Archive for Thursday, June 16, 2011

Defense Secretary Robert Gates: Afghanistan is not ‘war without end’

June 16, 2011


— Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Wednesday bluntly rejected suggestions that Afghanistan is a “war without end,” defending the U.S. military operation amid fresh congressional pressure on President Barack Obama to withdraw a significant number of U.S. troops beginning next month.

Gates acknowledged the war fatigue throughout the country and on Capitol Hill as the Afghan conflict nears the decade mark with lives lost and billions of dollars spent. But he argued that the United States and its NATO allies have made progress in building up Afghan security forces to prevent the al-Qaida terrorist network from a dangerous revival.

“I know people are frustrated. The country has been at war for 10 years. I know people are tired,” Gates told the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee. “People also have to think in terms of stability and in terms of the potential of (al-Qaida) reconstitution. What’s the cost of failure?”

In the coming days, Obama will confer with Gates as well as senior military and administration officials and decide how many of the 100,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan to withdraw in the initial round of troop reductions. Several lawmakers are clamoring for significant cuts, citing the killing of Osama bin Laden and CIA Director Leon Panetta’s assessment that less than 100 al-Qaida members remain in Afghanistan.

Twenty-seven senators, Democrats and Republicans, sent a letter to Obama on Wednesday pressing for a shift in Afghanistan strategy and major troop cuts.

“Given our successes, it is the right moment to initiate a sizable and sustained reduction in forces, with the goal of steadily redeploying all regular combat troops,” the senators wrote. “The costs of prolonging the war far outweigh the benefits. It is time for the United States to shift course in Afghanistan.”

Signing the letter was a fourth of the Senate, 25 Democrats and two freshman Republicans, Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky.

Gates insisted that the war is heading toward an end date of 2014 in a somewhat testy exchange with Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.

“This is not a war without end,” Gates said. “Troops will be coming down during that period. The costs of these wars is coming down dramatically. The cost of these wars will drop between fiscal 2011 and 2012 by $40 billion and between ’12 and ’13 probably by several tens of billions of dollars more. I think the prospects of having a more stable Afghanistan in terms of a country that can defend itself ... I’m not talking about a Vermont democracy here.”

“Neither am I, Mr. Secretary, and you know that,” Leahy interrupted.

“I know,” Gates said, “but what I’m talking about is we are not in the business of nation building. What we are trying to do is build an Afghan national security forces to the point where they have the ability to defend that country and so that the Taliban and al-Qaida cannot reconstitute themselves in that country.”

Gates’ back-and-forth with Leady was an anomaly in what was likely his last congressional appearance after 4 1/2 years as Pentagon chief. Gates is retiring June 30 and several senators praised Gates.

“This nation is truly in your debt for turning the tide in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii.


Richard Heckler 7 years ago

Bush Admits He Was 'Wrong'

Tuesday, Dec 13 2005

In a speech today in Washington, D.C., President Bush accepted responsibility for faulty intelligence that led the nation to war in Iraq.

"It is true that much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong. As president I am responsible for the decision to go into Iraq. And I'm also responsible for fixing what went wrong by reforming our intelligence capabilities. And we're doing just that."


On Dec 14 2005 GW Bush should have stopped funding the war and brought the soldiers home instead of digging in deeper and deeper.

Nonstop invasion of other countries is simply not justified and may be against the law. The CIA is wandering about in a terrorist mode creating upheaval. This will cost the USA more soldiers and more reckless spending.

Stop the war and bring the troops home.

Flap Doodle 7 years ago

How many threads did you spam with this same text today, merrill?

Flap Doodle 7 years ago

BTW, what was your source for this quote? Did you just make it up or did you find it on some site with the same credibility as the Weekly World News?

Flap Doodle 7 years ago

"...Lybia is not a war..." Try telling that to the folks getting shelled and bombed and blown up and stuff.

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