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Kirk, Schakowsky Disagree With Obama On Afghanistan

Congresswoman wants faster pullout while senator urges caution.

Local lawmakers reacted differently to President Barack Obama’s plan to reduce the U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan, which he detailed in a speech Wednesday night from the White House. 

 has expressed concerns about the plan to drawdown 33,000 troops from the current contingent of 100,000 within a year, saying it may be accelerating withdrawal too quickly.

While on the flip side,  thinks the president is not moving fast enough. 

Announcing that Afghanistan no longer represents a major terrorist threat to the U.S., Obama said 10,000 troops would be coming home by the end of the year and another 23,000 would conclude their tour by next summer. By the end of 2014, all American military personnel will leave and the U.S. will hand all responsibility to the Afghanistan government.

Kirk is concerned the timetable could be a repeat of past mistakes. 

“We withdrew our support and ignored Afghanistan in the 1990s and paid a high price in 2001,” Kirk said of backing rebels to end the Soviet occupation and the years afterward that gave rise to the Taliban. “We should learn from that mistake.” 

Schakowsky wants a swifter withdrawal. She does not think the current involvement is helping U.S. security, and is not convinced a military solution will work. 

“There is little evidence that this enormous expenditure of American lives and resources has bought us added security,” the 9th District congresswoman said of the billions of dollars spent since the 2001 invasion and the more than 1,700 American lives lost during the conflict.

“On the contrary, it has become unavoidably clear that we cannot achieve our goals in Afghanistan through military means,” she added.

Kirk accused Obama of not following the withdrawal suggestions of Gen. David Patraeus, the current military commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan and nominee for CIA director.

“The general [Patraeus] was successful in Iraq by maintaining American momentum while the Iraqi army grew to the size needed to maintain long-term security,” Kirk said. “To repeat his victory formula in Afghanistan, we would need to maintain military momentum against Al Qaeda and the Taliban.”

Schakowsky thinks diplomacy, along with helping the Afghan people develop their economy, is the better route for U.S. security. 

“I am concerned about the pace of the drawdown, and I urge the president to go beyond the reductions he announced and lay out a plan for a swift and sizeable redeployment of U.S. forces,” she said.

Clif Brown June 25, 2011 at 03:17 AM
Iraq is the scene of almost daily bombings - not even the "green zone" is secure. Companies do not want to send their employees there out of fear for their lives. The government is a house of cards, a man supported by Iran is a major political force and American forces are leaving with little short of a kick in the rear, certainly no thank-yous. The commander of the remaining U.S. forces is very very concerned about simply moving the force over the highway to leave. The economy is a disaster. The absolute rule of a ruthless dictator has been traded for scarcely controlled chaos. Mission accomplished? Afghanistan - attacked for providing a base for bin Laden and his group. The man left the country and al-Qaeda dispersed elsewhere almost immediately, leaving the people of Afghanistan (that includes the Taliban) to endure a decade of destruction, killings of civilians, repeated apologies for innocents killed by U.S. air strikes and accompanying denunciations by Hamid Karzai telling us we are occupiers with no regard for Afghan lives. Bin Laden ends up killed in another country by a tiny strike team. A ten year thrashing of a destitute country. Mission accomplished? For all the deaths of Americans, Iraqis and Afghanis have lost orders of magnitude more. Now we are saying goodbye because we really don't know what to do but get out. Mark Kirk is a military buff without a moment spent in the service. How glibly he speaks of the use of armed forces. Let him volunteer.
RonnieTheLimoDriver June 25, 2011 at 04:09 PM
Cliff I agree with everything except your last paragraph. While there has been some, lets say embellishment, of Sen. Kirks Military record, nobody doubts that in fact he did serve. His current rank is Commander in the US Naval Reserve and he has spent time in active military service. I have my disagreements with some of his politics, but I respect his service to this country.
Richard Schulte June 26, 2011 at 12:05 PM
"For all the deaths of Americans, Iraqis and Afghanis have lost orders of magnitude more." Clif, perhaps you have forgotten about Saddam Hussein. Although the streets of Baghad may not be as peaceful today as Chicago's North Avenue Beach on Memorial Day, Saddam Hussein is no longer among the living. Was it worth it to liberate Iraq from the evil of Saddam Hussein or was Iraq (and the world) a better place with Saddam Hussein and his sons alive and in charge? I guess the answer depends upon your perspective. If you lived in Iraq when Saddam was alive and had your daughters raped by his sons and your male children put through a tree shredder for the shear fun of it, you might not appreciate Saddam as much. Although the strategy was never explained to the American people, the reason we went to Iraq and Afghanistan can be explained by a look at a map. Between Iraq and Afghanistant sits Iran. If and when Iran gets nuclear weapons, they will use them against Israel. And now you know the real reason why we have the American military in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Keeping Iran in check is necessary, unless you want to see WW III. I missed WW II and, if you don't mind, I'll take a pass on WW III. Freedom is not free. Congresswoman Schakowsky does like military action, but the American Revolution (a war) created this great country. It took the Civil War to end slavery in the US. Sometimes war is required for the greater good. May God bless our troops.
Richard Schulte June 26, 2011 at 02:35 PM
"Iraq is the scene of almost daily bombings - not even the "green zone" is secure." Clif Brown An article titled "Headline: 'One dead, 10 injured in overnight shootings' - Chicago or Baghdad?" may be of interest. The author is Rick Moran and the address of the article is: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2011/06/headline_one_dead_10_injured_in_overnight_shootings_-_chicago_or_baghdad.html True, there are no suicide bombing in Chicago (yet), but perhaps the only thing different between Bagdad and Chicago is that Chicago has more restrictive gun laws than Bagdad. (That's the explanation of why there is no gun violence in Chicago.) Before we talk about about violence in a country that has just gone through a civil war, perhaps we need to talk about the violence in American cities. Are more people killed due to violence in Bagdad or Chicago? Hmmm, I don't know the answer to that question, but even having to ask the question tells you something about Chicago and other American cities. Not to be political, but which political party runs all of those violent American cities? Probably just a coincidence.
Harold Taggart July 07, 2011 at 02:31 AM
Bin Laden made it clear that his gripe was with infidel U.S. bases in Muslim Holy Lands in Saudi Arabia. He had been an ally of the U.S. but turned against it when the bases remained after Hussein was driven out of Kuwait. On 9/11 Saudis attacked the U.S. Pilot training took place in the U.S. KSM got his engineering degree from the U. of North Carolina. Planning was done in Germany and UER. KSM is in prison. Bin Laden is dead. What's left? We must feed the voracious military-industrial appetite until we manufacture a new enemy.

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