Military Watches
Find us on Facebook


Printer Friendly VersionPrinter Friendly VersionSend to a FriendSend to a Friend

McCain, Graham, Ayotte Call Withdrawal Plan “Political”
By Harold Hutchison

Troops with Kandahar PRT on patrol.
(DOD photo)

Barack Obama’s planned withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of 2016 faced almost immediate opposition from Republicans in Congress. Obama announced the withdrawal in a speech earlier today.

According to media reports, Obama stated that it was time to bring Operation Enduring Freedom, which began on 7 October, 2001, to a “responsible end.” About 9,800 American troops would remain in Afghanistan, but would be pulled out by the end of 2016, according to the Obama Administration.

In response, Representative Howard “Buck” McKeon told Foxnews.com, ““I’m pleased the White House met the military’s request for forces in Afghanistan. However, holding this mission to an arbitrary egg-timer doesn’t make a lick of sense strategically. Does the President seek to replicate his mistakes in Iraq where he abandoned the region to chaos and failed to forge a real security partnership? We are in Afghanistan because it was the spawning ground of al-Qaeda and the devastating attack on American soil. Those threats still exist. We leave when the Afghans can manage that threat, rather than on convenient political deadlines that favor poll numbers over our security.”

Troops board a CH-47 in Afghanistan.
(DOD photo)

Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), were far more critical in a joint statement. The Senators said, “The President’s decision to set an arbitrary date for the full withdrawal of U.S. troops in Afghanistan is a monumental mistake and a triumph of politics over strategy. This is a short-sighted decision that will make it harder to end the war in Afghanistan responsibly.”

The Senators also noted that “wars do not end just because politicians say so,” and claimed that Obama had not “learned nothing from the damage done by his previous withdrawal announcements in Afghanistan and his disastrous decision to withdraw all U.S. forces from Iraq.” The Senators also stated that the withdrawal would “embolden our enemies and discourage our partners in Afghanistan and the region. And regardless of anything the President says tomorrow at West Point, his decision on Afghanistan will fuel the growing perception worldwide that America is unreliable, distracted, and unwilling to lead.”

Senator Kelly Ayotte

“All wars end. The question is how they end. The war in Iraq has ended in tragedy. And it is difficult to see how we can succeed in Afghanistan when the President tells our enemies that our troops will leave by a date certain whether they have achieved our goals or not,” Senators McCain, Graham, and Ayotte said. The Senators also stated that a “limited” security assistance program would not have meant “endless war” but would have helped Afghan forces secure the country.

“The achievement of this goal, and the withdrawal of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, should be determined by conditions on the ground, not by the President’s concern for his legacy,” the Senators said.