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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida reacts to Obama's Afghanistan speech



Florida reaction to President Obama's speech on Afghanistan:

Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami: “I applaud President Obama for fulfilling his promise of beginning a drawdown of troops this year. I only wish we could accelerate the process. The War in Afghanistan is the longest war in U.S. history and has cost us too many lives and immeasurable resources. Our men and women in uniform have fought valiantly and their families have sacrificed tremendously, but after a decade of fighting, it is time to bring our troops home once and for all.”

Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson: “It’s time to start bringing our troops home. ... I agree that we shouldn’t take all of our troops out all at once. We’ve come this far and we have to know that Afghanistan will have some ability to stabilize themselves and to prevent terrorists from taking over there again.”

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio: “After a decade of fighting, the American people are weary of war. Facing massive unemployment and a growing national debt, they are weary of the effort’s cost. So am I. But the answer to a bad situation is not to make it worse. And I have always believed that a troop withdrawal plan based not on progress towards our ultimate goal, but rather on a desire to hit certain numbers, would be a tragic mistake. Yes, American troops need to leave Afghanistan, but they should do so pursuant to a plan that accomplishes our vital goal. I hope that in the days to come, the President will more clearly articulate how his troop withdrawal plan does that.”

Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Panama City: "I encourage the President to consult with the generals and military leaders who understand the challenges and opportunities on the ground better than anyone.  Quite simply, we must get this decision right for every American citizen, both now and for generations to come. We must ensure that our withdrawal from Afghanistan does not reverse the strategic gains that American forces have fought so hard to achieve.”

Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor: “We are making a difference in Afghanistan, and I believe that we are on track for a successful transition to Afghanistan control, but we must continue to make progress – the kind of progress that allowed us to kill Osama Bin laden and weaken al Qaeda and the Taliban – and not take steps backward. Having been to Afghanistan, I have seen the advancements being made and I trust our Generals to tell us when the timing is right for a troop drawdown.”

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 22, 2011 9:38pm]


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