Area Lawmakers Respond to President's Announcement of Troop Withdrawal

June 23, 2011 Updated Jun 23, 2011 at 1:36 PM EDT

By WKBW News


Area Lawmakers Respond to President's Announcement of Troop Withdrawal

June 23, 2011 Updated Jun 23, 2011 at 1:36 PM EDT

Washington D.C. (WKBW/ABC News) -- A pair of New York lawmakers issued statements Wednesday night in response to President Barack Obama's announcement that he was ordering the withdrawal of 33,000 troops from Afghanistan by the summer of 2012.

Congressmembers Louise M. Slaughter and Brian Higgins offered their comments following Obama's address to the nation in which he called the withdrawals "the beginning, but not the end, of our effort to wind down this war."

Slaughter's statement reads:

“Osama Bin Laden is dead thanks to several brave Navy Seals and the information gathered by intelligence community and intelligence is exactly what we need more of. There’s no need to continue rebuilding a foreign country. What we need to do is rebuild America. We cannot ask American taxpayers to spend $10 billion a month to build Afghanistan while our own nation continues to crumble.

“In 2003 we spent $14.3 billion to carry out the war in Afghanistan. Today, we spend almost that much in a single month. In short, we can’t afford this war. It has already cost us far too much in American lives, the most valuable treasure of all. It’s time to bring our men and women in uniform home and quickly.”

Higgins' statement said:

“During trips to Afghanistan, including one as recent as last December, I was able to observe first-hand the conditions, political climate and situational realities in the region. With each and every encounter, the most impressive and inspiring work was that of the American military.

“While the news of a substantial drawdown in troops is welcome, I would prefer a timetable measured in months, not years, with complete withdrawal by the end of 2012. With the capture of Osama Bin Laden and the disruption of al Qaeda we have accomplished our stated rationale for going to war and now we should be bringing our men and women home.

“Nearly 10 years after the start of U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan, this nation has paid dearly – 11,000 Americans wounded and more than 1,600 of our bravest making the ultimate sacrifice. A decade later, following significant costs in lives and resources we remain without reliable partners in this effort and I am not convinced a liberal democracy will blossom in the next couple years.

“The financial burden of maintaining this presence has now reached a cost of over $800 billion. At a time when the need for nation building right here at home is increasingly urgent, we need to focus on dedicating that money to creating jobs here in Western New York and across the U.S.”