Reaction to Obama's Afghanistan war plans

AP News
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Posted: Dec 01, 2009 9:43 PM

Some reaction to President Barack Obama's plans for the Afghanistan war:

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"The Afghanistan-Pakistan review led by the president has provided me with a clear military mission and the resources to accomplish our task. The clarity, commitment and resolve outlined in the president's address are critical steps toward bringing security to Afghanistan and eliminating terrorist safe havens that threaten regional and global security." _ Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan.

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"This is not a U.S. mission alone. There are 43 countries on the ground under NATO command and I am confident that other allies and partners will also make a substantial increase in their contributions." _ NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

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"Sending 34,000 more troops to Afghanistan will make it 34,000 times harder to extricate ourselves against this mess." _ Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass.

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"If the president remains committed to this crucial fight, Republicans and the American people will stand with him. But sending mixed signals by outlining the exit before these troops even get on the ground undermines their ability to succeed." _ Republican National Chairman Michael Steele.

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"I am pleased that he made clear that our resources are not unlimited and our commitment is not open-ended. ... The president drew an essential distinction between his approach to the war and that of the previous administration." _ Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

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"I support the president's decision to follow the advice of Generals Petraeus and McChrystal in ordering a surge of forces into Afghanistan. ... We must ensure that the transition of responsibilities is based on conditions, not timelines." _ Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

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"I see no good reason for us to send another 30,000 or more troops to Afghanistan when we have so many pressing issues _ like our economy _ to deal with in this country." _ Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y.

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"What I do not support, and what concerns me greatly, is the president's decision to set an arbitrary date to begin withdrawing U.S. forces from Afghanistan. A date for withdrawal sends exactly the wrong message to both our friends and our enemies." _ Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

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"If you are going to commit to a strategy _ and we're not there yet _ you have to come up with a way to finance it." _ Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa.

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"I think that Gen. McChrystal will be able to use the 30,000 effectively. More would have been better, but this is what the president has recommended and that's what we'll support." _ Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo.

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"The American Legion is opposed to any exit strategy that takes place before the mission in Afghanistan is accomplished ... To do otherwise would more correctly be called a 'surrender strategy' to which the Legion would be opposed." _ Clarence E. Hill, the American Legion's national commander.

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"It's an expensive gamble to undertake armed nation-building on behalf of a corrupt government of questionable legitimacy. Sending more troops could further destabilize Afghanistan and, more importantly, Pakistan, a nuclear-armed state where al-Qaida is headquartered." _ Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis.

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"That will be very, very difficult but necessary strategy." _ United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

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"I think we must take a few weeks to reflect _ first off a few weeks to consult with our other European partners, and then a few weeks to decide what our form of participation would be." _ Thierry Mariani, France's special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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"Canada welcomes the additional military and civilian resources the United States will deploy to Afghanistan, particularly to the south. Additional U.S. resources will help to provide a more secure environment for the Afghan people." _ Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon.

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"My major concern is that the administration is more focused on an exit strategy than a success strategy. An exit strategy should come only after we've achieved success." _ Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.

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"I remain skeptical ... about a significant troop buildup when the legitimacy of our Afghan partner is in serious question." _ Sen. Paul Kirk, D-Mass.

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"The need for additional troops only reinforces the need for timely VA and defense funding. Both the VA and defense budgets are now more than two months late, and our leaders in Congress must act quickly to ensure that we meet the needs of those brave enough to fight our nation's wars." _ AMVETS, a veteran's advocacy group.