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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Back from Afghanistan, LeMieux disagrees Obama is 'dithering'



U.S. Sen. George LeMieux returned this morning from a trip to Afghanistan where he was taken aback by the rough, unfriendly terrain and left convinced that a troop surge is necessary. "It's a very formidable landscape," he said.

LeMieux, who sits on the Armed Services Committee, said he met with Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal and had two questions: Has a previous troop increase Obama approved made a difference and do you still need more troops? "And the answer to both questions was yes."

But while LeMieux supports the move, he disagrees with former Vice President Dick Cheney, who accused the administration of "dithering" on the war and endangering troops. "I don't agree with that. The president is making a very important decision. Now I think he needs to make it soon ... but right now, I understand he's in a very difficult position. ... That is the most extraordinary thing a president can do, is put soldiers in harm's way."

LeMieux said he met with service men and women from Florida and found them "upbeat."

"They are upbeat for two reasons. They like this new strategy that Gen. McCrystal is putting into place. They feel he is a strong leader ... they understand that going and killing the bad guys and coming back to the base at night is a strategy that does not work."


[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 2:24pm]


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