President Barack Obama’s Afghanistan plan criticized by both parties

Date: Jun 23, 2011

President Barack Obama's Afghanistan plan criticized by both parties

Congressional Democrats are leading the criticism of President Barack Obama's troop withdrawal plan from Afghanistan, arguing that his timeline for bringing 33,000 U.S. troops home by next summer isn't fast enough.

An initial drawdown of 10,000 troops is expected to take place in two phases, with 5,000 troops coming home this summer and 5,000 more by the end of the year. An additional 20,000-plus are to follow by September 2012.

Democrats said that wasn't adequate.

"It has been the hope of many in Congress and across the country that the full drawdown of U.S. forces would happen sooner than the president laid out - and we will continue to press for a better outcome," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., leading a chorus of disgruntled Democrats who took the president to task, albeit politely.

From across the aisle, the Republican response to Obama's timeline for withdrawing tens of thousands of troops was measured. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, warned Obama not to sacrifice the gains the U.S. has made in Afghanistan, while Arizona Sen. John McCain said the drawdown was too rash.

"This is not the 'modest' withdrawal that I and others had hoped for and advocated," McCain said in a statement following Obama's prime-time address to the nation Wednesday night.

"It seems the president is trying to find a political solution with a military component to it, when it needs to be the other way around," Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said.

John Kerry, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee objected to that argument. "Everybody has consistently said there is ... no military solution," he said. "If there is no military solution, then you better go hunt for the political one."

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