes for more war

by Jesse Fruhwirth
- Posted // 2010-03-12 -

(to listen to the raw 10-minute interview with Chaffetz, click the play button above)

Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz spoke with City Weekly this morning explaining why, despite his Nov. 30, 2009, call to bring the troops home from Afghanistan he voted against a resolution that would have directed the president to do just that.

In short, he says his criticisms of the war in Afghanistan are the same as they were in November, but he voted against this resolution in particular because despite "exceptions through the end of the year for safety concerns" the resolution was unpalatable because it called for a 30-day withdrawal.

So it's not that he opposes a pull-out, he just opposes this particular version of it.

As you can hear in the podcast of our conversation, I had a hard time knocking him off his talking points. Those are:

  1. The president has not defined what victory in Afghanistan looks like
  2. The Afghanistan resolution called for a 30-day withdrawal, which he says is irresonsible
  3. The United States should not be involved in nation building

That's where the interesting "Goldilocks" dilemma lies. If we're not going to "nation build" Afghanistan away from traditional tribal rule, but it's irresponsible to pull out now, what is the happy medium between those two things that Chaffetz wants to see happen?

In short, he doesn't know.

"I think we need to come up with a strategy to execute on that," was one answer he gave me.

Pressed again for affirmative recommendations to the president, he added,

"I don't have solutions for every bit of it. I don't believe war should be micromanaged by some member of Congress, but I think its the responsibility of Congress to ask difficult questions and hold the president accountable to answering. Our president has failed to do that."

So, to paraphrase, Chaffetz feels its his role--at least in regards to war--to ask difficult questions and criticize weaknesses in the president's plan, but it's not the role of a Congressman to come up with solutions or better ideas.

That's at least logical. But ultimately its the voters who decide what Congress's proper role is and can express their views at the voting box.

So, Utahns of the 3rd District,

What do you think?

Initial post from March 11, 2010

Nov. 30, 2009, Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz spoke against the war in Afghanistan. He said, "Mr. President, it is time to bring our troops home." So why did Chaffetz yesterday vote against a resolution that would direct the president to end the war?

H.Con.Res.248,"Directing the President, pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution, to remove the United States Armed Forces from Afghanistan," failed in a vote of 65 to 356.

Utah's other House members, Reps. Rob Bishop, a Republican, and Jim Matheson, a Democrat, voted against the resolution also. The resolution was sponsored by Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich, of Ohio. Just five Republicans voted in favor of the resolution including Rep. Ron Paul, of Texas.

Democratic Rep. Patrick Kennedy, of Rhode Island, blames the national press corps for Americans' apathy toward ending the war. Nearly all the war opponents were even-tempered and calm during their speeches, but not Kennedy.

aragon_carlos_a_lg.JPGSince 2001, there have been 1071 American soldiers killed in operation Enduring Freedom. That death list includes Carlos A. Aragon, 19, of Orem, who died in Helmand province of Afghanistan March 1.

He served as a Lance Corporal in the 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 4th Marine Division, Marine Forces . He died supporting combat operations according to the Military Times.

"This country is great because of people like Carlos who, at a very young age, step up and do the brave thing," Chaffetz said after Aragon's death.

Meanwhile, Chaffetz, 43, posted a press release on his official Website yesterday regarding his promise to seek no earmarks. There was no press release regarding his vote against the Afghanistan resolution. I placed a call into his office this morning; I was told the Congressman has meetings today but will call me to answer questions when he has time to do so. I'll update this post when that happens.

The operation in Afghanistan costs $3.6 billion per month (pdf) but that will increase as the Obama administration is projecting an 8 percent jump in military spending during 2010, a spending level that had been estimated by the Bush administration.

For more on Chaffetz's November recommendations regarding Aghanistan, click here.


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Posted // March 13,2010 at 21:48

Jason Chaffetz told my Ron Paul supporting friend he would have supported the Iraq War at the time, but knowing what we know now, he would not support it and thought we should pull out. That was before he was elected.

Now he has supported every war funding that has come along. It looks like he basically lied. I guess Obama is better than he is because Obama all along said he was going to escalate the war in Afghanistan so he never lied to anyone

All my posts with links here appear to be blocked, so try searching on these titles:

"Obama's Afghanistan Speech"

This one is by an Afghanistan woman's rights organization called RAWA :

"Let’s rise against the war crimes of US and its fundamentalist lackeys!"

People should probably also search on Obama and drone attacks.


Posted // March 12,2010 at 13:22

Chaffets is a complete dumbass, and Utahrds will suffer for it more than they can imagine. Remember the legacy of Bush? This Idiot's legacy will be just as damaging on a local level...


Posted // March 11,2010 at 17:51

We live in an armchair society where we root for our teams and only fill fulfilled when we win. Think of the lives lost and the money waisted, borrowed from China in the case of Iraq and Afghanistan. Utah has the lowest armed services rate in the country yet we are one of the most hawkish. No Chaffetz is only anti war ...when I behooves him and of course neither is our blue dog Matheson. Bishop? well he is a Utah Republican.See More


Posted // March 11,2010 at 11:51

I think perhaps a resolution to end Chaffetz's term is what we need. He has taken some of the most ridiculous positions in his short tenure as a freshman congressman... he pissed me off from the beginning with his Anti Marijuana group..then his anti healthcare BS embarrassing himself and the state, when he thought he could go up against the president...and now this! I think we deserve better representation than this!


Posted // March 11,2010 at 09:47

Mr. Chaffetz is not anti-war, but rather anti-war-when-it's-convenient. Principled advocates of peace would have supported -- and did support -- this resolution. Scoring political points and spouting typical conservative rhetoric is the name of the game, while substantive analysis and debate of the issue at hand is cast aside.

"Support our troops", we're told. "Give the Generals what they need", they say. War, war, war. The military-industrial complex Eisenhower warned us about dominates the political process both explicitly (through massive campaign donations and "providing jobs" for constituents) and implicitly (through the belief of these politicians that we must maintain our empire at all costs).

No, I'm not surprised that Chaffetz voted against this resolution. Thanks for the Kennedy clip -- it's up to citizen activists to apply pressure since the distracted electorate is too enthralled with The Bachelor and similarly brain-numbing tripe to bother caring about war.