Washington, D.C.—In response to a question from Alabama Congresswoman Martha Roby during an Armed Services Committee today, the top military commander in Afghanistan warned that passage of a troop withdrawal resolution would be viewed as a “victory” by the Taliban and “undermine” the efforts of our troops serving in Afghanistan.
The question posed by Rep. Roby to General David Petraeus was: “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?”
In response, General Petraeus 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.”
When Rep. Roby pressed General Petraeus on how passage of the “out-of-Afghanistan” resolution would be received by U.S. troops in Afghanistan, NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) commander told the story of how a young private first class in Iraq told him that the loss of seventeen troopers was “seventeen reasons to get this thing right.”
General Petraeus related this story to the current debate by stating that “we’ve had well over a thousand reasons to get this thing right, and many thousands more live whose lives been changed forever because of grievous wounds.
In conclusion, he stated that the Kucinich resolution would “obviously…not allow us to get this right.”
Following the hearing, House Armed Services Committee Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif) drew attention to the exchange between Rep. Roby and General Petraeus by underscoring the concerns about how passage of the Kucinich resolution would be a “victory” for al-Qaeda and the Taliban while serving to “undermine” America’s brave war fighters.