Reaction to President Obama's speech
"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."
Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson
"I have always believed that a troop withdrawal plan based not on progress toward 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."
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio
"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."
Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor
"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.
Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami
"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. Steve Southerland, R-Panama City
Source: Times staff writer Alex Leary