President Obama laid out his plans last night for the nation on how he will add 30,000 U.S. troops to the war effort in Afghanistan by the middle of next year, but that he also wants to start bringing American forces home starting as early as July of 2011.
That type of end date - "The Eighteen Month War" as one of my listeners dubbed it right after the speech - is sure to draw criticism from both parties as not being achievable.
"Setting a timeline of July 2011 to begin a withdrawal troops from Afghanistan when the entire 30,000 troops will not arrive in theater until this coming summer makes little sense," said Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK).
"It is unrealistic to expect the United States to be out in 18 months so there is really no exit strategy," said Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA).
"This venture is not worth so many American lives or the billions it will add to our deficit," Specter said after the speech.
Other Democrats though were on board, like Rep. Ike Skelton (D-MO), who chairs the House Armed Services Committee, which will hold hearings this week on the Afghanistan plans.
"I have urged the President to give General McChrystal the resources and time to do the job, so I am pleased President Obama agreed to provide the resources to get Afghanistan right," Skelton said.
One item that barely got a mention was how these plans would be paid for. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs had seemingly promised some attention to that issue, but there were no proposals offered, other than a quick mention.
"Our new approach in Afghanistan is likely to cost us roughly 30 billion dollars for the military this year, and I will work closely with Congress to address these costs as we work to bring down our deficit," said the President.
On that issue of paying for the war, Republicans in the Congress were almost drooling yesterday at the thought of having a chance to debate that matter in the House and Senate.
"I would look forward eagerly to going through the appropriations and finding those items that are far less important," than the Afghan war said Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).
McCain and others will get their chance to sound off on the plans today, as Congress kicks off two days of hearings on the Afghanistan surge plans.
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