Tonight, President Obama called for the deployment of 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, then a “transfer of our forces out” to begin in July 2011. It’s what David Ignatius of the Washington Post calls a “surge, then leave” policy.
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R., Tex.) tells NRO that “a hard deadline of any date is the wrong message to send,” and potentially cause for unrest in the region.
“If you look back to history, when the Russians signaled that they were leaving Afghanistan, it ended in disaster. It’s very important not to give any signal about time. We have to be determined to achieve success in our mission. Failure is not an option. Al Qaeda is still a security threat to the United States. We have to continue to be very firm with our allies and maintain this as a NATO mission, too.”
“I’m not sure why President Obama is not giving General McChrystal the 40,000 troops he asked for,” says Hutchison. “Hopefully he will ask NATO for the other 10,000 — a move I would support. They need to step up to the plate and the president now needs to apply some pressure.”
Hutchison wouldn’t grade the speech for us, but she did say that it is “unfortunate that the president took so long to make this decision.”
“General McChrystal asked for more troops months ago,” says Hutchison. “The president should have quickly responded. Now the McChrystal request is somewhat fulfilled, but we still need to ensure that he gets all of the help that he needs.”
“This speech is just the beginning of what President Obama is going to do,” says Hutchison. “Now it is time for him to follow up.”