Last night President Barack Obama laid out his plan to bring the 30,000 troops home from Afghanistan by next summer, a move that brought howls of protest from Republicans like John McCain and John Boehner, who see it as risky.
Now add to the chorus of complaint Upper West Side Congressman Jerrold Nadler, who calls the plan “simply unconscionable.”
Congressman Nadler has been a long-time dove on foreign policy issues, and so his objection to the plan is not all that surprising, but his willingness to knock the president the day after it was released is.
Below are his full remarks delivered at a press conference earlier today:
“The President came out last night for three and a half more years of war in Afghanistan. And for what? In those three and a half years, more of our soldiers will die, more of our treasure will be spent, and in the end we will not be any closer to creating a stable Afghanistan or to enhancing our safety.
“The whole premise of this war is wrong. Fighting in Afghanistan does not enhance the security of the United States. We were attacked on 9/11 by Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda had bases in Afghanistan, and, at that time, it made sense to go in and destroy those bases, and we did. But the CIA tells us that there are now fewer than one hundred Al Qaeda personnel in all of Afghanistan. So why are we still fighting there? Why will we still have 70,000 troops in Afghanistan at the end of 2012? – troops who will continue to risk their lives every day in a war that has already claimed too many American lives. And we will continue pouring billions of dollars into an intractable mess when we should be devoting taxpayer funds to our own economy, to our own jobs, our own housing, social programs, and education.
“Afghanistan is in the middle of what is, so far, a 35 year civil war. If we continue on this course, in three years, there will be several thousand more dead American soldiers, several hundred billion more dollars wasted, and two or three more provinces labeled “pacified.” But as soon as we leave, now or in 2014 or 2016 or whenever, those provinces will become “unpacified,” the Taliban and the warlords will step up the fighting, and the Afghan civil war will resume its natural course.
“Our troops are fighting valiantly, but they are on the wrong mission. We should recognize that rebuilding Afghanistan is both beyond our ability and beyond our mandate to prevent terrorists from attacking the United States.
“To delay the withdrawal of our forces and continue this terrible policy at so high a cost is quite simply unconscionable. It is unjustifiable to sacrifice more lives and more money this way.
“We should withdraw our troops now – all of them – as rapidly as physically possible.”
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