Last Friday, 87 House members sent a letter to President Obama stating support for a plan to accelerate the end of combat operations in Afghanistan (as announced by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta earlier this month). The letter pointed out the growing support for an end to the war in Congress and the public:
The majority of Americans want a safe and orderly military withdrawal from Afghanistan as quickly as possible, as recent public opinion polls indicate. The desire by the American people for an accelerated transition in Afghanistan was reflected in votes taken in Congress last year, in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate during their respective debates on amendments offered by Representatives McGovern and Jones and by Senator Merkley to the FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Act. These votes show there is strong bipartisan political support to take bold steps regarding U.S. policy in Afghanistan.
The letter points out that many of the signers support a more rapid withdrawal than announced by Panetta. While we want to keep pushing for a quicker transition and more clarity around the plan, it is important that we reinforce this major step in the right direction. With pressure from the supporters of endless war in Afghanistan, the administration could be tempted to backtrack. This letter offers an important counterweight and gives the president political space to stand his ground and take even bolder steps to end the war.