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« Obama Announces New Way Forward In "Campaign Against Extremism" | Blog Home Page | Strategy Memo: Big Day for Detroit »

Hill Leaders React To Obama's Anti-Extremism Plan

UPDATED: Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer and Harry Reid, and Republican leaders John Boehner and Mitch McConnell reacted to the plan announced today by President Obama to combat extremism in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Here are there statements:

Pelosi:

"I support President Obama's comprehensive strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan. The President's plan is the result of a detailed study and is wisely centered on dismantling al Qaeda and denying safe havens in both Afghanistan and Pakistan to those who would attack the United States. This strategy recognizes a point that I have emphasized for years, and one that I shared with the President following my visit last month to Afghanistan, which is that we must have a regional approach to countering terrorism.

"By aiding Pakistan in their efforts to defeat terrorists, investing in and training Afghan Security Forces and their Army, creating conditions to marginalize insurgents and foster democracy, and cooperating with our allies to achieve these goals, we can strengthen our global counterterrorism efforts and prevent another catastrophic attack, such as the horrific one Osama bin Laden launched on September 11th.

"The President's strategic and comprehensive approach is the right plan to stabilize Afghanistan and to protect the American people."


McConnell:

"I commend the President's announced strategy for Afghanistan today which includes a surge of forces and a renewed commitment to dismantling Al Qaeda and combating the Taliban. Republicans are supportive of these national objectives and will work with the administration to develop policies to secure greater cooperation from the government of Pakistan to rid the tribal areas of terrorist sanctuaries. We are fortunate to have Secretary Gates, Admiral Mullen and General Petraeus manage this surge and the counterinsurgency strategy as well."

Reid:

"We've said for some time that we must refocus our resources on threats like al Qaeda and the Taliban in the Afghanistan/Pakistan border region. I strongly support the President's decision to do just that.

"When I was in Afghanistan last year, I had the opportunity to meet with our military leaders and our brave troops on the front lines. They continue to do a tremendous job, and we must all be committed to giving them the resources they need and a focused mission that will defeat al Qaeda and make Americans safer here at home."

Hoyer:

"I applaud the Obama Administration for taking its time to develop a comprehensive strategy for the Afghanistan/Pakistan region. This plan was formed through a deliberative process, with many stakeholders consulted on the best path forward. This is a wise and realistic plan that represents a real change in strategy, and it has my support.

"As Democrats have long cited, Afghanistan is where the real war on terror must be fought. Yet for seven years, our efforts in Afghanistan have been hampered by a widely-acknowledged lack of focus and resources. What President Obama outlined today is a new, robust strategy for this crucial fight, which includes for the first time a more limited and well-defined end goal for our mission there. I especially appreciate that the President's strategy includes a new and more productive role for our allies, asking them to contribute civilians who are experts in fields critical to Afghanistan's rebuilding. Finally, I appreciate that the President's plan will ultimately include benchmarks, to ensure that our ongoing efforts are effective and that our funding is used for the purposes we intend.

"I look forward to working with the President as we move forward on this strategy and as we work together to meet the challenges we face in Afghanistan, Pakistan and throughout the rest of the region."

Boehner:

"The challenge of bringing stability to Afghanistan is enormously complex, but our efforts to defeat Al Qaeda and the Taliban are vital to the security of the American people. I support the strategy the President unveiled today because it reflects the advice of our commanders on the ground. I hope he will continue to honor their counsel because we should not allow political considerations here at home to trump the importance of achieving success in the region. Moving forward, we must ensure this strategy is implemented in a manner that is both flexible and reflective of the situation on the ground, and we must aggressively monitor its progress.

"The commitment and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform is nothing short of amazing. Republicans are committed to doing everything possible to support our troops and give them all the resources they need to succeed in their mission in Afghanistan."