“We all want our troops to come home as soon as possible, but we shouldn’t adhere to an arbitrary timetable on the withdrawal of our troops from Afghanistan. This decision should not be based on politics or economics. America’s brave men and women in uniform have fought to achieve significant progress in Afghanistan, some having paid the ultimate price. I look forward to hearing the testimony of our military commanders in the days ahead.”

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“I thought his speech was deeply concerning. Look how he phrased the outcome of this war. He said we need to end the war, quote unquote, responsibly. When America goes to war, America needs to win. We need to close out the war successfully, and what that means now is not nation-building. What it means is to follow General Petraeus’s advice and to get those security forces built up where they can pick up the slack as we draw down.

“I supported the surge, and I would have supported it even at a higher level as General McChrystal recommended. I supported President Obama’s decision to surge even at the levels that he did, but it shows you a window in his thinking on the very night that he announced the surge, he very quickly announced a deadline for withdrawal.”

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“The war in Afghanistan is an asymmetrical war, and our approach ought to adjust accordingly. Our troops have done everything we’ve asked them to. They’ve routed the Taliban, dismantled Al Qaeda, and facilitated democratic elections.

“Now it is time we move to a focused counter-terror effort which requires significantly fewer boots on the ground than the President discussed tonight.

“We need a safe but rapid withdrawal which encourages Afghans to assume responsibility, while leaving in place a strong counter intelligence and special forces effort proportionate to the threat. The War on Terror is being fought against a global enemy, and it is critical that we have the resources to fight them wherever they’re found.”

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“Don’t kid yourself. President Obama’s decision to withdraw 33,000 troops from Afghanistan before he stands for re-election is not driven by the United States’ ‘position of strength’ in the war zone as much as it is by grim economic and political realities at home.

“A sagging economy, a soaring national debt, and an increasingly restive Congress pushed Obama to order troop reductions that are both deeper and faster than recommended by his military commanders…

“In the end, Obama chose the clearest course to re-election.”

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