Statement On President Trump’s Address On Afghanistan And South Asia

Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.),
Vice Chairman, Appropriations Committee,
On President Trump’s Address On Afghanistan And South Asia

August 22, 2017

“After blaming his predecessors and calling for an immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan during the campaign, President Trump has swung 180 degrees.  His solution to a 16-year war involving hundreds of thousands of American troops, many of whom have served multiple tours, is to send more troops and abandon the Obama administration’s focus on developing a partner in the Afghan government capable of ensuring their own security.  This is not a strategy.  The President can call it a plan to defeat terrorism – which has been the goal since 9/11 – but the reality is that it is an open-ended ‘plan’ devoid of details, without a credible explanation of how he intends to do so, over what period of time, and at what cost, and what his plan is if Pakistan continues to play both sides.  It is unfair to our troops and their families, and it is an affront to the American people who foot the bill.

“As I have said many times, there is no solution in Afghanistan that America can impose.  The longest war in American history, costing thousands of American lives and nearly a trillion dollars, remains a stalemate.  President Trump guarantees more of the same.  We need a realistic definition of what the endgame looks like and how to get there – not feel-good slogans – before committing more troops, at a time when the President is also trying to ramp up military commitments in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, and Korea.”

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