President Obama, who is under pressure from the Pentagon and defense contractors to surge 40,000 additional U.S. troops into occupied Afghanistan, met Tuesday with members of Congress to discuss the sorry state of the mission and its uncertain future.
That’s the good news — sort of.
At least the president is talking to the civilian leaders who, according to the U.S. Constitution, are supposed to be making decisions about whether to engage in and escalate wars.
The bad news is that the president — who disptached Defense Secretary Robert Gates to say before the meeting: “We are not leaving Afghanistan” — did not sit down with members of Congress who have studied the conflict and determined that it is time to develop a flexible exit strategy.
Here is the list of House and Senate members who got the White House invite:
SENATORS: Harry Reid, Majority Leader, D-NV* Dick Durbin, Majority Whip, D-IL * Mitch McConnell, Republican Leader, R-KY* Jon Kyl, Republican Whip, R-AZ * Carl Levin, Armed Services Chair, D-MI* John McCain, Armed Services Ranking Member, R-AZ* Daniel Inouye, Appropriations Chair and Defense Subcommittee Chair, D-HI* Thad Cochran, Appropriations Ranking Member and Defense Subcommittee Ranking, R-MS * John Kerry, Foreign Affairs Chair, D-MA* Richard Lugar, Foreign Affairs Ranking Member, R-IN* Patrick Leahy, Foreign Operations Appropriations Chair, D-VT* Judd Gregg, Foreign Operations Appropriations Ranking Member, R-NH* Dianne Feinstein, Intelligence Committee Chair, D-CA* Kit Bond, Intelligence Committee Ranking Member, R-MO
REPRESENTATIVES: Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CA* Steny Hoyer, Majority Leader, D-MD* John Boehner, Republican Leader, R-OH* James Clyburn, Majority Whip, D-SC * Eric Cantor, Republican Whip, R-VA* Ike Skelton, Armed Services Chair, D-MO* Howard McKeon, Armed Services Ranking Member, R-CA* Howard Berman, Foreign Affairs Chair, D-CA* Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Foreign Affairs Ranking Member, R-FL* David Obey, Appropriations Chair, D-WI* Jerry Lewis, Appropriations Ranking Member, R-CA* Nita Lowey, Foreign Operations Appropriations Chair, D-NY * Kay Granger, Foreign Operations Appropriations Ranking Member, R-TX * John Murtha, Appropriations, Defense Subcommittee Chair, D-PA* Bill Young, Appropriations, Defense Subcommittee Ranking Member, R-FL * Silvestre Reyes, Intelligence Committee Chairman, D-TX* Peter Hoekstra, Intelligence Committee Ranking Member, R-MI