Thursday, June 23, 2011

President Announces Troop Withdrawal from Afghanistan

President Obama has announced his plan for the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. In short, the plan is to recall 5,000 troops this summer, another 5,000 by the end of the year, and an additional 20,000 by September of 2012. Leaders on both sides of the elephant/donkey divide are criticizing the plan.
"It has been the hope of many in Congress and across the country that the full drawdown of U.S. forces would happen sooner than the president laid out and we will continue to press for a better outcome," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., leading a chorus of disgruntled Democrats who took the president to task, albeit politely.
Okay, so the Democrats are unhappy that it's taking so long. What's the Republicans' problem with the plan?
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, warned Obama not to sacrifice the gains the U.S. has made in Afghanistan, while Arizona Sen. John McCain said the drawdown was too rash.

"This is not the 'modest' withdrawal that I and others had hoped for and advocated," McCain said in a statement following Obama's prime-time address to the nation Wednesday night.
So the drawdown is too much, too fast. No surprise there.

I think it's far more likely that the reasoning behind the plan has much to do with the timing; the bulk of the troops will be coming home just before the 2012 election. I think the administration is just hoping that it will give them something positive (from its point of view) to use as a talking point in the late stages of the campaign next fall.

(Crossposted at Say Anything)

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