Phoenix President Barack Obama chastised the defense industry and a freespending Congress on Monday for wasting tax dollars “with doctrine and weapons better suited to fight the Soviets on the plains of Europe than insurgents in the rugged terrain of Afghanistan.”
“Twenty years after the Cold War ended, this is simply not acceptable. It’s irresponsible. Our troops and our taxpayers deserve better,” he told a national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. “If Congress sends me a defense bill loaded with a bunch of pork, I will veto it.”
Turning to the two foreign wars engaging the United States, Obama spoke of fierce fighting against Taliban and other insurgents leading up to Thursday’s national elections in Afghanistan. He said U.S. troops are working to secure polling places so the elections can go forward and Afghans can choose their own future.
He said the new U.S. strategy recognizes that al-Qaida has moved its bases into remote areas of Pakistan and that military power alone will not win that war. At the same time, confronting insurgents in Afghanistan “is fundamental to the defense of our people.”
As to Iraq, Obama reiterated his commitment to remove all combat brigades by the end of next August and to remove remaining troops from the country by the end of 2011.