Ohio’s US Senators React To The President’s Troop Draw Down Plan

Listen to the Story

The Officer Commanding Corunna Company, 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment briefs his troops on Op Tor Mahke Zi. Republican Senator Rob Portman says there are aspects of President Obama's plan to bring troops home that he likes.(Photo: isafmedia (flickr))
The Officer Commanding Corunna Company, 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment briefs his troops on Op Tor Mahke Zi. Republican Senator Rob Portman says there are aspects of President Obama's plan to bring troops home that he likes.(Photo: isafmedia (flickr))

Congressional Democrats are leading the criticism of President Barack Obama’s troop withdrawal plan from Afghanistan, arguing that his timeline for bringing 33,000 U.S. troops home by next summer is not fast enough. At the same time, Republicans are faulting Obama’s plan as too rash. But Ohio’s junior senator, a Republican, says there are aspects of the plan he likes.

Ohio’s Republican U.S. senator says Obama’s plan is appropriate. But Rob Portman says he’d like to see a bit more long-term planning.

“I think the president’s decision to allow the commanders on the ground to decide where the troops come from — the initial 10,000 troops in particular — is appropriate,” Portman says. “And I do think that we need to begin a deliberate process of bringing the Afghans into the fight and withdrawing our troops. So I am not one of those who joins in being critical of the president.”

Across the aisle, Ohio’s Democratic senator, Sherrod Brown, says he thinks withdrawing U.S. troops is a priority; especially from what he calls “wars of choice.”

“I’m hopeful that we can disengage from these places around the world that frankly are not making us particularly safer,” Brown says. “I think ten years ago our involvement in Afghanistan made us safer but the Bush Administration moved their focus into Iraq and it cost us dearly as a nation.”

The president’s draw down plan calls for bringing 33,000 U.S. troops home from Afghanistan by next summer, with 10,000 leaving Afghanistan by the end of this year and more than 20,000 additional forces by September of 2012. In doing so, Obama is fulfilling his promise to start bringing home in July the more than 30,000 so-called surge forces he sent to Afghanistan in 2009. Even after the surge forces leave, there still will be nearly 70,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Comments