Democrats Confront Pentagon on Afghan War

Violence is up, and so is lawmaker anxiety
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Suggested by Disillusioned
Posted Jun 17, 2010 6:56 AM CDT
Democrats Confront Pentagon on Afghan War
From left, Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Pentagon Comptroller Robert Hale, testify on Capitol Hill, June 16, 2010.   (Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(Newser) – A schism deepened yesterday between US war leaders and Congress as top Democrats challenged Pentagon assertions that progress is picking up in Afghanistan. "I wouldn't call it eroding," Carl Levin said of support for the war. "But there's a lot of fair concern." That was especially evident in a hearing with Robert Gates and Mike Mullen yesterday, in which some Democrats questioned whether victory was even possible. "We've committed so many lives, so much money," said Patrick Leahy, "and we've neglected so many things" domestically.

"We all have angst about this," Mullen acknowledged, but "we've put the resources in." In another hearing, David Petraeus urged lawmakers to ride out the ups and downs, as they did in Iraq. "This is a tough, tough business," he said. "Those who are living it have to keep their eye on the horizon." (Read more Afghanistan stories.)

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