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Obama announces troop drawdown, though lawmakers and candidates are hesitant

President Barack Obama addressing the nation about the war in Afghanistan from the East Room of the White House on Wednesday.
REUTERS/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
President Barack Obama addressing the nation about the war in Afghanistan from the East Room of the White House on Wednesday.

“When Americans go to war, America needs to win,” Pawlenty, the former Minnesota governor, said during an appearance on “The O’Reilly Factor.” “We need to close out the war successfully.”

“We need a safe but rapid withdrawal which encourages Afghans to assume responsibility, while leaving in place a strong counter intelligence and special forces effort proportionate to the threat,” Huntsman said in a statement.

The Michele Bachmann campaign did not immediately release a statement, but on Wednesday she told The Weekly Standard, “On Afghanistan, I firmly believe that we are at a point where we’ve got to stay the course, and we’ve got to finish the job … I believe that we will be victorious, and we’ll end it. I understand why people are frustrated. I completely understand. But I do trust General [David] Petraeus in that effort and in what he is doing over there. And I think that they are doing what we need to do.”

Republican leadership in the House and Senate issued statements supporting Obama’s 2009 troop surge, though they cautioned about drawing down too quickly.

The House Minority Leader, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, said, “Concluding this war will enable us to reduce the deficit and focus fuller attention on the priorities of the American people: creating jobs and investing in our nation’s future by building a strong, thriving economy for our children.” She acknowledged, though, that “many in Congress and across the country [hoped] that the full drawdown of U.S. forces would happen sooner than the President laid out.”

One of those members of Congress is Keith Ellison. As a co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the Minnesota Congressman sent a letter to Obama in May asking for “a near-term and significant drawdown of U.S. troop levels” beginning next month.

Minnesota Rep. John Kline, a former member of the Marine Corps who sits on the House Armed Services committee, issued a statement warning against a hard timetable for withdrawal.

“Our goal in Afghanistan is to see them become a stable country that denies the Taliban and al-Qaeda a safe haven from which to launch attacks against Afghanistan, Pakistan, or the U.S. and its allies,” he said. “To that end, Congress should be wary of any timeline that could impact the momentum achieved by the surge of forces that arrived last year.”

Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 06/23/2011 - 09:20 am.

    After feints in the other direction (eg. “outrage” over the undeclared non-war with Libya) the war party comes roaring back.

    So what will success look like?

    If we desire to drown our own government in a bathtub, by what right do we impose a government on those who have already drowned theirs?

    Do we, as a country apparently determined to make a certain form of religion the guiding star of our government, have a right to force secularism on a country that has always had a certain form of religion as their basic governing principle?

  2. Submitted by Jeff Wilfahrt on 06/23/2011 - 12:32 pm.

    President Obama’s choice of slow withdrawal assures one thing and one thing only. More Americans will bleed out on foreign soil over a longer period of time.

    A handful of American families will be forced to accept the utter depth of grief over loss of a loved one. While the pundits analyze, your fellow citizen soldiers die and families grieve… not that this should disrupt your analysis.

    “America is not at war. The Armed Forces are at war. America is at the mall”
    CNN post – March 2011

    Jeff Wilfahrt, Rosemount, MN

  3. Submitted by will lynott on 06/23/2011 - 06:47 pm.

    “When Americans go to war, America needs to win,” Pawlenty, the former Minnesota governor, said…”

    Ah. That must be why he supported Bush’s abandonment of Afghanistan to invade a sovereign nation that was no threat to the US. Makes perfect sense.

    Great. Just what we need in the White House–another republican chickenhawk.

    We’re getting out of there sooner or later, and everybody knows it. Sooner is better. Kline wants a “stable government?” What a laugh. The government will be “stable” as long as our troops are there. When they leave, it will fall apart. Doesn’t matter if it’s a year from now or ten years from now. The outcome will be the same.

    By the way Kline, I’d like to see your timetable for our invasions of Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, the other ‘stans, the Philippines, and Indonesia, to assure that the bad guys who hate us will not be able to gain a foothold somewhere else.


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