Today Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) issued the following statement on the appointment by President Obama of Army Gen. David Petraeus as commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan:
"I applaud President Obama for the difficult decision he made today in accepting Gen. Stanley McChrystal's resignation and naming Gen. David Petraeus commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. President Obama placed the emphasis today right where it belongs: on the critical importance of the mission in Afghanistan, and on having a team in place in which our civilian and military leaders work together to bring this difficult and protracted conflict to a satisfactory and swift conclusion. Of the many able officers President Obama could choose, Gen. Petraeus is one who can move into this critical field command with no time needed to get up to speed.
"Time is of the essence in a conflict that has gone on for so long and placed such great demands upon our military men and women, and their families. We want to bring our troops home. From bases in Washington state alone we have close to 20,000 troops deployed to conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
"We want Afghanistan to be a more stable country, and we want more regional participation in helping to get Afghanistan on its feet. Gen. Petraeus understands that we will not be able to win in Afghanistan solely by militarily means. We need a political and economic approach that stabilizes the country and deals with the drug trade and massive corruption there. We need to keep working to win hearts and minds. I am heartened that we now have in place a team supporting our Commander-in-Chief in working toward these worthy goals."
Note: Senator Cantwell is the lead Senate Sponsor of S.496, the Afghanistan and Pakistan Reconstruction Opportunity Zones Act of 2009, aimed at expanding economic opportunity in those two countries.