U.S. Representative Ed Whitfield (KY-01) issued the following statement today following President Barack Obama's speech on U.S. efforts in Afghanistan last night.
"Having traveled to Iraq and Afghanistan within the last year, I had the opportunity to see firsthand the different strategic military challenges posed in each of these countries. The enemies we face in Afghanistan are much more transient and tougher to find than the ones we faced in Iraq, especially considering many of them come in and out of Pakistan to quickly fight and retreat. Furthermore, while Iraq only has three distinctive cultures, Afghanistan is broken up with dozens of different tribes; all fearful of one another, al Qaeda, and the United States. "Handing over" security to such a fractioned country with a lack of true centralized government will be extremely difficult.
"I expect to travel to Afghanistan again in the near future, to discuss our strategy with military leaders on the ground. I will also continue to consult with the brave men and women who serve at Fort Campbell to hear their firsthand accounts of our efforts in Afghanistan. For the past 15 years I have had the great privilege of representing these heroes and their families. These men and women have carried these wars on their backs and I will continue to do everything I can to ensure they have the resources they need to carry out their missions, and the care and benefits they have more than earned when they return home.
"I am concerned that President Obama would set a withdrawal date for U.S. troops in Afghanistan, which could seem to give our enemies a strategic advantage. While I will continue to review President Obama's strategy, I join all Americans in hoping it can successfully thwart terrorism and bring stability to the Middle East while bringing our troops home safely as soon as possible."