Rep. Carney statement on President Obama’s Afghanistan speech

 WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative John Carney (D-DE) tonight released the following statement in response to President Obama’s Afghanistan speech: “I am encouraged to hear that President Obama will begin to bring our troops home from Afghanistan next month. It concerns me that the plan we heard tonight will leave more U.S. troops in Afghanistan at the end of 2012 than were there in early 2009. “In the last 18 months, we’ve made significant progress across Afghanistan, specifically in two former terrorist safe havens in the Helmand and Kandahar provinces in southern Afghanistan. We’ve trained an additional 100,000 Afghan security forces. We’ve seen a considerable number of Taliban members switch sides and join the Afghan people. It is estimated that only between 50 and 75 members of al-Qaeda remain in the country. “This progress is encouraging and it should enable us to implement a more accelerated withdrawal plan that brings home a significant number of troops by the end of 2012. The logistics of this withdrawal should be left to our commanders in the field. “I agree with President Obama that the U.S. must protect the gains we’ve made and ensure that the Afghan government is not retaken by the Taliban. I believe we can achieve that goal with a smaller force and continued emphasis on counterterrorism — not only in Afghanistan, but in Pakistan, Yemen, and around the world. Our military forces have proven that they can be successful in those efforts. “We didn’t send our troops to Afghanistan to build a nation — we sent our troops to Afghanistan to deny al-Qaeda a safe haven from which to plan and execute attacks on the United States. We’ve made significant gains toward achieving that goal. In response, it’s time to start bringing home a significant number of our troops.” ###

23 thoughts on “Rep. Carney statement on President Obama’s Afghanistan speech”

  1. It took me a long time to come to grips with the fact that we couldn’t “win” in Vietnam. I was expecting too much, our troops riding through Hanoi with the locals tossing roses at us. Vietnam could have gone on forever. We would still be there today fighting “insurgents”. Without an exit plan we could be in Afghanistan forever. Time to wrap it up say goodbye.

    We weren’t the masters of our fate in Vietnam. We persisted until events forced our hand. This time maybe we’ll be smart enough to get in, get out. We more than avenged 9/11.

    I think the unspoken Obama Doctrine will transition us from the role of World’s Policeman to being the World’s Exterminator. A swarm of drones more than eager to stamp out enemy threats one person at time seems a better way to do things than landing 200,000 troops in hopes of winning something.

  2. Maybe because the GOP is full of chicken hawks.
    Kinda like the GOP person who failed out of college, got drafted and to “outsmart” Uncle Sam joined the Navy for the Sub service. Yes, maybe that kind of attitude.

  3. It concerns me that the plan we heard tonight will leave more U.S. troops in Afghanistan at the end of 2012 than were there in early 2009.

    And it concerns the Joint Chiefs that the ‘secular’ leadership in an already Islamicized Pakistan is hanging-on by a thread; and they have nukes.

  4. Rick has a point. Question is do we have enough money and blood to field a permanent army everywhere we fear trouble. Costs a ton of taxpayer money to care for 500,000 amputees. I say say switch to the new way, use drones and technology to take out trouble.

  5. C’mon you guys. We all know that Obama is a populist rock star and there is the fact that “elections” are coming up. He can’t quite please the left by pulling all troops out. He can’t do much at this point to please the right. This guys in a serious pinch because he has basically alienated everyone. He is considered a laughingstock by most world leaders.
    What’s the poor guy to do. If he doesn’t get reelected, he can’t finish the job of destroying the republic.
    DON’T YOU JUST FEEL SORRY FOR HIM!!!

  6. There really is no reason to have troops in Afghanistan at all unless there is something we are not being told about. Weather the Taliban takes over again is tactically no concern to the US.
    Terrorist training camps are a myth. Swinging on monkey bars and climbing under barbed wire posses no threat to the US. Terrorist plots can be and are planned in any basement anywhere in the world.
    At this point we are just another failed attempt in a long history of failed attempts to subdue Afghanistan.

  7. While I appreciate the difficulties in Pakistan, our troops have been at it for a long time. Our military needs to recharge its batteries. While they are soldiers, they also are citizens and have families and lives.

    It is true we cannot be the world’s policeman and at the same time we cannot ignore the threats to ourselves and others in the world. America is not meant to be isolationist. As a nation of immigrants we have interests all around the world. Somehow we have to strike a balance. Certainly special ops and drones can and should play a larger role as they have recently. Still we ought not to be deluded into thinking that we cannot and should not employ our military capabilities when we have a need.

