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Public Statements

Defense Appropriations

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, this afternoon we resume consideration of the Defense appropriations bill, and among our most immediate concerns are the protection of our troops and allies in Afghanistan and the success of our mission there.

The President's pick to lead our efforts in Afghanistan, GEN Stanley McChrystal, has made clear that more forces are necessary to accomplish the mission. And while the administration has not yet reacted to General McChrystal's report, in my view, the President must soon explain to the American people his reasons either for accepting The McChrystal Plan or for taking a different course.

Timing is important. A failure to act decisively in response to General McChrystal's strategy, and his anticipated request for additional forces, could serve to undermine some of the good decisions the President has made on national security.

That said, no President decides to commit troops lightly; all such decisions have far-reaching consequences. And that is why General McChrystal and General Petraeus should also come to Washington to explain to Congress and to the American people how their strategy will work. A counterinsurgency strategy will require a significant investment in time, troops, and resources. We need an explanation from our generals why that investment is needed.

The recent disruption of an alleged al-Qaida plot against America was a reminder to all of us of the seriousness and urgency of our efforts in Afghanistan. There should be no doubt that al-Qaida remains a serious threat. We cannot allow al-Qaida to establish a safe haven in the very place where it plotted and planned the 9/11 attacks.

The Taliban is gaining ground in Afghanistan. And our commanders in the field are in the best position to tell us what is required to complete their mission. General McChrystal says that without adequate resources, we will likely fail. In my view, we should listen to his advice. And hopefully, we will be able to get that advice in person in a timely manner.

I yield the floor. I suggest the absence of a quorum.

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