Moral Outrage
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Fresh debate over US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan post-bin Laden

The death of Osama bin Laden has triggered fresh debate over whether the U.S. should accelerate its planned troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. In Washington, there is strong disagreement on the issue.

President Obama has said that U.S. forces will begin withdrawing from Afghanistan in July 2011 in a gradual process that will last through the end of 2014, a timeline that is not nearly short enough for some critics. According to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Obama has no plan to change the withdrawal schedule following the death of bin Laden. “The president has a timetable to begin withdrawal out of … Afghanistan. He has indicated that he is going to stick with that. I think that’s appropriate.”

While many lawmakers in their reactions recognized the ongoing terror threat and stressed the importance of vigilance, some also used the opportunity to call for a speedy end to the Afghanistan mission.

“With bin Laden dead and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan largely extinguished, it’s time we revisited the wisdom of continuing the war in Afghanistan,” said Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.), a member of the House Armed Services Committee.

Fellow California Democrat Rep. Mike Honda said in a statement the U.S. “must seize this moment to heal from the past harm done to our homeland and ensure that no further harm is done to our troops by bringing them home.”


One Response to “Fresh debate over US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan post-bin Laden”

  1. Somewhat related, both Democratic and Republican lawmakers are calling for a review of billions in aid to Pakistan in light of the revelation that bin Laden was living inside a heavily fortified compound in a wealthy Pakistani suburb.

    Meanwhile, former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf criticized the U.S. for attacking the compound without Pakistan’s knowledge, calling it a violation of Pakistani sovereignty.

    More to the subject, U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee said: “It’s very important to use this defining moment, I think, to rally the American people and to remind the American people that we are spending trillions of dollars, billions every week, on this open-ended longest war in American history and that we have economic priorities, economic recovery, job creation priorities here in our own country that this money can be used for.”

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