Blitzer’s blog: Odd alliance on Afghanistan withdrawal
U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates meets with troops on June 6, 2011 at Combat Outpost Andar in Ghazni Province, Afghanistan.
June 6th, 2011
03:58 PM ET
10 years ago

Blitzer’s blog: Odd alliance on Afghanistan withdrawal

(CNN)- There’s an increasingly vocal group of liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans calling for a much more speedy withdrawal from Afghanistan. They are also getting frustrated with the stalemate in Libya. This odd alliance includes folks like Representatives Ron Paul and Jason Chaffetz on the right and Dennis Kucinich and Barney Frank on the left.

Pressure is mounting on President Obama and his team to get out of Afghanistan especially now that Osama bin Laden is dead. The U.S. now has 100,000 troops in Afghanistan; NATO allies have another 40,000. U.S. Taxpayers spend more than $100 billion a year maintaining that troop presence in a country where the seemingly ungrateful Afghan leader, Hamid Karzai, is threatening to declare the U.S./NATO forces as “occupiers.” If that’s how he and his supporters feel, there are certainly other ways for the U.S. to spend $2 billion a week.

President Obama has said that the U.S. will maintain forces in Afghanistan at least through the end of 2014 – another three and a half years. But he at least wants to start a withdrawal by the end of this July. Some want that withdrawal to be very modest – perhaps 5,000 troops. Others say the withdrawal could be 10,000 – which would bring down the U.S. troop level to 90,000. My own suspicion is that President Obama, like Vice President Joe Biden, wants to get out of there as quickly as possible. But his fear is a resurgent al Qaeda/Taliban presence in Afghanistan and the impact that would have on stability in the country, the potential spread of international terror, the rights of Afghan women, and the increasing tensions with a nuclear-armed Pakistan.


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soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. gt

    5 more died yesterday in iraq.... why are we still there.... help dennis ,, no more deaths ,,, get our troops home...from iraq and afganistan,,,

    June 6, 2011 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    They way to fight flies is wait for them to land and kill them using a fly swatter with a slap here and a slap there, not swinging madly at them in the air while they are still in flight. So pull back, let them land somewhere out in the open, then swat them.

    June 6, 2011 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  3. Steve, New York City

    This bi-partisan alliance is correct. We desperately need to cut spending (and as I was just 5 blocks away when the first plane hit the north tower on 9/11, I'm smiling, as I know there's a "deep place in hell" for that loser Bin Laden).

    Karzai knows that we've helped, but would be in an untenable political situation, were he to sit quietly while Afghan civilians (tragically) get killed by NATO military activity.

    We should cut the daylights out of military spending, while funneling some of that money towards job re-training TRUE HEROES – our military men and women, who have fought and died bravely, and suffered multiple re-depolyments over the years thanks to "Dick" Cheney has his stupid, mongrel neo-con buddies. PLEASE, let us not turn our backs on our incredibly brave men & women, coming home from combat.

    June 6, 2011 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  4. The Day of Financial Reckoning is HERE - The Great Democrat Welfare Society Ends

    What kind of buffoon announces a withdrawal date for troops engaged in combat before they are even deployed and an evaluation performed??? Oh yeah... our Buffoon-in-Chief. This liar knew he was lying when he stated the withdrawal dates. Why are the stupid libtards still believing everything that he says? The rest of America sur eisn't buying it anymore.

    June 6, 2011 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "Rudy NYC and Sniffit....can Obambi do any wrong?"

    Don't even get me started.

    The treatment of Bradley Manning. Extension of the Patriot Act. Gitmo isn't closed (altho I recognize Congress prevented it by refusing to fund it). Extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% (maybe a fair trade for what we got in the lame duck, but still irritating as all get out). Ordering extra-judicial killing of alleged terrorists like Al-Awlaki WHO ARE AMERICAN BORN CITIZENS instead of relying on our system of laws/courts and proving we have faith in our justice system and beliefs. There is a fairly reasonable list of disagreements I have with him on a variety of issues. However, that doesn't change a couple of things:

    1. He and the Dems and their policies are a world and a half better than the idiocy the GOP is pushing, particularly in light of the historical record proving the complete and utter failuyre of their randian reaganomic plutocratic ideology; and

    2. I have NEVER posted comlpete and utter "kool-aid" agreement with Obama. That I spend my time here enjoying myself driving conservatives nuts, debunking your garbage talking points and fighting your misinformation campaign tactics does NOT mean I agree 100% with Obama.

    June 6, 2011 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  6. John

    I agree we should get out of Afghanistan and Iraq , They don't want us there any way. We should take care of are own Country be for we worry about other Country. And It wouldn't hurt to be Saving Billions of dollar and American life.

    June 6, 2011 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    "What kind of buffoon announces a withdrawal date for troops engaged in combat before they are even deployed and an evaluation performed???"

    Make up your mind. Boehner and his gang of GOP miscreants just passed legislation rebuking Obama for getting involved in Libya without consulting them more thoroughly, without giving them a specific plan and goals, etc. You can't have it both ways. He either states goals and defines what accomlishing the mission/victory means and you try to make it sound liek he gave away the farm or he doesn't and you try to make him sound like an irresponsible loose cannon. Here's a hint: when you've gone so far as to show everyone that, no matter what he does, you will criticize it bitterly...AND EVERYONE KNOWS;ve lost all credibility.

    June 6, 2011 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  8. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    "Odd alliances" my you know what, it's all politics people, politics and it's a dirty shame.

    June 6, 2011 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |