Boehner to Obama: Be Flexible

Wednesday, 22 Jun 2011 11:35 PM

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House Speaker John Boehner said President Obaa must be flexible, and that he will be held accountable “for ensuring that the pace and scope of the drawdown does not undermine the progress we’ve made thus far," Politico reports.

Boehner issued the statement just after the president's speech from the White House where he announced that 33,000 troops would be coming home by next summer.

 Boehner urged Obama to “continue to listen to our commanders on the ground as we move forward.”

In what may have been a swipe at the president for ignoring the advice of some at the Pentagon, and failing to mention Gen. David Petraeus in his speech, Boehner gave credit to Petraeus’s “counterinsurgency strategy” with gains in Afghanistan.

Boehner also said the president must rethink the drawdown if things change on the ground in Afghanistan: “It’s important that we retain the flexibility necessary to reconsider troop levels and respond to changes in the security environment should circumstances on the ground warrant,” he said.

Boehner was not the only one in this chorus.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, said "The drawdown of forces described by the President needs to be conducted in a manner that respects the professional judgment of our military commanders, preserves the security gains of the last year and allows for a slower pace of withdrawal if necessary," he said in a statement.

Sen. John McCain  called the drawdown  “an unnecessary risk.”

“If we pull out too soon, I think the consequences will be ... unnecessary sacrifices of the American blood,” said McCain.

Even outspoken Democratic Rep. Barney Frank said he was “disappointed," another signal of the growing frustration among some Democrats over wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“Removing the 33,000 troops in over a year in our budget crisis is not nearly good enough,” the Massachusetts lawmaker said on MSNBC.

“I don’t think it is isolationist to say that it is fruitless of us to do nation-building in Afghanistan,” Frank said. “The notion that America has a responsibility to the rest of the world is counterproductive.”

Among the GOP presidential contenders, Tim Pawlenty said Obama's call to end the war was misguided, that instead "American needs to win," and Jon Huntsman said he had hoped for a speedier withdrawal.


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