Tags: Afghanistan | Barack Obama | Middle East | Russia | mac thornberry | troops | afghanistan

Rep. Thornberry: Keeping Troops in Afghanistan 'Better Than Alternative'

Fox News' "America's Newsroom."

By    |   Thursday, 15 Oct 2015 12:29 PM

President Barack Obama's decision to keep thousands of American troops in Afghanistan beyond the end of his term is "better than the alternative," Rep. Mac Thornberry said Thursday.

"Any time the president makes a security decision that's not a national disaster, I'm grateful for it," the Texas Republican, who heads the House Armed Services Committee, told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" host Bill Hemmer.

"This is not a decision to win in Afghanistan, it's a strategy to avoid another Iraq, which is what would have happened if he drew down like he did in Kabul."

At the same time, said Thornberry, "we shouldn't overestimate what 10,000 troops can do."

On Thursday, Obama said his plan will keep 5,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan into 2017, after his term ends.

Story continues below video.

The number will represent just over half the 9,800 troops that are in the country now, but is far less than the 100,000 troops there in 2010 and earlier.

However, last year Obama announced a plan to remove all but 1,000 troops, leaving those there to serve as security units for the nation's embassy in Kabul.

But still, ISIS is growing, the Taliban is gaining strength and al-Qaida is still in Afghanistan, said Thornberry, and Obama's decision is better than complete withdrawal, and he is "grateful for a decision that is not a disaster. Maybe we can do better."
 
Thornberry also criticized Obama on the results of a poll that shows 70 percent of Americans believe the administration does not have a clear strategy in Syria, and that 53 percent believe Russian President Vladimir Putin has the upper hand in that country, compared to 22 percent for Obama.

"The American people don't see leadership," he told Hemmer. "There is no magic answer for Syria, but they would like to see something that can point us in a positive direction."

Cuban forces, which have trained in Russia for some time, are reportedly on the ground in Syria, and Thornberry said Putin is happy to have what he calls "volunteer proxy forces" there to be sure Syrian President Bashar al-Assad remains in power.

"I think President Obama is trying to put a happy face on a disaster, that this somehow will be harmful for Putin," said Thornberry. "For 40 years the Russians have not had a significant presence in the Middle East, and in a few weeks that has completely turned around. Putin is willing to pay the price, especially if it's Cuban lives as he extends his influence."

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President Barack Obama's decision to keep thousands of American troops in Afghanistan beyond the end of his term is "better than the alternative," Rep. Mac Thornberry said Thursday.
mac thornberry, troops, afghanistan, barack obama
420
2015-29-15
Thursday, 15 Oct 2015 12:29 PM
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