Matthews Suggests Obama Should Follow Woody Harrelson's Advice on Afghanistan

Chris Matthews, on Tuesday's "Hardball," invited on former Cheers star Woody Harrelson to promote his new movie, The Messenger, and also talk Afghanistan war policy. The Zombieland actor announced that he was opposed not only to the war in Iraq, but also to the fight in Afghanistan as he compared it to Vietnam and advised that Barack Obama should "pull those troops out," to which Matthews chimed: "It doesn't look like he's pulling out. He's not gonna follow the recommendation of Mr. Woody Harrelson it looks like...although he might be better off doing that." [audio available here]

The following is the relevant exchange between Matthews and Harrelson as it was aired on the October 27 edition of "Hardball":

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about this, the war. I mean we’ve got two wars going now, one that hopefully is settling down, we’re coming home next year from Af-, from Iraq. But the other one looks like we might be beefing up. Your feelings about it?

WOODY HARRELSON: Well I’ve been pretty vocal about how I feel about the war which is I’m against it. I think it’s, I think the reasons that we went to war were pretty obvious and I think that, the thing that happened for me, though, during the course of the filming of this movie, I got to spend a lot of times with the people in the Army. And I really came to love the people that I met and I felt they were heroic. They’re not making any money, they’re putting their life on the line every day and they’re doing it out of the love of their country and I really was knocked out by them. And I felt like in the end I, I, I loathe the war but I love the warriors. So it was a big thing for me.

MATTHEWS: Well the great contradiction is that we keep hearing stories like General McChrystal says more troops and in a weird way, the guys out there who are risking and giving their lives under orders, are, are getting confused with the people giving the orders. I mean it seems to me the challenge is to give them the right orders. To give them the right mission, the right wars to fight. And that’s the civilian’s job. That’s the-

HARRELSON: I think there is a lot of similarity between what’s happening now and what happened with LBJ. It’s an unpopular thing that’s happening over there and I think that, I think, what I would love to see is they bring the troops home. Because I think it’s not a war they should not be fighting.

MATTHEWS: What do you make of Barack Obama’s predicament? He has, he ran and said that was the "necessary war." That, that Iraq was a mistake, that we didn’t have to do that. But this one we went into chase the Taliban so we could get rid of them because they allowed al Qaeda operate? Well? And his challenge now is the military guy over there McChrystal saying, "I need another 40,000 troops." If he doesn’t give him the 40,000, he’s not giving his guy enough to carry out the mission he gave him.

HARRELSON: Yeah I mean there are a lot of parallels between this and Vietnam and I, I just hope, you know what LBJ, I think probably what LBJ should have done was pull those troops out earlier even though it seemed like that wasn’t the move at the time. And I think that’s what should happen here. But then again I’m just an actor.

MATTHEWS: You’re also humble. Thank you. You’re right about LBJ. We will discuss the rest of this issue as the time goes on here. But you’re dead right about LBJ. I don’t think we gained anything from ‘68 and on. That war just continued and we ended up pulling out the same way we would’ve pulled out in ‘65. Anyway thank you, Woody Harrelson. Good luck with this movie. The movie is The Messenger. It’s obviously heavily freighted with importance right now as this war continues and perhaps gets escalated some time, it looks like now between the 7th and the 11th of this month the President is gonna call up for something, perhaps up to 40,000 more troops, somewhere in between. It doesn’t look like he’s pulling out. He’s not gonna follow the recommendation of Mr. Woody Harrelson it looks like. Up next, although he might be better off doing that.

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.