With fighting approaching its ninth year and operations against insurgents entering a new phase, Republicans in Congress today launched a new effort to reform U.S. policy on Afghanistan.
“It’s time to start over with a clean occupation plan,” said Senator Mitch McConnell, the minority leader.
“The American people don’t want the president’s costly, complicated plan. What we need is to find what Republicans and defense contractors agree on and proceed step by step, in a bipartisan fashion,” McConnell said.
Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee also stated the need for cooperation. “Now see here, I, I say, instead of trying to strike di-rectly at Taliban insurgents, we should go step by step, boy, stopping to re-view each move in a series of committee hearings. It’s time to reset the number of tours our troops have served in Afghanistan to ze-ro, and start over with a clean occupation plan, I do de-clare.”
In the House, GOP whip Eric Cantor likened President Obama’s Afghanistan policy to a strategy game he tried to learn when he was a quiet, science-fiction loving teenager in Richmond, Virginia. “What we have now is like that game Risk. Infantry, cavalry and artillery, routes and territories — it’s way too complicated.”
“It’s time to clear the board and throw all the cards and gamepieces on the floor — start over by rolling the dice and going step by step with a clean occupation plan,” Cantor said.
In a related story, House minority leader John Boehner attacked the White House’s proposal to seek out defense waste and fraud using a network of undercover citizen investigators, posing as arms buyers. Boehner called the idea “a government takeover of the military.”
“The American people like the Blackwater they have and want to keep it. What the people want is to control costs, and to do that we need more private, market-based solutions for defense,” said the Ohio lawmaker. Citing tort reform as an example of a way to lower the cost of frivolous lawsuits against firms whose employees rape fellow employees, Boehner announced plans to lead a fact finding mission to Iraq. “I hear the tanning there is excellent,” he said.