    It is accepted (including by the our military) that the military is an instrument of foreign policy. Not the only one of course.

    I am glad many of the troops will be coming home. I wish they all were, but that’s not the world we live in. But for those that are coming home, they deserve our appreciation and support, including “front of the line” privileges. I would like to remind folks about the Wounded Warrior Project and rather than describe it, just hit the following url: http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/

  8. Don A, if you are influential in conservative politics in Sussex, I gotta tell you, as a leader, you need to be more serious.

    Here we are talking about the fate of our brave fighting men and women and you, as a voice of Sussex conservatism, chime in with nothing but political insults about the President being a laughingstock who wants to destroy the Republic and the war our sons and daughters are mired in is just about cheesy politics.

    If you want to be Sussex court jester that’s one thing. If you want to be a voice of conservative thinking in Sussex, you need to up your game. Otherwise readers will think Sussex conservatives are simpleminded. If you have something to say about war and peace or the future for our troops what we should do in Afghanistan, say it. Say something smart, not dumb.

  9. “8 anon2
    Don A, if you are influential in conservative politics in Sussex…”

    Don’t worry, he isn’t.

  10. “As a nation of immigrants we have interests all around the world.”

    Both halves of this sentence are true, but they don’t have anything to do with each other. We aren’t in Germany because our German immigrants want us there, we’re not in South Korea because South Korean immigrants want us there…I could go on and on, but I think you get the point.

  11. anon2
    I agree that this is a serious issue but it is difficult to take Obama seriously, when this was obviously just a political move. He so desperately wants to gain momentum for the 2012 elections and he is out of his league as a community organizer.
    The fact is, he is an elitist that when it comes down to brass tacks, he cares nothing for our troops because he feels that our fighting men and women are far beneath him.
    The only comment that fits for Obama is a “tongue in cheek,” type of comment. The guy is out of his league and he knows it and is now just trying to survive to get reelected.
    Sorry if I have offended you. I did not attempt to belittle our troops’ effort and commitment. I do find it difficult to take Obama seriously as he continues to destroy our Republic.

  12. Geezer,

    I disagree. America has always been interested in other parts of the world because we came from there. Just one example, Ireland. What other country has a such a large population of Irish ancestry than America? Do you think it’s because we like St. Patricks Day parades that we all wear green St. P’s Day? Part of who we are is wrapped up in where we came from. Many of us have relatives in these other countries. Granted, we could care less about Nepal because few of us came from Nepal. So the degree to which we have concerns in other other countries is in part because we are from there. It is true that it is also driven by our national security interests (oil – Middle East), but I assert that we care about many of these countries, because we came from there (not literally of course, but our ancesters did).

    While I have not done any statistical correlation, I will point out Somalia, Darfur, Tibet, and oh so many countries (former countries) that we pretty much ignore either because we have no common interests or common ancestry. We may be the only nation where there is so much recognition of our roots that we have to hyphenate who we are just to make sure everyone knows it. How much does that drive our actions in the world? I don’t know, but it certainly influences it much more than does in other countries.

  13. Well DonA…I thought what you said about Obama, the very first time, was quite true. I also think your truth has squat to do with Sussex county politics.

    I know Anon 1 through 865 had to chastise you for, horrors, having an opinion….about OBAMA for God’s sakes, having nothing to do with our troops, God bless.

    If you gotta through life anonymously, way I figger, you really gotta be dumb.

  14. Thanks Pat

    Even though I agree with you. I do think that the troops defending our Republic are far more important than a community organizer living out the facade of being the American President. I’m just overjoyed that he didn’t take up acting, he would be in the poorhouse.

  15. I disagree. America has always been interested in other parts of the world because we came from there…

    Not really. In his sublime Farewell Address, Washington warned of the dangers of meddling in foreign disputes.

  16. “…Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be, that good policy does not equally enjoin it – It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and at no distant period, a great nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence. Who can doubt that, in the course of time and things, the fruits of such a plan would richly repay any temporary advantages which might be lost by a steady adherence to it ? Can it be that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a nation with its virtue ? The experiment, at least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human nature. Alas! is it rendered impossible by its vices?

