Congressional Record – June 21, 2011
Sen. Joe Manchin: 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, who made it clear in a letter they sent to the President last Thursday that:
….. we must accelerate the transfer responsibility for Afghanistan’s development to the Afghan people and their government. We should maintain our capacity to eliminate any new terrorist threats, continue to train the Afghan National Security Forces, and maintain our diplomatic and humanitarian efforts. However, these objectives do not require the presence of over 100,000 American troops engaged in intensive combat operations.
Sen. John McCain: I feel compelled to respond to the statements by the Senator from West Virginia which characterize the isolationist, withdrawal, lack of knowledge, of history attitude that seems to be on the rise in America.
In case the Senator from West Virginia forgot it or never knew it, we withdrew from Afghanistan one time. We withdrew from Afghanistan, and the Taliban came, eventually followed by al-Qaida, followed by attacks on the United States of America.
The Senator from West Virginia has expressed his admiration for the men and women who are serving. I hope he would pay attention to the finest military leader who will now be the head of the CIA, General Petraeus, whose knowledge and background may exceed that of the Senator from West Virginia.
If we leave Afghanistan in defeat, we will repeat the lessons of history. It is not our expenditures on Afghanistan that are the reasons we are now experiencing budget difficulties.