WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), today made the following statement after President Obama took a surprise trip to Afghanistan on the one-year anniversary of the death of Osama bin Laden:
“Our troops on the front lines always appreciate a visit from the Commander-in-Chief. Obama’s last visit was in December 2010, and the last time he addressed the nation about Afghanistan was June 2011. Clearly this trip is campaign related. We’ve seen recently that President Obama has visited college campuses in an attempt to win back the support of that age group since he has lost it over the last three years. Similarly, this trip to Afghanistan is an attempt to shore up his national security credentials, because he has spent the past three years gutting our military. He cut the F-22, future combat system, C-17, and our ground-based interceptor in Poland to name a few. On top of that, he has tried to close GITMO – the very source of some of our intelligence that resulted in bin Laden’s demise.
“In 2008, he campaigned on Afghanistan being the war we should focus on. However, under his leadership, support for the war in Afghanistan is at an all time low because he has refused to articulate the value and importance of the work our troops are doing there. Unfortunately, this President has allowed Washington and campaign politics to dictate his strategy in Afghanistan rather than the conditions on the ground. We saw this when he failed to provide the troops the commanders needed during the surge, and again when he brought troops home during the height of fighting season.
“I was just in Afghanistan two weeks ago, and it is clear that the gains made are fragile. The security improvements and the killing of Osama bin Laden a year ago are great American victories that should not be politicized. Achieving our objective in the long term depends on several factors. We must eliminate the remaining Taliban strongholds, stabilize and increase security gains, and ensure the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) are sized, trained and equipped to provide long-term security in Afghanistan. The Strategic Partnership Agreement between the United States and Afghanistan that President Obama just signed is an important step, but getting the details of that agreement right will be vital to success.”