Washington, D.C. (Permalink)—America’s senior military officer in Afghanistan yesterday told the House Armed Services Committee that the passage of a resolution mandating the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan would be viewed as a “victory” by al-Qaeda and the terrorist organization’s patron, the Taliban. General Petraeus, the commander of U.S. Forces—Afghanistan and NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), also said passage of any such resolution would also “undermine” the efforts of our troops serving in Afghanistan.
In a video statement following the Armed Services Committee hearing yesterday, Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.)—a retired Marine whose son has served in both Afghanistan and Iraq—drew attention to General Petraeus’ testimony.
In the video statement, Rep. Kline called upon a story that General Petraeus told Members of the Committee: “I thought that [General Petraeus] gave a very poignant answer. He used an anecdote—a very touching anecdote—about a terrible tragedy that occurred when he was commanding the 101st in Mosul in Iraq. There was a heavy loss of life and a young soldier came up to him and said, ‘General, this is just seventeen more reasons why we’ve got to get this right.’ And that was the loss of life from that incident in Iraq.
Kline continued, “General Petraeus carried that forward to say that the loss of loss of life, the bloodshed in Afghanistan, is [one] of the underlying reasons that we have got to get this right. The action today will be perceived to our loss, to our detriment, by our enemies, by our allies, and by our soldiers.”
As reported by the Associated Press, General Petraeus warned “that passage of a House resolution calling for withdrawal of American forces by year's end would undermine the coalition effort and be hailed by the Taliban and al-Qaida as a victory.”
General Petraeus’ comments were in response to a question posed by Rep. Martha Roby (R-Ala.) in which she asked: “What is your view on the advisability of the House of Representatives passing a resolution offered by Representative Kucinich that would call for the removal of all U.S. forces from Afghanistan no later than December 31, 2011? Specifically, how do you believe our troops would view such a measure and how do you believe the Taliban and al Qaeda would view such a measure?”
The NATO-ISAF commander further stated: “The Taliban and al Qaeda, obviously would trumpet this as a victory, as a success. Needless to say it would completely undermine everything our troopers have fought so much for and sacrificed so much for.”
General Petraeus continued, “So needless to say this would close the door on the very, very hard-fought effort and end a mission that I think is seeking to achieve a very, very important security objective of our country as well as of our allies…And what it would do in the region, of course, would be of really incalculable consequence as well.”