Obama’s Afghanistan plan gets mixed reviews from CT delegation

Several members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation expressed dissatisfaction with President Barack Obama’s plan to withdraw 10,000 American troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd District, said the president’s proposal “does not go far enough,” noting that the war is now a decade old. “We need to begin a more significant drawdown of our troops now,” she said in a statement after the president’s speech Wednesday night. “I am firmly convinced, especially with the death of Osama bin Laden and the resulting damage to al Qaeda leadership, it is time to significantly redeploy troops out of Afghanistan.”

Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, called the president’s plan a “positive step” and said it mirrored the “responsible” drawdown of U.S. troops in Iraq. But “additional reductions beyond tonight’s announcement are warranted before the end of 2012,” Courtney added, “and I will continue to urge President Obama and our military leaders to do so at every possible opportunity.”

Rep. John Larson, D-1st District, said it’s in America’s interest to keep the region stable. But “with thousands of American lives and billions of dollars invested, it’s time to ask the Afghan government to stand on its own,” he said. “We have too many important issues to address here at home to do anything less.”

Rep. Chris Murphy, D-5th, said the president’s plan “falls short of the American people’s expectation that this July would mark the beginning of a full withdrawal of all combat troops.” He said the U.S. “cannot afford to spend $2.5 billion per week maintaining this level of presence.”

At the other end of the spectrum, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, an independent and defense hawk, said he was concerned Obama was moving too quickly.

“I had hoped the President would draw down our forces more cautiously,” Lieberman said. He said he’s concerned the “accelerated withdrawal which the president has ordered will put at risk the substantial gains we have made in Afghanistan. Our troops are in the middle of the fighting season in Afghanistan now which makes this a questionable time to begin to reduce their numbers.”

Rep. Jim Himes, D-4th District, weighed in before Obama’s speech. Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal did not release a statement Wednesday night.