27 members of the US Senate have signed a letter pushing the Obama Administration for a change in strategy in Afghanistan, as well as a “sizable” withdrawal of troops from the nation in July. They said this should include combat troops.
The call is in stark contrast to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ comments earlier this month, in which he urged as minimal a drawdown as possible, and only of support troops. Gates said it was vital to “keep the shooters” on the ground.
Which put Gates in the position of defending himself today at the Senate Defense Appropriations subcommittee, insisting that the continuation of the war was vital and rejecting Congressional complaints about its seemingly endless nature, claiming it was to end in 2014.
“This is not a war without end,” Gates insisted, and those claims would’ve already been treated with extreme skepticism, even if they had not come just a day after Admiral Michael Mullen confirmed that the US would have a “long-term” presence in Afghanistan beyond 2014.