McKeon: Members of Congress Should Listen to General Petraeus

Mar 15, 2011
Defense Drumbeat
Congress Must Help Our Troops Solidify Hard-Fought Progress in Afghanistan over the Last Eight Months

Washington, D.C. (March 15, 2011)—In an op-ed published Tuesday in The Hill newspaper, Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.) drew on his experiences from a recent fact-finding trip to Afghanistan and urged Members of Congress to support General Petraeus and our troops in their efforts to consolidate significant progress into a lasting strategic victory for the United States and its Afghan allies.

In the op-ed, Chairman McKeon recalled the poignant opening of a primary school in Marjah. As he described it:

“When we arrived at the new schoolhouse, we were greeted by hundreds of children, including dozens of young girls, gathered within the walls of the school compound. They happily endured a cold rain for the ribbon-cutting ceremony that would open ‘their’ new school. The children sported grins that stretched from ear to ear, and expressed their excitement at being given the opportunity to learn how to read.

“Although it would be a mistake to simply extrapolate the experience of our walk through Koru and apply it to the whole country, it was clear to our delegation that our forces have made significant gains in the past year and have reversed the Taliban’s tactical momentum. Our forces — working alongside their Afghan partners — have regained the initiative against the Taliban.”

Indeed, the United States and its allies have made significant progress in Afghanistan. Yet despite this, public support for the effort in Afghanistan is waning. That is why General Petraeus’ testimony on Wednesday, March 16, before the House Armed Services Committee is so important.

Representative McKeon said of that hearing:

“The House Armed Services Committee will seek to understand what conditions in Afghanistan would be sufficient to permit the redeployment of some U.S. forces beginning in July 2011. We will ask tough questions regarding the capabilities — and too often, shortcomings — of our Afghan partners. And, we will seek to determine what resources are required to reinforce the positive trends of 2010 so that we can allow the Afghan government to assume the lead in governance and security.”

112th Congress