On the one-year anniversary of the killing of 9-11 attack mastermind Osama bin Laden, President Obama visited Afghanistan on Tuesday to outline plans for the United States’ eventual withdrawal from that country. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he very much wants the U.S. to “get the job done and get outta’ there,” bringing an end to America’s longest-running war.
Grassley says, “The only qualms I have about anything the president said is emphasizing to our enemies exactly what our next military move is, or the lack of a military move.” The president says ten-thousand U.S. troops left Afghanistan last year and another 23-thousand will be leaving by the end of this summer.
The plan calls for having most Americans in uniform out of Afghanistan by 2014, though 88,000 are still there now. Critics say Obama’s announcement was less about military strategy and more about his bid for re-election.
“I don’t like sending signals to the enemy when we’re going to do it and setting deadlines,” Grassley says. “Otherwise, I believe that we’ve all, since day one, been looking for an opportunity to get things done in Iraq and Afghanistan.” While the wars in those two nations may be coming to a close, Grassley, a Republican, says we shouldn’t be lulled into thinking the War on Terror is also ending.
“We’re going to have to stay engaged because these people still want to kill Americans and so the War on Terror is going on,” Grassley says. “The only thing the president announced yesterday is the phases in Iraq and Afghanistan are soon over.”
If the president is leaving the impression the War on Terror is over, Grassley says, “he’s misleading the American people.” The war in Afghanistan has cost more than 1,800 Americans’ lives and, combined with the Iraq War, nearly $1.3-trillion.