July 3 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama’s plan to pull 33,000 troops from Afghanistan by September 2012 is causing needless danger and confusion on the ground there, two U.S. Republican senators said.
“It creates unnecessary risk and it has created risk,” Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told “Fox News Sunday” today. “It has changed the momentum. People wondering what we’re up to.”
Obama announced last month plans to remove 33,000 extra troops he ordered to Afghanistan in 2009 because the military force has largely met its goals. Polls show declining public support for the almost 10-year-old war. Critics say the withdrawal strategy puts American objectives in jeopardy.
“The fact is that there was no recommendation by any military person to have this early withdrawal and it’s an unnecessary risk,” Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican, told CNN’s “State of the Union” today.
“Afghans are now wondering if we are leaving or not and that can undermine the whole effort and sacrifice that has been made ever since this important surge began,” McCain said.
Graham said he’s confident that the decision to withdraw the troops wasn’t made by U.S. military commanders.
Obama, in a June 22 speech outlining the plan, said scaling back in Afghanistan will allow time to “focus on nation- building here at home.”
A survey released June 21 by the Pew Research Center found for the first time a majority of Americans, 56 percent, want to bring U.S. troops home as soon as possible rather than wait until the Afghan situation has stabilized.
The survey reflects an 8-point increase in support for a withdrawal since May and a 16-point increase from a year ago. The survey of 1,502 adults was conducted June 15-19 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
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