Boehner 'generally supportive' of Obama's Afghan plan

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“As I understand it, the top brass at the Pentagon are comfortable with the president’s strategy and I have said since the president took office that if the president listened to his commanders, and the diplomats in the region, then I would support his plan,” Boehner told reporters at the Capitol, elaborating on a written statement he issued after Obama’s speech Wednesday night. 

“I am generally supportive of the plan because there is enough flexibility in the withdrawal to take into consideration conditions on the ground, and that is critically important for the long-term success [of the mission].”

Boehner was asked to respond to congressional testimony from Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who said Thursday that Obama’s plans were “more aggressive and incur more risk than I was originally prepared to accept.”

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Boehner said military commanders “always” want more troops to carry out a mission. “I’ve dealt with military commanders. They’d always like to have more troops. Always,” Boehner said. “There’s not a commander anywhere who wouldn’t like more troops. I understand that.”

The Speaker warned that domestic politics should not play a part in decisions over troop withdrawals from Afghanistan.

“I don’t think anyone wants to jeopardize the gains that we’ve made in Afghanistan,” he said. “I’m cautiously optimistic about the way we’re going and how we’re getting there, but this withdrawal shouldn’t be done on a political deadline. It should be based on conditions on the ground.”