- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 1, 2009

UPDATED:

Rep. Jason Chaffetz is breaking with Republican leaders, saying Tuesday the United States should leave Afghanistan instead of sending thousands more soldiers.

“It’s time to bring home the troops. The job is done,” Mr. Chaffetz, Utah Republican, said hours before President Obama is expected to announce publicly the addition of roughly 30,000 more soldiers.

Mr. Chaffetz said his top reasons are that U.S. generals in Afghanistan say the buildup is too small and that al Qaeda members have scattered to other countries.

“If you are going to go to war, go with everything you have,” Mr. Chaffetz, a first-term congressman, said on The Washington Times’ “America’s Morning News” radio show. “Don’t cut the cake in the middle.”

He said his position does not admit failure in Afghanistan. It validates that troops have succeeded in eradicating the terror network in Afghanistan.

Mr. Chaffetz is not alone among Republicans in calling for a complete withdrawal.

Rep. Timothy V. Johnson, Illinois Republican, on Sunday said U.S. troops should leave immediately.

“The war is becoming increasingly deadly to our troops and to the people of Afghanistan, increasingly costly to the taxpaying public and increasingly futile,” he said in a press release. “I am opposed to our troops being mired in an endless war trying to achieve an end with no definition.”

Mr. Chaffetz said his position about terrorists in Afghanistan is based on an assessment by retired Gen. James L. Jones, Mr. Obama’s national security adviser, that al Qaeda has no more than 100 members in Afghanistan and no bases.

“Iran and Pakistan are the major, major threats,” Mr. Chaffetz said.

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