A bipartisan group of 27 Senators have sent a letter to President Obama calling for a sizable and sustained” withdrawal from Afghanistan next month. The signers include nearly half of the Democratic caucus, including 10 committee chairs and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durban (D-IL).
In the letter, authored by Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Tom Udall (D-NM), the senators point out the U.S. has reached its original objectives in Afghanistan: Osama bin Laden is dead, and al Qaeda has largely been disrupted with at most 100 members remaining in Afghanistan. The senators continue:
We will never be able to secure and police every town and village in Afghanistan. Nor will we be able to build Afghanistan from the ground up into a Western-style democracy… While it is a laudable objective to attempt to build new civic institutions in Afghanistan, this goal does not justify the loss of American lives or the investment of hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars.
The Senate letter follows the recent strong vote in the House in which 204 Representatives voted for an “accelerated transition” out of Afghanistan and comes just days before the President is anticipated to announce the size of his planned July drawdown of forces from Afghanistan.
The full text of the letter including a list of the 27 signers is below.
For news coverage of the Senate letter, please visit:
Politico: Senators call for Afghanistan drawdown
The Seattle Times: Speedy Afghan exit draws more support
June 15, 2011