Key Democrats React To Obama

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Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), in a terse statement:  "President Obama asked for time to make his decision on a new policy in Afghanistan.  I am going to take some time to think through the proposal he presented tonight."

Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA):
"I oppose sending 30,000 additional American troops to Afghanistan because I am not persuaded that it is indispensable in our fight against Al Qaeda.  If it was, I would support an increase because we have to do whatever it takes to defeat Al Qaeda since they're out to annihilate us. But if Al Qaeda can operate out of Yemen or Somalia, why fight in Afghanistan where no one has succeeded?"

Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA), Iraq veteran: "
I strongly support President Obama for his decision to commit 30,000 additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan.  He has listened to our military leaders on the ground, and has decided, along with our military commanders and civilian leadership, to pursue a strategy that ensures our brave men and women serving overseas have the resources and plan to dismantle, disrupt, and defeat Al Qaeda."

Sen.  Barbara Boxer (D-CA): "I support the President's mission and exit strategy for Afghanistan, but I do not support adding more troops because there are now 200,000 American, NATO and Afghan forces fighting roughly 20,000 Taliban and less than 100 al Qaeda."

Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), a member of the House leadership: "I see no good reason for us to send another 30,000 or more troops to Afghanistan when we have so many pressing issues - like our economy - to deal with in this country."I have a number of questions to which I hope we can get answers--for example, the role of Pakistan, how specifically we will measure progress over time, what additional resources we will need on the civilian side of the effort, how we will manage strain on our forces, and how we expect the government of Afghanistan to be reformed."

Rep. David Obey, House Approps Chair: "
If this endeavor is to be pursued, we must have a renewed sense of shared sacrifice - because right now only military families are paying the cost of this war.  A progressive war surtax is the fairest way to pay for it - fairest to working class families and fairest to military families."

Rep. Ike Skelton (D-MO), chair of the House Armed Services Cmte:

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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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