WNY lawmakers Friday issued statements in response to President Barack Obama's announcement that U.S. troops will fully withdraw from Iraq by the end of the year.
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's statement reads:
“I commend President Obama for responsibly ending the war in Iraq and bringing our troops home. But we must also re-focus on our national security interests in Afghanistan and bring our combat troops from there as well after a full decade at war.
“Drawing down the war in Afghanistan with just 10,000 combat troops coming home this year is not fast enough. As I have advocated throughout this year, it is time to shift course in Afghanistan to a counter-terrorism mission with an aggressive drawdown of combat troops. In the decade since the start of this war, al-Qaeda has metastasized, expanding and strengthening its influence across the globe, and our most imminent threat in the past few years does not stem from Afghanistan.
“It is time for leaders in Afghanistan to take responsibility for their security, and the United States needs to adjust the fight against terrorism to the most current threat environment.”
U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter issued a statement that reads:
“One of the longest wars in American history is finally over.
“America’s misadventure in Iraq has cost us $9 billion a month and taken the lives of 4,478 of our bravest men and women. It has left tens of thousands more with traumatic brain injuries, post traumatic stress disorder, and the new reality of life without use of a limb.
“We’ve asked our men and women in uniform to return to the battlefield tour after tour and they have consistently responded to the call bravely and without hesitation. Today, finally, we know that they will come home for good.”
U.S. Rep. Kathy Hochul issued a statement that reads:
“After eight years, over $700 billion dollars spent, and nearly 4,500 lives lost, our soldiers in Iraq are finally coming home. I thank each and every one of the brave men and women who have served our country, as well as all their families. Many risked, if not gave, their lives to protect America’s national security and support the Iraqi people as they work towards establishing a prosperous Iraq.
“With this withdrawal, nearly 40,000 soldiers will be returning home to their families to spend the holidays, including our troops from the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station.
“But now with the completion of our mission in Iraq, let us get back to our number one priority: putting the American people back to work.”