Dr. Boozman's Check-up

On Wednesday, President Obama spoke to the American people on the drawdown of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. As a reference to his speech in November 2009 at West Point ordering an additional 30,000 troops overseas, the President addressed his commitment to begin removing the troops this July. With the month of June coming to a close, and the people looking for promises to be kept, the speech came at a susceptible time for our nation.   

The President addressed that “our mission will change from combat to support,” and by 2014 the “Afghan people will be responsible for their own security.” In his speech, he stated by next summer 33,000 troops will return home and his expectations hold the responsibility of policing the country and continuing the advances we have made to the Afghan government after the removal. 

I am committed to a responsible transition and drawdown of American troops in Afghanistan. However, I believe that strategic decisions should be based on the recommendations of commanders on the ground, rather than to fulfill a campaign promise or arbitrary timetables. 

In testimony before the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen said President Obama’s decision “was more than I recommended” acknowledging that the Commander in Chief overruled the commanders on his decision. 

I am well aware of the tremendous sacrifices that have been made by the members of our military and their families, yet we should listen to the advice of our Generals to facilitate a responsible exit strategy that will not undermine the gains we’ve made or compromise the safety of our troops who continue to serve in Afghanistan.