Begich Statement on President’s Afghanistan Plan
U.S. Sen. Mark Begich issued the following statement in reaction to President Obama's address to the nation Dec. 1 on his proposed new strategy for U.S. involvement in Afghanistan:
"The American public needs no reminder of why the U.S. must have a military presence in Afghanistan right now - to eliminate the threat of al-Qaida launching more deadly attacks on our nation and our world. I have long supported this goal.
"Tonight the President laid out a well considered plan for defeating terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan. His plan is comprehensive, it calls on larger contributions by other nations with a stake in the region and it is designed to restore the confidence of the Afghan people in their government. I am heartened the President's plan includes benchmarks for progress and most importantly, an exit strategy. I commend the President for thoroughly evaluating all his options and listening to the advice of his senior military and civilian leaders.
"Alaskans have a personal stake in Afghanistan because 4,000 of our Alaska-based service members are serving there in harm's way today, with more Alaska soldiers to be deployed in the near future. As more young Americans are sent to the front lines, I'll do everything within my power to make sure they have the resources, equipment and right strategy they need to get the job done.
"That starts tomorrow when Secretaries Hillary Clinton and Robert Gates and Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, brief the Senate Armed Services Committee and answer questions from me and other senators."