House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeonHoward (Buck) Philip McKeonCivil rights activist Dolores Huerta endorses California Democratic House challenger Bottom Line Trump pick brings scrutiny to 'revolving door' between Pentagon, industry MORE (R-Calif.) on Tuesday criticized President Obama’s plans for troop drawdown in Afghanistan as arbitrary.
McKeon said that while he is “pleased the White House met the military’s request” to keep forces in Afghanistan past 2014, “holding this mission to an arbitrary egg-timer doesn’t make a lick of sense strategically.”
McKeon also warned it could repeat mistakes he said were made in Iraq, where he argued the failure to reach a security agreement led to chaos.
“Does the president seek to replicate his mistakes in Iraq where he abandoned the region to chaos and failed to forge a real security partnership?” he asked.
He said that troops are in Afghanistan because it was the “spawning ground of al-Qaeda” and where the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack was plotted.
“Those threats still exist,” McKeon said. “We leave when the Afghans can manage that threat, rather than on convenient political deadlines that favor polls numbers over our security.”
Obama announced Tuesday that the United States will keep 9,800 soldiers in Afghanistan after the U.S. combat mission ends in December. That figure will be sliced in half by the end of 2015 and further reduced to just an embassy presence in Kabul by the close of 2016.