Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand [D-NY] is proposing a four-year Afghanistan withdrawal plan which undercuts House Democrats, led by Barbara Lee and Jim McGovern, who are seeking a much more rapid withdrawal timeline.
Apparently seeking to co-opt New York peace sentiment, Gillibrand declares that “America cannot afford an endless war in Afghanistan” after ten years and the expenditure of $345 billion.
But her proposal resembles the plan which the Pentagon lobbied President Obama to adopt when hawks feared that withdrawals would begin earlier than the generals feared. The bill proposes that the withdrawal of combat forces begin this July, which is Obama’s present policy. It requires a plan by July 31 for the phased “redeployment” for the rest of US forces by 2014, and a compact with Afghanistan for a continuing counter-terrorism mission beyond that date.
Recent polls have shown that 86 percent of Democratic voters favor a more rapid withdrawal that Obama’s tentative 2014 date. The Democratic National Committee recently endorsed a Barbara Lee resolution calling for a significant and substantial withdrawal beginning this July with a more rapid timetable than 2014. The Afghanistan funds would be transferred to job creation under Lee’s proposal.
To contact Sen. Gillibrand’s staff write Elana Broitman at email@example.com or call (202) 224-4451.