Left, Right Assail Obama Plan

GOP faults timetable; Dems fault surge itself
By Will McCahill,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 1, 2009 9:25 PM CST
President Barack Obama poses for a picture with cadets after tonight's speech.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – There was a bipartisan show of unity after President Obama’s speech tonight on Afghanistan—though hardly the unity Obama was looking for, as negative reaction echoed from his leftmost supporters to his rightmost critics. The 30,000-troop buildup irked Democrats, the Wall Street Journal reports, despite Obama pairing that with a withdrawal date. And that timetable angered Republicans, with Sen. John McCain saying it tells foes “that you’re coming and you’re leaving.”

Said Sen. Arlen Specter: “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 al-Qaeda can operate out of Yemen or Somalia, why fight in Afghanistan where no one has succeeded?” Echoed California Democrat Barbara Boxer: “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.”

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