Iowa Congressman Dave Loebsack, a Democrat from Mount Vernon, has just returned from a holiday trip overseas to visit soldiers. Loebsack says he visited with a number of troops who had been injured in Afghanistan at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Ramstein Germany.
He says he also went to Italy to visit families and troops who are about to deploy. Loebsack says he also met with Romanian officials, as he says Romania is an important ally in the war in Afghanistan. President Obama is set to announce how he plans to proceed in Afghanistan in a speech Tuesday night, and Loebsack says he’ll be interested in hearing that plan.
Loebsack says,” What I want to hear from the president is really multifaceted, I want to be sure that this is not just a military decision, there is much to it than that.” He says it’s a political and economic decision, and he wants to be sure there is a plan to transfer security of the country to the Afghan security force and that it is not an open-ended commitment. Loebsack says the president has to have a clear strategy.
Loebsack says he wants to know the cost of the plan and that we have a commitment from out NATO allies. He wants to see that the plan coordinates the civilian elements of the country. Loebsack is on the Armed Services Committee and says they will meet Thursday to discuss the issue with the Secretary of Defense.
Loebsack says he talked with soldiers and military leaders about Afghanistan, but the congressman would not elaborate on their opinions.
Loebsack says the leaders will clearly support the president’s plan if there are significantly more resources committed to the area. He says the families of those who are about to deploy and are deployed that he talked to “continue to be supportive of whatever the mission is as defined by the president.”
Reports say the president plans to announce he will send another 35,000 troops to Afghanistan.