    In the execution of such a plan, nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable, when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence, frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests. The nation, prompted by ill-will and resentment, sometimes impels to war the government, contrary to the best calculations of policy. The government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts through passion what reason would reject; at other times it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace often, sometimes perhaps the liberty, of nations, has been the victim.

    So likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.

    As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practice the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the public councils. Such an attachment of a small or weak towards a great and powerful nation dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter.

    Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy to be useful must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.

    The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop. Europe has a set of primary interests which to us have none; or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves by artificial ties in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.

    Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people under an efficient government. the period is not far off when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality we may at any time resolve upon to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.

    Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor or caprice?

    It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world; so far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it; for let me not be understood as capable of patronizing infidelity to existing engagements. I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy. I repeat it, therefore, let those engagements be observed in their genuine sense. But, in my opinion, it is unnecessary and would be unwise to extend them.

    Taking care always to keep ourselves by suitable establishments on a respectable defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies.

    Harmony, liberal intercourse with all nations, are recommended by policy, humanity, and interest. But even our commercial policy should hold an equal and impartial hand; neither seeking nor granting exclusive favors or preferences; consulting the natural course of things; diffusing and diversifying by gentle means the streams of commerce, but forcing nothing; establishing (with powers so disposed, in order to give trade a stable course, to define the rights of our merchants, and to enable the government to support them) conventional rules of intercourse, the best that present circumstances and mutual opinion will permit, but temporary, and liable to be from time to time abandoned or varied, as experience and circumstances shall dictate; constantly keeping in view that it is folly in one nation to look for disinterested favors from another; that it must pay with a portion of its independence for whatever it may accept under that character; that, by such acceptance, it may place itself in the condition of having given equivalents for nominal favors, and yet of being reproached with ingratitude for not giving more. There can be no greater error than to expect or calculate upon real favors from nation to nation. It is an illusion, which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard…”

    G. Washington, 1796

  17. While I appreciate the difficulties in Pakistan, our troops have been at it for a long time. Our military needs to recharge its batteries.

    No more wars without war taxes and a draft. That ought to cool down the chickenhawk problem.

  18. Rick,

    What Washington said is not to be taken likely, but it remains that our (individuals and groups) have an interest in other countries. Washington’s admonition is not the metric by which people decide what interests them.

    When a critical mass of people in this country have an interest it influences our actions. A prime example of this is oil. Every citizen in this country has an interest in oil, therefore we have an interest in oil producing nations and it influences our foreign policy.

  19. Rick, Washington’s admonitions come from an age when there were no nuclear weapons, no weapons of mass destruction, we had not yet encounter the Nazis or Communists or holocaust. The big lesson of the 20th century is we can’t turn a blind eye when crazy little dictators are vying to become crazy big powerful dictators. That’s why we mess with Iran and Iraq and Libya. Nor did Washington preside over a nation where the free market put our vital energy needs squarely in the hands of foreigners. In Washington’s time we were by and large not dependent on the outside world. Now we are.

    If Washington was alive today I think he would be inclined to side with modern Presidents from Reagan to Obama who find it necessary to deal with threats before they reach our shores.

  20. When a critical mass of people in this country have an interest it influences our actions. A prime example of this is oil. Every citizen in this country has an interest in oil, therefore we have an interest in oil producing nations and it influences our foreign policy.

    What does Afghanistan have to do with ‘oil?’ Nothing.
    We could buy all of the oil in the world for half what we’ve paid in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Rick, Washington’s admonitions come from an age when there were no nuclear weapons, no weapons of mass destruction, we had not yet encounter the Nazis or Communists or holocaust.

    Technology changes, man doesn’t. There’s no point in trying to debate someone who doesn’t grasp that fundamental tenet.

  21. I agree with both Rick and Think on their premises. I think on this one Think123 is correct. The reason technology matters is because it is easier for trouble to come find us. We have to be proactive. I am not saying preemptive, but proactive. We have to engage the world in a way that we did not 200 years ago. We did not tolerate the Barbary Pirates in Lybia even under Jefferson. We cannot allow these terrorists to undermine Pakistan and reestablish terrorist training camps in a safe haven in Afghanistan. That is contrary to our interests in a fundamental way.

  22. Rick, I grasp most fundamental tenets probably almost as good as you do. But I don’t agree that man doesn’t change. Man has changed a lot since the beginning. Not just physically, but the mind expands as well.

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