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California Reps. -- Waters, McKeon, Issa, others -- weigh in on Obama's Afghan troop plan

Obama at West Point

California's is the largest state delegation in the House of Representatives -- 34 Democrats, 19 Republicans -- so you can always expect a diversity of opinion from its ranks. That’s certainly the case as representatives react to President Obama’s call for 30,000 more troops in Afghanistan.

Some say he’s going too far, others that he’s not going far enough. No surprise there, but here’s a sampling of Golden State opinions, from both sides of the aisle:

Elton Gallegly (R-Simi Valley): “Partial measures and artificial deadlines are not acceptable. He questioned whether the troop increase is “enough to achieve our goals with minimal casualties. I hope it is, but I also urge the president to keep an open mind on deploying more troops if necessary.... I also question announcing a July 2011 deadline to begin troop withdrawals. That only tells our enemies to lay low for 18 months.’’ Darrell Issa

John Garamendi (D-Walnut Creek) said the people of Afghanistan will be “better served if we focus our efforts on improving the socioeconomic conditions of the region instead of sending more of our brave soldiers to fight in this war.”

Darrell Issa (R-Vista) said Obama’s “insistence on a timetable for leaving Afghanistan before his plan has even begun casts serious doubt about his commitment to a successful mission.”

Barbara Lee (D-Oakland): “I must respectfully disagree with the president. Afghanistan needs a political solution — not a military one. Adding more troops won’t change this important fact.” Buck McKeon

Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-Santa Clarita): “All Americans want to see our troops leave Afghanistan as soon as possible after successfully completing their mission, but we want that redeployment to be based on the events and conditions on the ground — not the Washington political clock. Setting a date certain to begin withdrawing U.S. forces risks undermining the very mission the president endorsed.” But McKeon, the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, applauded Obama for ordering a troop increase. He said he hoped Obama would travel throughout the country to rally the public behind his strategy.

Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach): “I’m in favor of an Afghan approach. Not an American or European approach. As long as we have U.S. or NATO combat troops there, this strategy will not work and if given the opportunity, I will vote against funding for the current additional troop request.”

Pete Stark (D-Fremont): “Lasting peace can only come through a diplomatic solution.” He called the announcement a “great disappointment.” Maxine Waters

Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles): “I cannot support a continued policy of waste and open-ended spending in Afghanistan, especially given the severe economic challenges we must confront within our own country.” However, Waters also said that Obama “at least spoke of an exit strategy ... but he did not provide sufficient details on how we would achieve our goals and be able to withdraw from Afghanistan.”

-- Richard Simon

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Photos, from top: President Obama at West Point. Credit: Associated Press; Darrell Issa. Credit: Associated Press; Howard "Buck" McKeon. Credit: Getty Images; Maxine Waters. Credit: Bloomberg


Comments () | Archives (2)

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We need a VICTORY strategy before we need and exit strategy. Our President didn't use the word VICTORY at all in his speech.
Interesting that Maxine, who waste and spends a LOT of our dollars is against spending in Afghanistan.

Darrell Issa, you are a great Congressman.We all appreciate you, even living in Arizona.

We can do this "Winning in Afghanistan". President George HW Bush declared Kuwait a free nation from the tyranny of Saddam. I believe that Afghan people deserve rights for a free country too.

We need to support the women and widows of Afghanistan.Help build their economy giving small loans & a chance to prosper. Check out

Dollars are never wasted on a democracy anywhere in the world.Peace will follow. Dollars are wasted however when certain politicians and Obama included include earmarks within Defense spending budgets. Porks and Pigs is disgusting.

Since we do not have money, as the financial sectors pay us back, reinvest that money into economies in Afghanistan and invest in the women.........They wont let us down.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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