Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), chairman of the Armed Services Committee and the top Senate Democrat on military issues, will give a floor speech today urging the president to hold off on sending more U.S. troops to the war in Afghanistan, and instead focus on strengthening the Afghan army and police force.
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Here's the full text of his speech as prepared for delivery, released by his office:
Today we mark a solemn anniversary. Eight years ago this morning, our nation was attacked by terrorist extremists motivated by hatred and bent on destruction. It is always appropriate to remember the shock of that day, the innocent lives lost, and the efforts our nation has made since that day to ensure that Afghanistan, the nation that hosted those terrorists, cannot again become a safe haven for terrorists seeking to attack us. But today is an especially appropriate occasion to take stock of those efforts, and consider how best to continue them.
I recently returned from a trip to Afghanistan, where I was joined by my colleagues Senators Jack Reed and Ted Kaufman. The situation in Afghanistan is serious. Security has deteriorated. But if we take the right steps, we can ensure that Afghanistan does not revert to a Taliban-friendly government that could once again provide a safe haven for al Qaeda to terrorize us and the world.
The Obama administration's new strategy, focusing on securing the Afghan population's safety and partnering with the Afghan security forces in that effort, is an important start at reversing the situation in Afghanistan. The change in strategy has led our forces, in the words of General McChrystal's Counterinsurgency Guidance, to "live, eat and train together [with the Afghan security forces], plan and operate together, depend on one another, and hold each other accountable....and treat them as equal partners in success." The Guidance goes on to say that the success of the Afghan security forces "is our goal."