Congressman Bruce Braley says President Obama needs to outline an “exit strategy” for Afghanistan before he sends more American troops into that country.
Braley, a Democrat from Waterloo, cites the so-called “Powell Doctrine” — a list of questions devised by retired General Colin Powell before the U.S. entered the first Gulf War. It includes the question: do we have the support of the American people for this mission?
“It’s no different than the Powell Doctrine that we used before the first Gulf War,” Braley says. “You need to lay out of us what your exit strategy is before you ask us to send these Iowa National Guard members into harm’s way.”
In October, about 3900 Iowa National Guard soldiers were notified by the Pentagon that they may be deployed to Afghanistan next fall. That’s the largest deployment of the Iowa Guard since World War Two.
“So this is something that weighs very heavily on me,” Braley says, of the prospect of boosting U.S. troop strength in Afghanistan. “I have insisted all year long and have been part of a coalition of both Democrats and Republicans who’ve signed off on a letter…to President Obama that says, ‘Before you commit to increasing the level of troop involvement in Afghanistan, we want to know what your exit strategy is.'”
Braley says it appears there is “fierce opposition” from the Afghan people themselves to a surge of American troops in their country. According to Braley, the recent election in Afghanistan was a “political fiasco” and a “big set-back” because of the questions of widespread voting abuse.
“So the politics is really how do we, as a country, define our continuing role in such a troubled area of the world?” Braley says.
Braley made his comments this weekend during an appearance on Iowa Public Television. Find a transcript of the “Iowa Press” program here.