Dana Rohrabacher and Loretta Sanchez Joined at the Hip on Afghanistan
There was a time during the unresolved county redistricting process when it appeared the congressional districts of Reps. Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) might melt into one.
Maybe that explains why these Members of Congress are starting to sound like one another.
In the wake of President Barack Obama's announcement of a measured drawdown of U.S. troops in the mucked-up country beginning this summer, Sanchez and Rohrabacher have reiterated their call for a complete pullout now.
As we've come to love, Rohrabacher is saying so much more colorfully. For words less measured than those aired and published in the mainstream media from the Mouth That Rohrabachered, one need only go to his website, where the House Committee on Foreign Affairs senior member and self-proclaimed expert on Afghanistan uses phrases like "pull the plug" and "get the hell out now.:
If we're going to leave, we should leave. It's a disservice to those many American families who will continue to suffer the loss of a family member who is maimed or killed during the wind down of this war.
President Obama is trying to have it both ways. If you're going to get out...get out.
The centralized system of government foisted upon the Afghan people is not going to hold after we leave. So let's quit prolonging the agony and inevitable.
Karzai's regime is corrupt and non representative of Afghanistan's tribal culture. This failed strategy is not worth one more drop of American blood. Under the current strategy, our military presence alienates more Afghans that it pacifies. So if you're going to pull the plug, then we need to get the hell out now.
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Before Obama's televised address Thursday night, Sanchez's office issued a statement from the congresswoman saying that while she was pleased the president would be announcing troop withdrawals, she supports a full pullout.
Instead of engaging in a nation-building campaign in Afghanistan," she said, "we should focus our resources on rebuilding our own nation, whose economy has been ravaged by the worst recession since the Great Depression."
Immediately after Obama revealed his plan to recall 10,000 American troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year and an additional 20,000-plus by the end of next summer, Sanchez issued this statement:
I believe it is imperative that the President quicken the pace of America's withdrawal from Afghanistan and get our troops out even faster than he has proposed. At the cost of more than 1,500 American lives, this war is incredibly costly. At the cost of $113 billion a year, it's expensive, dangerous, and unproductive. It is time to refocus America's intelligence and defense resources on more imminent threats from terrorists not just in Afghanistan but in other regions of the world such as Yemen or Pakistan. I urge the President to move immediately to end this unnecessary war.
While Dana may win the war of sharp words, give Sanchez credit for having the eggs to direct barbs at the same military brass advising Obama. At a House Armed Services Committee hearing after the president's speech, Sanchez told the gathered military medal pincushions that our troops must get out of Afghanistan even faster than Obama proposed. while again questioning the billions the U.S. continues to pour into training Afghan National Security Forces.
"Last year, the Department of Defense spent more than $26 billion training and equipping the Afghan National Army, while our workers faced layoffs and reduced health care benefits and our children faced lower-quality education," said Sanchez, ranking member of the House Armed Service Subcommittee on Strategic Forces. "This disparity is unacceptable."
She also took a shot at her party's leader:
"I question what the president hopes to accomplish with the nearly 90,000 American troops he has directed to remain in Afghanistan beyond this year. According to our witnesses today, the Department of Defense has trained, equipped and retained about 305,000 Afghan soldiers, at enormous cost to our nation--and this number does not include those soldiers who we were unable to retain. We need to responsibly transition Afghanistan's security to these trained Afghan forces. This is a transition I believe will actually increase the chances for long-term success of the mission and will allow the United States to bring our troops out of harm's way and end this costly and unproductive war."
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