April 25th, 2012

Rep. Rohrabacher on being denied entry into Afghanistan

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) spoke with CNN lead political anchor Wolf Blitzer today about being denied entry into Afghanistan. A highlight is after the jump and a full transcript will be posted at http://archives.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/2012.04.25.html.

Please credit all usage of the interview to CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer

Highlight from Interview

BLITZER:  Who called you from the Defense Department?  Was it the Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta?

ROHRABACHER:  I think — I did not talk to Leon, but I think that — yes, the answer is Louie was talking to Panetta —

BLITZER:  And Panetta said that they wouldn’t let that U.S. military plane take off if you were on it, a member of Congress?

ROHRABACHER:  And the chairman of the Oversight Investigation Subcommittee was on it and that’s me, and then when I said that’s OK, Louie.  I’ll look into going commercial which there are commercial flights from Dubai to Kabul, at that point I got a call from Hillary and —

BLITZER:  Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state.

ROHRABACHER:  Excuse me, the secretary of state, Clinton, and to be fair about it, you know, we didn’t have time to work out these glitches before.  I was — it was a very short time before when I got on this CODEL and by the time we were going to have to leave —

BLITZER:  Well, what did the secretary of state say to you?

ROHRABACHER:  She basically said that she’d been through many — a lot of mini crises there in Afghanistan with the burning of the Korans and our soldiers urinating on these dead bodies and then one of them going crazy and killing civilians and she just felt that another mini crisis which might erupt because Karzai hated me so much that he would create a crisis and she just thought it would be disruptive to our ability to get her job done.

BLITZER:  And so a country like Afghanistan that receives about — maintaining 90,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan and costs American taxpayers $2 billion every week —

ROHRABACHER:  That’s right.

BLITZER:  — $100 billion a year, so she would allow Hamid Karzai to dictate that an American congressman cannot visit his country?

ROHRABACHER:  Well I think that she should have stood up for that, but however, she asked me to do that and I complied with her wishes.  I thought she was asking me in a respectful way, but she was having to deal with this corrupt prima donna who heads that country and realizing that, look, members of Congress should be over there to see if the dynamics are such that we’re not just wasting people’s lives and money, and there are changes that need to happen for us to be able to succeed.  They have pushed aside those people who defeated the Taliban originally.  We need to get the Uzbeks and the Tadjiks and the other people not — that Karzai has kept out of his government and put them together with the Taliban and everybody else —