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With Osama Found, a Congresswoman Asks: Where's the Afghanistan Exit Strategy?

By       Message John Nichols       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   2 comments

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Wasn't the point of the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan to get Osama bin Laden?
And if that was the point then, isn't it time -- with the news that Osama has been tracked down not in Afghanistan but in Pakistan -- to bring the troops and the war dollars home?

These are the questions that Congress should be asking this week.

While it is appropriate enough to investigate what the Pakistanis knew and when they knew it -- as Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Carl Levin, D-Michigan, suggests when he says Pakistani intelligence and military officials "have some explaining to do" -- most members of Congress are avoiding the fundamental issue that is raised by the killing of bin Laden.

But Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, gets it.

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"Early in his term, President Obama committed to two goals: hunt down and capture or kill Osama bin Laden and begin an accelerated withdrawal from Afghanistan in July 2011," notes the second-term House member. On Sunday, Pingree notes, "he fulfilled that first commitment."

Now, the congresswoman says: "I am asking the President to keep his commitment to an accelerated withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

And she is not asking on her own.

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Pingree has begun a petition campaign, asking her constituents in Maine and citizens across the country to sign onto a statement to Obama that reads:  "We commend you for bringing Osama bin Laden to justice. Please keep your commitment of an accelerated withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan beginning this July." 

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John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, has written the Online Beat since 1999. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress.

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