From NBC's Ken Strickland
While it's well knowm that liberal House Democrats are reluctant to support troop increases in Afghanistan, Senate Democrats are also starting to voice concerns about President Obama's strategy. Their views range from flat out opposition to skepticism.
Here's a sampling of excerpts of written statements released shortly after the president's address:
Russ Feingold (WI):
"I do not support the president's decision to send additional troops to fight a war in Afghanistan that is no longer in our national security interest. It's an expensive gamble to undertake armed nation-building on behalf of a corrupt government of questionable legitimacy. Sending more troops could further destabilize Afghanistan and, more importantly, Pakistan, a nuclear-armed state where al Qaeda is headquartered."
Bernie Sanders (VT):
"I have serious concerns. "First, why are American taxpayers and our brave soldiers bearing almost all the burden in what should be an international effort? Where are Europe, Russia, China and the rest of the world?... My nightmare is that we may get caught in a quagmire situation from which there will be no successful exit."
Sherrod Brown (OH):
"While I'm encouraged that the President laid out clear goals and a responsible timeline for completion, I remain skeptical about a commitment of 30,000 of our service men and women... But I continue to remain skeptical. I do not want a long commitment of troops in the region and I am concerned with the dramatic costs to human life and to military families. Before we commit more troops and more taxpayer dollars, there must be a clear path to stabilizing the country that does not amount to an open-ended commitment of troops."
Arlen Specter (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?"
Barbara Boxer (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."
Tom Udall (NM):
"...I remain unconvinced that sending an additional 30,000 American troops into harm's way improves the situation or advances our national security interests in the region. Although skeptical, I remain eager to learn the rationale for this strategy in Afghanistan as the plan and its details are explored through committee testimony and debate in the days and weeks to come."
Paul Kirk (MA):
"I'm encouraged by the President's plans to ultimately disengage us from Afghanistan in a responsible and timely fashion. I remain skeptical, however, about a significant troop build-up when the legitimacy of our Afghan partner is in serious question."