Doves say ditch the war, not just the general

The Bay Area Congressional delegation’s two biggest doves said today that President Barack Obama’s dismissal of Gen. Stanley McChrystal as the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan (following the general’s and his aides’ critical remarks about the Administration in Rolling Stone) should be only the start.

“What is needed in Afghanistan is a change of policy not just a change of commanders,” Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-chair Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, said in a news release. “The real message of the Rolling Stone article is that the Afghan war is an unwinnable mess. It is time to start withdrawing from Afghanistan not surging deeper into a futile conflict that is already the longest war in U.S. history.”‬‪

Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, said she agreed with the President’s decision to relieve McChrystal of his command.

“The President is correct – this war is bigger than any one person. Our focus should be on our strategy to bring an end to this war,” said Lee, who you’ll recall was the lone vote in Congress against the 2001 resolution authorizing the Bush Administration’s use of force against al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

“Open-ended war in Afghanistan is not in our national security interest and continues to create enemies. We must fundamentally rethink our policy on Afghanistan and reorient our efforts to combat terrorism around the globe in a more effective and sustainable manner,” she said in a news release today. “We need to stop digging the hole and risking the lives of our brave young men and women. We need a clear exit strategy and a timeline to safely redeploy our troops from Afghanistan.”

UPDATE @ 10:50 A.M. MONDAY 6/28: A clarification – Lee issued her statement speaking for herself, not on behalf of the Congressional Black Caucus she chairs.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Elwood

    Lynn Woolsey and Barbara Lee.

    Now THERE’S a pair to draw to.

  • John W

    Yes, our foremost experts on foreign policy and military affairs!

  • Ralph Hoffmann

    The Honorable Congressman Ron Paul(R-TX), and I agree with these two ladies as well. Thank you Elwood and John W for complimenting them.

  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    Brilliant analysis from Mmes. Woolsey and Lee. I’m sure the Taleban find much comfort in their statements. I am particularly impressed by Ms Lee’s logic that the longer the war continues, the greater the number of our enemies. Does this mean the Taleban gains in strength after each casualty we inflict? (No, we only kill innocent bystanders. Any schoolgirl knows that!) These brilliant strategic thinkers do not agree with the esteemed Dr Ron on some important points. Dr Ron has little use for foreign aid. These ladies would like the USAF to drop bundles of cash on the Third World. The cash would be available for many worthy causes if we dropped the silly habit of fighting wars.

  • John W

    Re #4 RR,

    “Does this mean the Taleban (sic) gains in strength after each casualty we inflict?”

    In fact, some, including Gen. McChrystal, have that very fear. This ain’t army-on-army. It’s Army against shadows. Still, with the Pakistan military (you know, the ones with nukes) now maneuvering to “share power” in Afghanistan after we leave, and to do so with elements of Al Qaeda, the thought of giving up is scary. That’s why I think we need to give this thing a chance to work. After all, the surge is not even at full strength yet. So, it’s a bit premature to call it a day. As a Vietnam-era guy, I see the similarities to that mess; but there are differences too. The VC and North Vietnamese never posed an existential threat to the US. Also, the VC had more popular support than does the Taliban.