While partisan rancor is the order of the day on Capitol Hill, it ceased, at least momentarily Thursday, with all but a few Republicans and a healthy majority of Democrats voting against a resolution calling on President Obama to immediately withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
But America's most popular military officer, Gen. David Petraeus, warned during an appearance before lawmakers earlier in the week that passing the resolution would give the Taliban a propaganda win.
He told the House Armed Service Committee Wednesday:
... The Taliban and al-Qaida obviously would trumpet this as a victory, as a success. Needless to say, it would completely undermine everything that our troopers have fought so much for and sacrificed so much for.
Ultimately, though, this is about our vital national-security
interests. And as President Obama has identified them, foremost among these is ensuring that al-Qaida and other transnational extremists cannot re-establish sanctuaries such as they had in Afghanistan under Taliban rule. When the 9/11 attacks were planned in Afghanistan, the initial training of the attackers was carried out in Afghanistan before the attackers moved on to Germany and then U.S. flight schools and then carried out their acts of terror.
So needless to say, this would close the door on the very, very
hard-fought effort, and a mission that I think is seeking to achieve a
very, very important security objective of our country as well as of
Still, it's a measure of how unpopular the war has become that 93 lawmakers, including eight Republicans were willing to take the other side of Petraeus' argument.