Alexander Says Obama and Congress Should Speak With One Voice on Afghanistan

Tells Defense Secretary Gates That President Should Present Strategy So Congress Can Say, “Yes, We Agree With You”

Posted on April 30, 2009

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, today told Defense Secretary Robert Gates in a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee that President Obama needs to “present his strategy for Afghanistan and for there to be some sort of expression of support for it in the Congress. “It would be a more effective message to our enemies and in support of our troops if we made sure that the war in Afghanistan doesn’t become President Obama’s war in the same way that Iraq became President Bush’s war,” Alexander told Secretary Gates. “One way to make sure that does not happen would be for the president to take his time to develop a strategy and bring it to Congress so we can vote on it and say, ‘yes, we agree with you.’ We want our enemies to know that and we want our troops to know that.” Alexander said that the failure of Congress and President Bush to agree on a strategy to complete our mission in Iraq should be a lesson for Afghanistan. Alexander co-authored bipartisan legislation in the 109th Congress calling for U.S. policy in Iraq to follow the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group Report to bring a responsible conclusion to the war.