Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV): “I believe it is time for President Obama to begin a substantial and responsible reduction in our military presence in Afghanistan. I believe it is time for us to rebuild America, not Afghanistan. That is why I strongly agreed with Senators Merkley and Lee, and the words of 27 of my Republican and Democratic colleagues.”
Congressional Record, June 21, 2011
Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA): “It is time for the United States to lighten its footprint in the country. It is also a time to accelerate the shift in responsibility to Afghan forces and for a drawdown of a significant number of United States troops from Afghanistan.”
Congressional Record, June 21, 2011June 21, 2011 27 Senators sign a letter stating: “We urge you to follow through on the pledge you made to the American people to begin redeployment of U.S. forces from Afghanistan this summer, and to do so in a manner that is sizable and sustained, and includes combat troops as well as logistical and support forces.”
Letter circulated by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Mike Lee (R-UT) and Tom Udall (D-NM) and also signed by Senators Max Baucus (D-MT), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Kent Conrad (D-ND), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Al Franken (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Patty Murray (D-WA), Rand Paul (R-KY), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).
Merkley press release, June 15, 2011
204 House Members vote for a withdrawal timetable:
On May 26, the House voted 204-215 House vote against the amendment offered by Representatives Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Walter Jones (R-NC) requiring the President to establish a timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan. The amendment produced the most votes thus far in favor of ending the war in Afghanistan.
May 26, 2011
Majority Leader Harry Reid: “The American people have war fatigue. It’s been going on for a long, long time. I think the president was right when he said July 1 there’s going to be a drawdown. He said that a long time ago. And there’s going to be a drawdown. I am confident that it will be one that’s substantial. I certainly hope so . . . The president knows how I feel. I have told him that I hope that there’s a troop withdrawal, one of significance.”
Lehrer News Hour, June 17, 2011
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin: “I believe it will be a significant reduction of American troops, and it should include both combat and support troops,” Levin told reporters, adding that it should be “at least 15,000 by the end of this year. I think the public wants the president to make a significant reduction in troops in July as he said he would do,” Levin added “I think he should stick to the commitment he made that there would be a significant reduction of U.S. forces in July. I think that’s going to be the key issue.”
National Journal Daily AM, June 8, 2011
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry: “The president ought to take advantage of that success and push us in a direction that accelerates the ability of the Afghans” to take over operations, said Kerry (D-Mass.).
Washington Post, June 12, 2011
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Republican Richard Lugar: “It is exceedingly difficult to conclude that our vast expenditures in Afghanistan represent a rational allocation of our military and financial assets. Our geostrategic interests are threatened in numerous locations, not just by terrorism, but by debt, economic competition, energy and food prices, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and numerous other forces.”
Press release, May 3, 2011
Senator Jim Webb (D-VA): “It doesn’t make a lot of sense to occupy territory … and become defensive, static targets,” he said. “Instead of finding smart ways to fight international terrorism … we were going to be sort of ineluctably drawn into this short war and very long occupation of Iraq. And that model, in some form, also has been used in Afghanistan. It’s a model that probably heartens a lot of the people who wish us ill.”
Politico, May 24, 201
Senator Chris Coons (D-DE): “A substantial drawdown of forces — which I support — should not be the first step on a course of total disengagement from Afghanistan. Rather, it should mark the beginning of a new, more targeted counter-terrorism strategy that more wisely focuses our military and diplomatic resources on defending America’s security interests.”
Coons OpEd, Delaware New Journal, June 14, 2011
Senator Herbert Kohl (D-WI): “In light of this progress, many Americans are hoping that our forces can soon come home from Afghanistan after a decade of war. I share this desire to begin withdrawing our forces from Afghanistan, beginning with a sizable and sustained reduction in forces this summer.”
Senate Appropriations Committee hearing with Secretary of Defense Gates, June 15, 2011
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV): “We should get out of Afghanistan. We can’t win there. We can’t change the country….Do you want three failed wars in a row? I don’t want to be in those places. And it has a great deal to do with the [federal] budget.”
Charleston Gazette, April 19, 2011
Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN): “We are expecting pretty dramatic changes at the end of this fighting season… All of us know that the model we have in Afghanistan is not sustainable for multiple reasons.”
C-SPAN, June 8, 2011
Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT): “I cannot emphasize enough the power the president had when he said we’re going to start removing troops in July,” Tester said. “It really put pressure on the Afghans to say, ‘All right, these guys aren’t going to be here forever, we need to step up and take control of our future.’ And I think we need to continue that pressure, and when we have the possibility of removing troops, we ought to be doing it.”
Helena Independent Record, February 6, 2011
Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney: “It’s time for us to bring our troops home as soon as we possibly can,” Mitt Romney said during Monday’s presidential debate. “Only the Afghanis can win Afghanistan’s independence from the Taliban,” he said.
Republican presidential debate, June 13, 2011
Republican Presidential candidate John Huntsman: “If you can’t define a winning exit strategy for the American people, where we somehow come out ahead, then we’re wasting our money, and we’re wasting our strategic resources,” Huntsman told Esquire as part of a long profile in its August issue. “It’s a tribal state, and it always will be. Whether we like it or not, whenever we withdraw from Afghanistan, whether it’s now or years from now, we’ll have an incendiary situation . . . Should we stay and play traffic cop? I don’t think that serves our strategic interests.”
Esquire Magazine, June 15, 2011
73% of American public want a significant troop withdrawal:
Do you think the United States should or should not withdraw a substantial number of U.S. combat forces from Afghanistan this summer?
Should Should not No opinion
6/5/11 73 23 4
3/13/11 73 21 5
Washington Post poll, June 2-5, 2011