Thursday, December 3, 2009

Congressman Franks Responds to President Obama's Afghanistan Decision

Decision to Not Fully Resource Troops and Set Withdrawal Date Sends a Dangerous Message to America's Enemies

December 1, 2009 - Congressman Trent Franks (AZ-02) gave the following response to the President's announcement this evening that he will order the deployment of 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan over the next six months, and is setting a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan for July of 2011.

"The President seems to forget that both our friends and enemies have been watching the delay in a decision on Afghanistan that is about three months too long in coming. This president has had no difficulty being decisive when it comes to spending taxpayers money-- whether on the stimulus, cash for clunkers, cap and tax, or health care-- but when it comes to our soldiers on the ground putting their lives at risk every day, somehow a delay is acceptable.

"More importantly, President Obama's overdue decision is sending a message of weakness on two fronts— first, undercutting our generals on the ground by not fully resourcing their explicitly stated needs, and second, announcing to the enemy that our troops will be withdrawn at a given time.

"The refusal of the President to fulfill General McChrystal's request leaves many unanswered questions, and both Congress and the American people deserve some answers. Where is the analysis that led the White House to make this determination? Was there an independent review? What risks does President Obama, our commander in chief, accept in sending thousands fewer troops then General McChrystal requested?

"Giving a date for withdrawal sends a message to our enemy that this is now a war of attrition, that al-Qaeda and the various other insurgent groups need merely 'lie low' until our projected withdrawal date. This will be interpreted as nothing less than a victory by the enemy, and our courageous young men and women in armed forces will be risking their lives based on a policy that is focused on political objectives rather than victory. Al-Qaeda and jihadist groups know full well they cannot overcome the greatest military power on earth, if we are committed to victory. What Obama is doing is telling them we're not committed, and all they have to do is protract the war until the withdrawal date.

"And lest we forget the importance of prevailing in Afghanistan-- President Obama himself said that 'this is not a war of choice. This is a war of necessity.' Indeed, Afghanistan is being used as a staging ground for Al Qaeda and other insurgent groups whose goal it is to gain control of part or all of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal.

"The only thing worse than completely giving up on Afghanistan and bringing all of our troops home under a white flag immediately, is to keep our troops there while only partially resourcing them and by merely half committing to victory. Nothing could be more unconscionable for a commander in chief."

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