Thanks to Amanda Terkel of the Huffington Post, we have the text of a resolution passed by the Democratic National Committee calling for a “significant and sizable reduction no later than July 2011.” That date, of course, is President Obama’s idea, announced in his December 2009 speech at West Point, yet left vague enough to mean anything. Lately, the United States and NATO have started talking about 2014 as the date for transferring security control to Afghan forces, which doesn’t contradict the start of a withdrawal in July, but certainly extends it at least three years, with no guarantee even then that combat troops will leave Afghanistan then.
The resolution, reprinted below, was introduced by Representative Barbara Lee (D.-Calif.). From Terkel’s reporting, I didn’t see any mention of the vote count or its significance, but it certainly reflects the strong majority among Democrats, and the public at large, for getting out of Afghanistan.
If nothing else, the DNC is reminding Obama that he’ll have trouble with his party if he sides with the neoconservatives, The Weekly Standard, John McCain and the GOP on Afghanistan. In 2009, Obama quieted opposition to the war by affixing the July 2011 date to his tripling of US forces deployed in the war. Holding his feet to that fire is a good idea.
Here’s the text:
Resolution Supporting Ending the War in Afghanistan Now and Transferring the Funding to Job Creation, other Crucial Domestic Priorities and Deficit Reduction
Submitted by: Hon. Barbara Lee, California
Donna Brazile, DNC Vice Chair/District of Columbia
Hon. Mike Honda, DNC Vice Chair/California
Alice Germond, DNC Secretary/West Virginia
WHEREAS, the United States has been involved in war in Afghanistan for almost a decade and remains militarily engaged in what has become the longest war in American history; and
WHEREAS, the mounting costs of the war in Afghanistan, now totaling over $100 billion a year, have constrained efforts to invest in job creation and in strengthening our country and our economy; and
WHEREAS, according to a Gallup Poll released February 2, 2011, 72% of Americans favor action to “speed up the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan”; and
WHEREAS, President Obama supports a transition to an Afghan-led security arrangement in Afghanistan “because open-ended war serves neither our interests nor the Afghan people’s”; and
WHEREAS, a diplomatic solution in Afghanistan that emphasizes economic development, political reconciliation and inclusion, the engagement of regional and global stakeholders, and the safeguarding of basic human rights is essential to ensure long-term stability in Afghanistan and the surrounding region; and
WHEREAS, military and intelligence officials agree that the situation in Afghanistan will not ultimately be resolved by a military solution; and
WHEREAS, the national and economic security of the United States depend upon a national defense strategy which addresses the modern threat of global terrorism in an effective, sustainable, and comprehensive manner; and
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the Democratic Party recognizes the enormous strain placed on the US military servicemembers, and their families since 2001 as a result of continuing engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan and remains committed to ensuring that our troops have the support that they require when deployed as well as the care that they and their families need and deserve when they return home;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Democratic Party supports prioritizing job creation and a swift withdrawal of US armed forces and military contractors in Afghanistan which must include a significant and sizable reduction no later than July 2011.