No love for Obama troop plan in Bay Area

The Democratic congressional delegation loves President Barack Obama but they don’t love his proposal to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan.

Congress controls the purse strings and Obama he needed to win votes, not friends, with his speech tonight.

None of the Bay Area Democrats in Congress I have heard from since the speech support a troop surge.  (Only Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, had no opinion; said he was still studying it.)

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein favors it, however.

“I support the President’s plan,” she said in a press release. “It has been carefully deliberated and debated by the senior officials in the Administration [and] recommended by one of America’s finest generals. I believe that both Republicans and Democrats should support this decision, which will allow us to reverse the Taliban’s gains and deny terrorists a safe haven while limiting the duration of our commitment.”

Here’s what some of the Bay Area members of Congress had to say:

Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove: “I thank President Obama for his careful and thoughtful deliberation on this matter. He faces a difficult decision on a war he inherited, and I know his heart is in the right place. However, I remain convinced that increased diplomatic, economic, social, and educational assistance in the region will result in a lasting solution in Afghanistan. American national security, our dedicated soldiers already serving, and the people of Afghanistan will be better served if we focus our efforts on improving the socioeconomic conditions of the region instead of sending more of our brave soldiers to fight in this war.”

Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez: “I have traveled to this region of the world three times this year and based on what I have learned, I am not sure that the ingredients necessary for success in Afghanistan are present.”

Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton: “Since September 11, 2001, America has faced the serious threat of terrorism at home and abroad.  It is clear that the stability of countries around the world, including Afghanistan, affects our safety and security and it is imperative that we effectively protect and defend our nation.  As we decide on our involvement in Afghanistan, first and foremost I will consider the safety of our brave men and women in uniform who are risking their lives.  In order to ensure the safety of our troops and all Americans, we need to establish clear and realistic goals for our involvement in Afghanistan.  This should include addressing Afghanistan’s political and military stability, dealing with corruption, and planning for the safe return of our troops.  In the coming days, I’ll be reviewing the president’s strategy and look forward to hearing more specifics about the proposal.”

Rep. Mike Honda, D-Campbell: “What is needed now is not about ‘more troops’ but ‘better strategies’ to build the country’s capacity. All three frontiers – military, economic and political – must be Afghan-focused. It is time for their surge, not ours.”

Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont:  “Tonight’s announcement is a great disappointment. Civilian and military casualties are at an all-time high. We should not be increasing our military presence. Lasting peace can only come through a diplomatic solution. I oppose any funding for military escalation in Afghanistan.”

Lisa Vorderbrueggen