Tags: mccain | obama | afghan | plan

McCain Criticizes Obama on Afghan Exit

Wednesday, 02 Dec 2009 10:30 AM

By Dan Weil

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., supports President Obama’s decision to send more troops to Afghanistan but objects to his 2011 pullout date.

“I think the 30,000 additional U.S. troops that will deploy as part of this mission, plus greater allied commitments, will enable us to reverse the momentum of the insurgency and create the conditions for success in Afghanistan,” McCain said in a statement.

“I support the president’s decision, and I think it deserves the support of all Americans, both Republicans and Democrats.”

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But McCain feels differently about Obama’s commitment to start bringing troops back home in mid-2011.

“What I do not support, and what concerns me greatly, is the President’s decision to set an arbitrary date to begin withdrawing U.S. forces from Afghanistan,” McCain says.

“A date for withdrawal sends exactly the wrong message to both our friends and our enemies – in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the entire region – all of whom currently doubt whether America is committed to winning this war,” he maintains.

“A withdrawal date only emboldens Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, while dispiriting our Afghan partners and making it less likely that they will risk their lives to take our side in this fight.”

The time for troops to come home is when we’ve achieved our objectives in Afghanistan, not when we’ve reached an arbitrary deadline, says McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee.

“Success is the real exit strategy.”

Other Republicans backed McCain’s view. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement, “As this surge of forces produces results in security, governance and in capabilities of the Afghanistan Security Forces, we must ensure that the transition of responsibilities is based on conditions, not timelines.”

Ironically enough, Obama may garner more support from Republicans on his strategy than from Democrats, many of whom favor immediate withdrawal.

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