Fischer opposes ‘Zero Option’ in Afghanistan

By   /   January 16, 2013  /   7 Comments

U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer met with General John Allen, commander of the International Security Assistance Force, in Kabul, Afghanistan on Saturday. Courtesy photo

By Deena Winter | Nebraska Watchdog

LINCOLN – U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer said today that while she saw lots of progress during her recent trip to Afghanistan, she opposes the so-called “Zero Option” of withdrawing all troops from Afghanistan by 2014.

“I don’t believe at this point that that is realistic,” she said during a conference call with reporters today.

Rather than a complete pullout by 2014, Fischer supports a carefully managed drawdown of troops, with a residual force in place to help Afghans with training and limited counter-terror operations during the transition.

Fischer returned Tuesday from a six-day trip to the Middle East with a handful of senators on the armed services and foreign relations committees. She was not allowed to reveal her whereabouts until she left Afghanistan.

“Our sons did not even know where I was,” she said.

Fischer met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Ambassador Daniel Shapiro in Israel. She said they talked about maintaining ties between the U.S. and Israel and the challenges Israel faces along its borders, as wells as Netanyahu’s concerns about Iran.

In Kabul, the contingent met with Gen. John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan.

“While there’s still a lot of work to be done in Afghanistan I was very impressed with the good work our troops have done,” Fischer said. “The nation is volatile, but conditions have improved.”

Fischer said she looks forward to seeing President Obama’s plan for transitioning from a combat role to advising and assisting Afghan forces.

“I share the desire to bring our troops home,” she said, but added, “We cannot afford to let that country become a safe haven for terrorists again.”

Fischer met with Nebraska soldiers during the trip, which included stops at U.S. bases at Camp Integrity and Camp Eggers.

Asked whether soldiers or military brass talked about the prospect of former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel being the next defense secretary, Fischer said Hagel’s name never came up during her trip and she doesn’t believe it would’ve been proper to have discussed it.

Netanyahu did not bring up Hagel’s name either, she said. Hagel’s possible appointment has been a concern to some pro-Israel groups that don’t like some of Hagel’s past statements on Israel and Iran.

Fischer said she has a meeting scheduled with Hagel next Wednesday.

“Of course I’m looking forward to seeing him,” she said.

She said she wants to talk about things such as core beliefs, defense cuts and military readiness and is not leaning one way or the other on his confirmation.

“I believe in the process,” she said. “I look forward to having a conversation with Senator Hagel and following the legislative process of a confirmation hearing.”

The Senate Armed Services Committee (of which Fischer is a member) will begin hearings on Hagel’s nomination on Jan. 31.

As for the president’s pending gun control proposal, Fischer said she is a strong supporter of second amendment rights and doesn’t think guns are causing the violence in America. She said the culture of violence – including movies and video games — and mental health needs should be looked at, too.

“It’s an emotional response when people look at guns as the culprit,” she said. “I think it’s hard to support a comprehensive bill. We need to take a step by step approach.”

Fischer’s husband and three sons are hunters and she used to travel with them on hunting trips but is not a hunter herself.

Contact Deena Winter at deena@nebraskawatchdog.org.

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  • Smith

    Well lets see, we have been in Afghanistan for 10 years…suppose it is time for the Afghanistan government to pay for our police services? Instead of us sending more and more foreign aid? It is painfully obvious we are following the example of the Russians-ruining our economy for what? Killing our boys and girls, for what? I just love paying to go bankrupt!

  • http://twitter.com/Spunjo1221 Meat Cleatsburg

    Deb Fisher…already failing

  • hayseed

    I hope if Senator Fischer is really serious about wasteful government spending that she will take a look at the cost of these needless wars and the bloated defense budget. These wars and the Bush tax cuts are the reason for the national debt that helped create the 2007-08 recession. She needs to listen to Chuck Hagel not just mimic the rhetoric of the chicken hawks.

  • OutWst

    Oh, for Pete’s sakes. Now she’s an expert on Afghanistan. Maybe she and her ranch would like to contribute a little more so we can afford to keep people there indefinitely. A typical big-spending Republican approach to the issue.

  • Watching_From_Lincoln

    So amazing, she’s such a perfect little Koch-puppet – you can’t even see David or Charles’s hand operating her mouth. What does she know about war, foreign policy or even serving our country? Not Jack Sh*t! Only what her handlers tell her to think, just like when she was a State Senator.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joan.bale.96 Joan Bale

    A six day trip to the middle east and Ms Fischer has memorized her Republican talking points and she is shocked that no one mentioned former senator Chuck Hagel and of course it would not be PROPER for the queen of Nebraska to discuss him. Senator Fischer also states she is a strong supporter of second amendment rights which means she has an A rating by the NRA most likely. She doesn’t think guns are causing the violence which is true, it is the people who can buy high capacity magizines and assult weapons. They cause the violence and they cause the fear that those twenty sweet children felt as they stood in a line and an assaut weapon fired three to eleven bullets per child through their little bodies as they cried for their mothers. So Ms Fischer you think hard about it and I will work hard to see that the people of Nebraska do not re elect you. I am embarrased that you were able to by the 2012 election.

  • DustinHanson

    What a fake conservative. If there was another option, I would have voted against her. There is nothing conservative about wasting billions in Afghanistan.