Speaking from Afghanistan, Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) says she remains skeptical about President Barack Obama's decision to increase troop numbers there. Perhaps the bombs falling all around the House Armed Services Committee's senior female had something to do with that.
Speaking by phone from Kuwait City with Dena Bunis, the Orange County Register's Washington, D.C., bureau chief, Sanchez described how bombs greeted her arrival to and departure from Kabul. She and four other members of Congress had to wear body armor and be accompanied by heavy security their entire time in Afghanistan.
At a meeting with Gen. Stanley McChrystal, Sanchez says she questioned whether the 30,000 additional troops Obama ordered into Afghanistan will get there within his six months timetable and whether the pull-out will really begin in 18 months.
"Everyone in this room knows that isn't going to happen,'' Sanchez reportedly told the general. "He just looked at me and didn't answer back.''
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"I still am pretty skeptical. We are going to have to sustain this much longer than 18 months. . . . We'll be there forever.''
Sanchez advocates the U.S. spending more time and resources in Pakistan, although she expects Congress to approve the money Obama wants for an Afghanistan adventure.
"I'm not convinced that I'll be a yes for that," she tells Bunis. "I think there could be better places to use our American dollars.''