Rep. Hoekstra: Obama could get rid of Afghan war timetablehttp://thehill.com/blogs/blog-
President Obama could alter or do away with the July 2011 deadline to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan, a top Republican lawmaker said Monday.House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.), who is retiring, predicted conditions on the ground will likely force Obama to change the timetable he set when he announced he would send 30,000 additional troops to the war-torn nation.
"And then he just kind of said, and by the way, they're going to come home in July 2011. And at that point in time, he lost a number of the congressional leaders who said you don't run a war based on a timetable, you run it on winning, you run it on conditions on the ground," he said on Fox News. "And I think that's exactly what we're seeing here, and I think the president's strategy will evolve, they will stay there — our troops will stay there until the job is done, the timetable thing will go away."
The Obama administration has come under intense pressure from lawmakers in both political parties over progress in the war with a major review of the conflict upcoming in December.
Many liberal Democrats see the war as unwinnable and are displeased with the administration's decision to send more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, saying it should focus on ending the conflict by bringing troops back home. This summer, the House barely passed an additional $33 billion in war funding after a large bloc of Democrats defected from their party's leaders and voted against the measure.
Most Republicans believe the opposite — that a troop withdrawal deadline is an artificial measure that will hinder the allied forces' ability to root out the Taliban and al Qaeda.
President Obama has not given any indication he will budge on the July 2011 date, which he says will mark the beginning of the drawdown, not the final date by which U.S. troops will leave the country.
U.S. progress in Afghanistan since Obama announced the surge has been uneven. Allied forces have made progress in rooting out the Taliban out of its stronghold in Kandahar, but the U.S. effort has been marked by two major setbacks.