Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Congressman Urges Colleagues To Set Afghanistan Withdrawal Timetable

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination and a staunch anti-war voice in Congress, is circulating two privileged resolutions in Congress designed to set what he calls a "timely withdrawal" of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

When President Obama announced that he was sending 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan he said they would start coming home in 18 months. Opponents criticized him for setting a timetable - arguing that it telegraphs intent to the enemy. Better, they argued, to say the troops would come home when the mission is accomplished.

The administration then took pains to clarify the president's position. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Sunday declared that it was likely that it would take two-to-four years before the Afghan troops would be prepared to take over. Since then, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has said his troops won't be ready to take over security of the nation for another 15 years.

Now, General Stanley McChrystal, who heads both U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, says the troops will probably start returning home during the summer of 2011.

Unsatisfied, Kucinich is pressing for a date-certain. He says he will introduce resolutions in the House in January that would set a deadline for withdrawal.


Photo/Ben Caulfield

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