Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) released the following statement on the President’s plan to reduce force levels in Iraq by approximately 8,000 troops and slightly modify troop levels in Afghanistan over the next six months:
“The President made it clear through his slight troop reduction announcement that he intends to maintain a long-term, unsustainable presence in Iraq. The situation on the ground in Iraq would permit - and the needs of our overstrained military and our struggling mission in Afghanistan demand - a much larger troop reduction, at a significantly faster pace. The President has effectively deferred the development of a responsible Iraq exit strategy to the next Administration. That is highly irresponsible.”

“The deteriorating situation in Afghanistan demands a dramatic adjustment to our current strategy. The President’s slight reduction of troops in Iraq, coupled with a troop reshuffling in Afghanistan that essentially maintains the status quo, shows that he does not grasp the severity of the situation in Afghanistan and the danger posed by under-resourcing our mission there. Any future attacks on the United States are most likely to originate from the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area, and we cannot allow the region to become a terrorist sanctuary or fall to the Taliban. But our forces continue to be overwhelmingly concentrated in Iraq. The President’s announcement demonstrates he is unwilling to divert from this dangerous course. ”

“Our troops remain the best in the world, and their efforts have helped dramatically improve the situation in Iraq. We must honor their sacrifice by bringing them home and ensuring their accomplishments in Afghanistan do not slip away.”