Merkley Statement on President Obama’s Address on Afghanistan

Washington, DC
– Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley
issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s announcement of
more troops for Afghanistan:

“I appreciate that President
Obama has taken the time to fully examine this issue and consider the available
options.  However, I’m not convinced the case has been made to add more
than 30,000 new troops. Significant questions remain about our strategic goals
in Afghanistan and the human and financial costs involved in achieving them.


“I have a number of questions
about whether the Administration’s goal in Afghanistan is realistic, and how
that goal advances our national security.  How will our strategy overcome
Afghanistan’s history of decentralized power exercised by regional warlords,
its systemic corruption, the insurgents’ ability to use the presence of a
foreign force as a rallying point, the geography and topography of the country,
and the Taliban’s easy access to explosives and funding?  Does this
strategy reduce or increase the number of extremists motivated to strike at our
nation?  What will prevent al Qaeda from finding other safe havens in
other places from which to plot attacks against the U.S.?  Are there other
approaches that can meet our national security objectives? 


“I look forward to discussing
these questions with the Administration and learning not only the full details
of their plan, but also reviewing how the sacrifice in lives and resources
serves our national interest.”