Senator Sanders' Statement on Afghanistan
Thanks to Stephen Fox for helping with this.
WASHINGTON, December 1 -- Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) made the following statement after President Obama announced tonight that he will send 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan.
"I agree with President Obama that it would be a setback for democracy and stability if the Taliban regained power, but I have serious concerns.
"First, why are American taxpayers and our brave soldiers bearing almost all the burden in what should be an international effort? Where are Europe, Russia, China and the rest of the world? Second, why in the midst of a severe recession -- with 17 percent of our people unemployed or under-employed and one out of four kids on food stamps -- are we going to be spending $100 billion a year on Afghanistan when we have so many pressing needs at home? Third, I worry about how we can forge a dependable partnership with an Afghan government that is ineffective and corrupt.
"My nightmare is that we may get caught in a quagmire situation from which there will be no successful exit."* * *
Statemen of Senator Tom Udall
WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Tom Udall issued the following statement this evening in reaction to President Barack Obama's address outlining an increase in troops for the war in Afghanistan:
"I appreciate President Obama's thoughtful and deliberative approach in both determining and explaining the path forward in Afghanistan. He obviously inherited a very complex situation as president. Fighting two costly wars and determining the best course of action is not an easy task to undertake.
"Throughout the process that has led to the president's decision, I have expressed my concerns surrounding the strategy in Afghanistan. I do not believe our commitment there should be open-ended. It should be an Afghan-led effort. And with the widespread government corruption we have seen -- especially in the recent election -- I do not believe we have a reliable partner in this effort.
"While the president and his administration are beginning to address these concerns, I remain unconvinced that sending an additional 30,000 American troops into harm's way improves the situation or advances our national security interests in the region. Although skeptical, I remain eager to learn the rationale for this strategy in Afghanistan as the plan and its details are explored through committee testimony and debate in the days and weeks to come."
Statement of U.S. Senator Russ Feingold
On the President's Decision to Increase Our Troop Presence in Afghanistan
"I do not support the president's decision to send additional troops to fight a war in Afghanistan that is no longer in our national security interest. It's an expensive gamble to undertake armed nation-building on behalf of a corrupt government of questionable legitimacy. Sending more troops could further destabilize Afghanistan and, more importantly, Pakistan, a nuclear-armed state where al Qaeda is headquartered. While I appreciate that the president made clear we won't be in Afghanistan forever, I am disappointed by his decision not to offer a timetable for ending our military presence there. I will work with members of both parties and both houses of Congress to push for a flexible timetable to reduce our troop levels in Afghanistan, as part of a comprehensive strategy to combat al Qaeda in the region and around the world."
Earlier today, Senator Feingold was joined by Representatives Jim McGovern (D-MA), Walter Jones (R-NC) and Barbara Lee (D-CA) in voicing opposition to a troop increase for Afghanistan. Video of Senator Feingold's remarks is available at http://www.youtube.com/senrussfeingold#p/u/0/nmFRe1qesSg.