US lawmakers, experts react to Trump’s Afghan plan with skepticism

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NEW YORK, Aug 22 (APP): US President Donald Trump’s prime-time speech
on his plan for Afghanistan came under sharp criticism from Democrats and some experts, saying it moves away from arbitrary deadlines for drawing
down troops.
“Tonight, the President said he knew what he was getting into and had
a plan to go forward. Clearly, he did not,” House of Representative
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. “The President’s announcement is low on details but raises serious questions.”
At UN Headquarters in New York, a spokesman for UN Secretary-General
Antonio Guterres, asked for comments on the Trump’s plan, expressed
the hope that the international community would come together and help Afghanistan find a political solution that would bring peace to the
country, and this also obviously through the efforts of the UN mission there.
New York Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said Trump’s speech
was “terribly lacking” in details, substance and “a vision of what success in Afghanistan looks like.”
And Congressman Ruben Gallego, an Arizona Democrat and Marine Corps
veteran, accused Trump of “repeating the mistakes of previous administrations.”
“Tonight, the American people should have heard a detailed, realistic
strategy with achievable objectives and measurable benchmarks,” Gallego said. “Instead, we got only vague promises and wishful thinking.”
In his speech Monday evening, Trump said the US would be victorious
in Afghanistan while focusing on defeating the terrorists as opposed to nation-building. He declared his administration would not talk about
troop levels in order to keep the enemy in the dark, a frequent refrain during his campaign.
The president’s plan also did not please all Republicans, though Rep
Justin Amash of Michigan tweeted that Mr Trump “bowed to the military industrial establishment” and “doubled down on perpetual war.”
Similarly, Breitbart, a conservative now under the helm of ousted
White House strategist Steve Bannon, ran a story saying that Trump’s “‘America First’ base was the biggest loser of Trump’s speech on
Afghanistan Monday night.” It continued, “Many quickly expressed their disappointment at the business-as-usual address from the president who
had once promised to limit American intervention abroad and focus on nation-building at home.”
Democrats, who have pushed for a new authorization for the use of
military force, like Congresswoman Barbara Lee of California and Senator
Tim Kaine of Virginia, used the opportunity to lobby for a new one again.
“I am deeply troubled by President Trump’s failure to outline a
comprehensive strategy to bring an end to our nation’s longest war,” Ms.
Lee said. “At a minimum, Congress should debate and vote on a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force before we commit to another surge that will keep our troops in Afghanistan for years to come and cost billions more in spending.”
Kaine agreed that it should be up to lawmakers to “define the U.S.
mission” overseas and update the 2001 AUMF. He also suggested that Trump’s plan is similar to the one carried out by the Obama administration.
“The President broadly outlined a vision tonight, similar to past
efforts, and we’ll now need to hear specific details from our diplomatic
and military leadership to ensure any strategy is comprehensive and will help achieve the aim of ensuring Afghanistan does not become a breeding ground – as it once was – for terrorists that seek to harm us and our allies,” he said.