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Florida Times Union: Chambliss: Send More Troops, no New Taxes Needed

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Chambliss: Send More Troops, no New Taxes Needed

Florida Times Union

Florida Times Union

Chambliss: Send more troops, no new taxes needed

By David Hunt

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss said he supports a troop buildup in Afghanistan, something he believes can be paid for by cutting other government spending.

The Georgia Republican just returned from a Thanksgiving trip to visit troops and military leaders in the war-torn country. He took reporters' questions during a conference call this morning.

Chambliss is one of many ready to analyze President Barack Obama's public address on the issue tonight. He said it will be interesting to see whether Obama will credit the Bush Administration for past progress against the Taliban in Afghanistan and how the president also plans to address spillover issues into neighboring Pakistan.

Chambliss said he believes Pakistan has a strong enough military to defend itself and eradicate terrorists who have gone into hiding there. But the Pakistani efforts need to become "more aggressive."

The president is expected to call for 30,000 new troops in Afghanistan when he gives a prime time speech at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

There is debate over whether a new tax should be issued to pay for the buildup. Chambliss said he thinks there is "enough waste, fraud and abuse" in Washington to fund the action with spending cuts.

"The American people can't stand that. If we can pass $2 1/2 trillion in health care reform, it's unfathomable we can't fund the protection of this country," Chambliss said.

Chambliss' remarks came one day after Democrat John Kerry's Senate Foreign Relations Committee released a report, Tora Bora Revisited, which accused the U.S. of making a grave error in 2001 whe the CIA and special forces had Osama bin Laden cornered in a mountainous region of Afghanistan.

The report, which you can read by clicking here, says bin Laden had even drawn up a will while bombs exploded all around him. But because of a lack of ground forces, he was able to escape sometime in mid-December 2001.

Chambliss said he hadn't read the report yet, but agreed there have been blown chances to capture or kill bin Laden. He assigned several to the Clinton Administration

Taxpayers paid for Chambliss' trip to Afghanistan, but he said he was unsure of the cost of the top of his head.

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