Trump’s Afghanistan Plans: Democrats Speak Up and Hammer Down

Iraq War Veterans

Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the House Minority Leader, had some lovely words for Trump after his much-anticipated address to the nation. Pelosi, along with other top Democrats, challenged the president regarding the details that he gave for the future of the 16-year-old war in Afghanistan.

Pelosi Rips Trump

“Tonight, the President said he knew what he was getting into and had a plan to go forward,” Pelosi said in a statement on Monday. “Clearly, he did not. The President’s announcement is low on details but raises serious questions.”

Trump’s speech Monday evening came after months of deliberation on America’s longest war. The president initially wanted to withdraw from Afghanistan, but he now believes that would create a “predictable and unacceptable” power vacuum. Although there were few specific details, President Trump said that the U.S. presence in Afghanistan would depend on the conditions on the ground rather than a specific timeline. What Trump doesn’t realize is ground conditions changes each day. He said the U.S. would take a regional approach that may put more pressure on Pakistan to fight terrorist safe havens around its borders. Yeah, Pakistan hid Osama Bin Laden for years like they’re going to fight terrorists. The President did not discuss any specifics such as how many more U.S. troops would be sent to the war-torn country since he doesn’t want anyone to know of his plans.

“We will not talk about numbers of troops or our plan for further military activities,” he said. “I will not say when we are going to attack, but attack we will.”

Pelosi challenged the inconsistency of Trump’s speech with statements he had made in the past. Previously in a 2013 tweet, he said, “we have wasted an enormous amount of blood and treasure in Afghanistan” and “let’s get out!” Pelosi said that his open-ended commitment leaves “no accountability to the American people.”

“The American people need to know more about the President’s plans and conditions,” she said. “To what extent is there a comprehensive strategy, including an exit strategy for finally bringing America’s heroes home? Congress looks forward to a comprehensive briefing on the troop increase and overall strategy as soon as possible.”

Other Democrats Speak Up

The House Minority Leader was not alone in criticizing Trump. Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Trump’s words were “short on the details our troops and the American people deserve.” Reed also criticized the president for wanting to cut State Department funding. He said the money would be needed to stabilize Afghanistan. Reed believes that Trump’s waffling on strategy had damaged U.S. credibility.

“I know Americans are weary of the war in Afghanistan,” Reed said. “President Trump has a duty to set a clear strategy for Afghanistan. Tonight’s speech is a long overdue step, but more important will be the details and an accompanying commitment by this President going forward.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), a Senate Armed Services Committee member, said that she will call for “extensive” hearings on the president’s strategy and that his speech was “terribly lacking.”

“Lacking in details, lacking in substance and lacking in a vision of what success in Afghanistan looks like. When committing American service members overseas, the Commander in Chief needs to define the mission and a strategy to achieve success. Until he can do that, expecting service members to fight and possibly die in Afghanistan is a disservice to their sacrifice,” Gillibrand said.

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), a House Armed Services Committee member said Trump’s words were full of “vague promises and wishful thinking.”

“Tonight, the American people should have heard a detailed, realistic strategy with achievable objectives and measurable benchmarks,” he said. “A plan that took this dysfunctional administration seven months to finalize is surprisingly short on new thinking and new ideas and will serve only to perpetuate a dangerous status quo.”

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) said the speech revealed that Trump “has no strategy” for ending the war, despite previously wanting to do so.

“Tonight, I had hoped for firm details on how the White House plans to extract the U.S. from this volatile region, while still protecting American interests,” he said. “Instead, we were presented with a vague plan that will likely leave American troops in combat for years to come.”

Credit: The Hill



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