Freshman Republicans Urge Troop Increase

Posted October 15, 2009 at 3:51pm

House Republicans continued to press President Barack Obama this week to heed the advice of the top commander in Afghanistan and send an additional 40,000 troops to the country.During a press conference Thursday, freshman Reps. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), Peter Olson (R-Texas), Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) and John Fleming (R-La.) said the troop increase, reportedly outlined in a memo sent last month to the White House by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, should be executed soon in order to ensure victory in Afghanistan.Hunter, Rooney, Coffman, Fleming and Olson all served in the military prior to their election to the House.“It would be irresponsible to take any action other than what Gen. McChrystal has recommended, which includes adding at least 40,000 troops to the region,— Hunter said. “Victory in Afghanistan is well within reach, but it will only be possible if our military leadership and combat forces receive the resources they need to win.—Rooney compared the current situation in Afghanistan to the climate in Iraq right before Congress approved the surge of more than 20,000 troops there in 2007. “We are at that moment,— Rooney said. Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) outlined his concerns about the Obama response to the situation in Afghanistan in a memo circulated Wednesday afternoon to GOP Members. He also reiterated that McChrystal should be allowed to testify before the House and the Senate. Boehner said he supported the counterinsurgency strategy that Obama outlined in March but stressed that the strategy could not effectively be implemented without the troop increase recommended by McChrystal. “The President has the right and the responsibility to review this request for additional troops, but this decision should be made based on our national security interests, not any political pressure,— Boehner wrote. “Timely decision-making from him is important because unnecessary delay could undermine the opportunity to achieve success.—Boehner said it was important for stakeholders to apply lessons learned from the war in Iraq but cautioned against the assumptions that the conflicts are similar. “We must not confuse Iraq and Afghanistan,— he wrote. “They are two different countries, and two different security, political, economic, and diplomatic environments.—