The military has been reportedly pushing back on the idea that President Obama withdraw any substantial numbers of U.S. troops as he deliberates the military’s next move in Afghanistan. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that military leaders are asking the president to “hold off on ending the Afghanistan troop surge until the fall of 2012, in a proposal that would keep a large portion of the 33,000 extra forces in the country through the next two warm-weather fighting seasons.”
At the Netroots Nation conference in Minneapolis last Friday, ThinkProgress asked Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA), who is part of a coalition of leaders in Congress pushing for an end to war in Afghanistan, to respond to the Journal’s report. Garamendi called on the president to reduce forces there to 20,000 by the end of 2012 and to around 10,000 by the end of 2013. “Anything short of that, he’s going to have a revolt in Congress. Congress has had it,” he said. Garamendi added that Obama will lose Congress if he doesn’t announce a significant drawdown:
TP: If he does accept this recommendation or something that’s not even close to where Congress is, particularly the progressives in Congress. What do you think the reaction is going to be in Congress?
GARAMENDI: It’s not just the progressives, the conservatives, even some Tea Party folks, share the view that this war is, has the wrong goal. And I think the president has not come out with a very clear, definitive, rapid drawdown with a different goal and that is pivot from counterinsurgency to counterterrorism and define that very clearly. He’ll lose the support of Congress and it may very well be that he’ll lose money. Congress is not in the mood to spend $120 billion a year in Afghanistan any longer.
The California Democrat also said he and others in Congress are lobbying members to support their postion. “The defense appropriations bill is up, and I tell you there will be amendments to defund the war,” he said, adding, “There will be Republican and Democratic sponsors on that.” Watch it: