Kyl wants no exit strategy as Obama expected to announce 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan
“Talk of an exit strategy is exactly the wrong way to go,” Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) told Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday. The Senate’s second-most powerful Republican wants President Barack Obama to defer to the generals’ wishes in Afghanistan without announcing a strategy to end the war.
On Tuesday December 1, Obama will deliver a major Afghanistan speech at West Point, nine days before picking up his Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway.
“As I understand it we’re going to go with 30 to 35 thousand American troops,” Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN) said on the program. “We’re going to try and make up the difference with NATO. They’re probably not as good and effective as American troops but I think its good that we have some burden-sharing. After all, the American taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for this whole thing if our allies are wiling to step up and do their part.”
British PM Gordon Brown said Saturday that countries backing Afghanistan’s government are going to demand that it meet specific security benchmarks, outlining a plan to let foreign troops gradually hand control to local forces. Brown is expected to announce plans to send 500 more British troops next week.
The U.S. has approximately 68,000 troops in Afghanistan. NATO members have approximately 55,000 troops there. According to reporter Jeremy Scahill there are even more U.S. contractors (armed and unarmed combined) in Afghanistan than U.S. troops.
According to the Washington Post, as many as 9,000 U.S. Marines will move into the country next as part of Obama’s escalation of the eight-year-old war. They will double the size of the U.S. force in the southern province of Helmand and will provide a critical test for disputed Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s struggling government and fraying Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal’s counterinsurgency strategy.
Bayh and Kyl stuck to the talking points for the most part on Sunday morning, but Kyl brought up Vietnam and Bayh mentioned the cost of the war, suggesting there will be criticism from all sides immediately following Obama’s speech. Just one day earlier, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) told Fox News, “This war is undermining our nation.”
“35,000 new troops? That’s going to cost $35 billion more a year,” he said. “Where are we going to find that money? Who’s going to finance this? You’re going to tell the taxpayers we’re going to borrow more money from China so we can fight a war in Afghanistan? Come on!”
Obama’s speech is expected to put his alliance with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to the test as well. House members may introduce a Resolution of Disapproval to counter Obama’s plan. Pelosi and the President met privately last week as Obama concluded his deliberations on Afghanistan, according to The Hill.
This video is from Fox’s Fox News Sunday, broadcast Nov. 29, 2009.