December 2nd, 2009
05:00 PM ET
6 months ago

Senate committee questions July 2011 Afghan withdrawal date


Washington (CNN) – Lawmakers Wednesday on Capitol Hill sharply criticized President Obama's plan to start a U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in July 2011.

Critics argued the president was inconsistently setting an "arbitrary" deadline while also claiming any transfer of responsibility to the Afghan government ultimately will be based on conditions on the ground in that country.

Obama's blueprint faced questions Wednesday as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Announcing a firm date for starting an American withdrawal while also saying such a withdrawal depends on conditions on the ground "are two incompatible statements," said Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the committee's ranking Republican.

"You either have a winning strategy ... and then once it's succeeded, then we withdraw or, as the president said, we will have a date [for] beginning withdrawal in July 2011. Which is it? It's got to be one or the other. It's got to be the appropriate conditions, or it's got to be an arbitrary date. You can't have both."

Full story

Updated: 5: 00 p.m.


Filed under: Afghanistan • President Obama • Senate
soundoff (56 Responses)
  1. shoegazer

    Might as well get all the troops out sooner than later.There will be no victory being in the middle of what is essentially a three century civil war.Has history taught us nothing.

    December 2, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    Hard to fathom how a decision that was made after 3 complained-about months of reading intelligence reports and meeting with military, cultural and diplomatic experts is now somehow getting characterized as "arbitrary." GOP double-speak simply knows no bounds. Say anything, repeat it alot, then pretend you have bent reality to your will, right GOPers?

    December 2, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  3. Canuck

    Like every Canadian I talk to we are extremly proud of Obama and our military will step up the efforts in Afganastan. As I communicate all accross the world it appears that all of the US allies are very proud and happy Obama is the President. Too bad the right wing republicans would not put "Country First" for the first time in their lives and support their President. McCain is used to fighting wars in the past, things are not the same and an exit date is not set in stone and he should know that.May Freedom Endure and solidarity prosper

    December 2, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  4. Jim

    Why does anyone listen to McCain anymore? He's a has been, who has no clue how to fight a war.

    December 2, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  5. Marc

    About
    jj123 December 2nd, 2009 12:29 pm ET
    writhing about
    Sandra,Atlanta December 2nd, 2009 11:47 am ET

    'Can all of you republicans for just once since January 20th shut up and support the country instead of yourselves. I personally am absolutely sick of you and your constant controversy and complaining.
    _______________________________________
    Yes because the democrats were always respectful and courteous during the last administration.'

    In case you have forgotten, the democrats backed up the Bush administration stances in Afghanistan and Iraq, until they realized that the Bush Administration had lied to them (and the American people and the World in general)...
    Now you remember?

    December 2, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  6. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    is there really anything wrong with the GOP agreeing with President Obama FOR ONCE? He went against the base of his own party and in fact many Americans who oppose this conflict. The Repubs wanted a quick decision and to send more troops in and he's chosen to do the latter. STILL I guess you have to have some GOPer complain. Sen McCain I guess you want our men and women over there forever. I'm sure we that have family and freinds going there would like to know when they would be coming back home.

    December 2, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
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