Sens. Paul, Lee Sign Letter Telling Obama to Speed Afghan Pullout

Thursday, 08 Mar 2012 04:20 PM

By Tim Plaehn

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Republican Sens. Rand Paul and Mike Lee joined 21 Democrats and independent Sen. Bernie Sanders in signing a letter urging President Barack Obama to speed up the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

Paul, of Kentucky, and Lee, of Utah, are the only two Republicans who signed the letter, which presses Obama “to take every possible step to end the large scale combat operations in Afghanistan and transition our effort to a targeted counterterrorism strategy,” according to CNSNews.com.

War costs are devastating government efforts to solve domestic woes, the letter said, noting: “A majority of Americans worry that the costs of the war in Afghanistan will make it more difficult for the government to address the problems facing the United States at home. They’re right.”

The United States spends about $10 billion a month in Afghanistan. The president's 2013 budget includes $83 billion for the war. The senators' letter pushes for a more rapid reduction troops and costs, noting that the war has cost more than $650 billion in the past 10 years.

On Feb. 1, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the United States has a goal to change “from a combat role to a training, advice and assist role” in Afghanistan sometime this year. The senators’ letter requests more information on the timetable and projected cost savings.

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