U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today commended President Obama on his announcement that he would end of the War in Iraq by the end of this December.
However, Gillibrand called for Obama to also bring home American troops from Afghanistan.
“I commend President Obama for responsibly ending the war in Iraq and bringing our troops home," Gillibrand said. "But we must also re-focus on our national security interests in Afghanistan and bring our combat troops from there as well after a full decade at war.
Gillibrand said that drawing down the war in Afghanistan with just 10,000 combat troops coming home this year is not fast enough.
"As I have advocated throughout this year, it is time to shift course in Afghanistan to a counter-terrorism mission with an aggressive drawdown of combat troops," Gillibrand said. "In the decade since the start of this war, al-Qaeda has metastasized, expanding and strengthening its influence across the globe, and our most imminent threat in the past few years does not stem from Afghanistan.
“It is time for leaders in Afghanistan to take responsibility for their security, and the United States needs to adjust the fight against terrorism to the most current threat environment,” Gillibrand said.
Here is the text of President Obama's announcement:
In 2008, in the height of the presidential campaign, then-Senator Obama made a promise to give our military a new mission: ending the war in Iraq.
As the election unfolded, he reiterated this pledge again and again -- but cautioned that we would be "as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in."
Last year, the President made progress toward achieving that goal. He brought an end to the combat mission in Iraq, and through the course of the past 14 months, more than 100,000 troops have returned to their families.
Now, that promise will be wholly fulfilled. Today, President Obama announced that the rest of our troops will be home by the holidays:
Over the next two months, our troops in Iraq—tens of thousands of them—will pack up their gear and board convoys for the journey home. The last American soldiers will cross the border out of Iraq—with their heads held high, proud of their success, and knowing that the American people stand united in our support for our troops. That is how America’s military efforts in Iraq will end.
But this moment represents more than an accomplishment for the President. It marks a monumental change of focus for our military and a fundamental shift in the way that the our nation will engage in the world:
The United States is moving forward, from a position of strength. The long war in Iraq will come to an end by the end of this year. The transition in Afghanistan is moving forward, and our troops are finally coming home. As they do, fewer deployments and more time training will help keep our military the very best in the world. And as we welcome home our newest veterans, we’ll never stop working to give them and their families the care, the benefits, and the opportunities that they have earned.