Senator Daniel K. Inouye and 31 Congressional colleagues attended a White House briefing this afternoon with President Barack Obama, during which the President personally outlined his strategy for the war in Afghanistan. Also in attendance were Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The briefing lasted approximately one hour.
The text of the Senator's statement follows:
"I support the President's plan and I left the briefing convinced that he had presented a good, workable strategy and that it should be supported by all Members of Congress.
"Of the 30,000 additional troops that will be in-country by July of next year, approximately one-third will be non-combatants who will help train Afghan Security Forces and help to prepare the Afghan armed forces and police to assume legitimate control over their nation's security when we begin to withdraw U.S. troops in July 2011.
"The President conveyed our core mission as follows: "We will disrupt, dismantle, and eventually defeat al-Qa'ida and prevent their return to either Afghanistan or Pakistan
We will prevent the Taliban from turning Afghanistan back into a safe haven from which international terrorists can strike at us or our allies.'
"I believe our ultimate goal is to leave Afghanistan with security and governance in place that can successfully carry on the activities of a sovereign nation. It would be ill-advised to suddenly leave Afghanistan knowing that chaos would follow. The United States must be able to leave with our heads held high knowing that we have done the best job possible to keep the country intact.
"We must work quickly to secure the country while at the same time training the Afghan Army and police to take legitimate control of Afghanistan's security when it is appropriate for U.S. and coalition forces to withdraw.
"I look forward to discussing how we will fund this strategy with my colleagues in the House and Senate. We will provide our soldiers all of the resources necessary to complete their mission. At the same time we must also be cognizant of the current economic condition and the cost that taxpayers will bear as a result of a major increase in war funding.
"My thoughts and prayers, as always, remain with the men and women in uniform who are tasked with taking up the fight and with their families back home who hope for their safe return."