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Dems disagree on Obama’s Afghanistan pact

The U.S-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Agreement that President Barack Obama signed yesterday with Afghan President Hamid Karzai is drawing plaudits from congressional Democratic leaders, but not from some of the caucus’ more liberal members.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, issued this statement yesterday:

“The signing of the U.S.-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Agreement advances President Obama’s efforts to return the responsibility for Afghan security to the Afghan people. Many of us in Congress have been steadfast in expressing our opposition to an extended military presence in Afghanistan; this agreement moves us toward the day when all U.S. troops have been brought safely home.

“We have come to this moment because of the bravery of our troops and the sacrifices they and their families have been willing to make. In Afghanistan, and around the world, they have performed excellently.

“One year ago, with the death of Osama bin Laden, President Obama sent a clear message that we will pursue those who intend to do our nation harm and will never lose focus on our responsibility to keep our nation safe.

“President Obama has reiterated his commitment to the security of the American people and to end the war in Afghanistan responsibly.”

But Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland – who was the lone vote against authorizing the Bush Administration’s use of force after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and who is a member of the Out of Afghanistan Caucus – issued this statement today:

“I had hoped that President Obama would have seized this opportunity to announce an expedited end to the war in Afghanistan. Instead of speeding the transition to a fully independent Afghanistan, the newly signed U.S.-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership agreement is an open-ended commitment that could extend our presence at least another ten years. After ten long years of war, nearly two-thirds of Americans say the war is not worth fighting. It is past time for our policy to catch up with the American people. As it is widely acknowledged, there is no military solution in Afghanistan. We need to end the war now.”

From the other side of the aisle, here’s what Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney had to say yesterday:

“I am pleased that President Obama has returned to Afghanistan. Our troops and the American people deserve to hear from our President about what is at stake in this war. Success in Afghanistan is vital to our nation’s security. It would be a tragedy for Afghanistan and a strategic setback for America if the Taliban returned to power and once again created a sanctuary for terrorists. We tolerated such a sanctuary until we lost thousands on September 11, 2001. Many brave Americans have sacrificed everything so that we could win this fight for a more secure future. Let us honor the memory of the fallen, not only by keeping them in our daily thoughts but also by staying true to their commitment. We are united as one nation in our gratitude to our country’s heroes.”

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.

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    Barbara Lee (Drools4Me) quotes polls as it suits her purpose. Her statement is another example of the Ron Dellums school of wishful thinking: If we only stopped pestering the Taleban, they would be transformed into peace- loving, freedom-loving farmers who wish nothing more than to cultivate their poppy fields undisturbed.