Fox Misses The Military Leaders Who Recommended Afghanistan Drawdown

››› ››› THOMAS BISHOP

Fox News host Brian Kilmeade asserted that military leaders would not endorse President Obama's plan to draw down troops in Afghanistan from the more than 30,000 currently in the country, but top military leaders and intelligence experts recommended the drawdown.

President Obama Announces Plan To Draw Down Forces In Afghanistan

Politico: Obama Releases Plan To Reduce Troop Levels In Afghanistan After 2014 . On May 27 Obama released his plan looking to draw down the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan after 2014:

The president's plan will call for reducing the remaining 9,800 troop number by "roughly half," by the end of next year and consolidating that presence in the capital city of Kabul and the Bagram Air Field, where Obama made his visit Sunday.

By 2016, Obama would then continue the drawdown to what the official called "a normal embassy presence" plus a security assistance office in Kabul, following the model that Obama has put in place in Iraq.
[Politico, 5/27/14]

Fox News Host Claims Military Leaders Won't Endorse Drawdown Plan

Kilmeade: "I Don't See Any Military Leader Endorsing" Obama's Troop Drawdown. During a May 28 discussion with Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) about President Obama's planned announcement that the United States would leave nearly 10,000 troops in Afghanistan through 2016, Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade claimed military leaders would not endorse the withdrawal plan. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 5/28/14]

Military Leaders Recommended Afghanistan Drawdown

State Department And Military Leaders Recommended Decreased Military Presence In Post-2014 Afghanistan. A January 22 Stars And Stripes article reported the "US military wants 10,000 troops or none in post-2014 Afghanistan":

"The intelligence community, the State Department and military leaders believe that that's about the right number to do the sorts of things we believe need to be done after 2014," a U.S. government official familiar with the discussions told Stars and Stripes, speaking on the condition of anonymity. [Stars and Stripes1/22/14]

Marine Commander In Afghanistan Asked For 10,000 Troops To Stay In Afghanistan Until 2017. In January 2014 Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., commander of International forces in Afghanistan recommended ten thousand troops in Afghanistan.

Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., who commands all international forces in Afghanistan, is recommending that U.S. troops stay to help train Afghan forces and conduct counter-terrorism operations against Taliban insurgents and Al Qaeda-linked militants. All other U.S. troops will be withdrawn this year.

To make the deployment more attractive to a skeptical White House, Dunford says the 10,000 should pull out by 2017, when Obama leaves office, according to two officials, who confirmed a Wall Street Journal report. The Pentagon previously had favored deploying the troops for a decade. [Los Angeles Times1/24/14]

Former Defense Secretary Panetta Suggested Only 8,000 To 12,000 US Troops Should Remain Beyond 2014. A May 27 article in USA Today reported that Obama's troop drawdown proposal was based on suggestions by experts and assessments made by former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

Obama split the difference on what many experts on the region had suggested. Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has urged that 8,000 to 12,000 U.S. troops remain beyond 2014. [USA Today5/27/14]

Gen. Martin Dempsey: "Military Leaders In The Region Were Relieved At The Decision." In a report released by the American Forces Press Service General Dempsey explained:

Military leaders in the region were relieved at the decision. Dempsey called Afghan Gen. Sher Mohammed Karimi, the chief of defense, with the news this morning.

"When I spoke to him and informed him of the president's decision to provide Operation Resolute Support with approximately 9,800 U.S. service members in a regional construct, he said 'Thank God,'" Dempsey said.

Dempsey said he told Karimi that he was pleased to hear him answer that way. "He said to me, 'We're very happy with that. That certainty will allow us to continue our transition, and we deeply appreciate what America's sons and daughters have done for us over the years,'" Dempsey said. [Department of Defense, 5/27/14]

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