Three lawmakers, including a now perennial anti-war Republican, penned a letter to the White House on Wednesday evening, formally opposing the president's troop increase in Afghanistan.
Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI), alongside Reps. Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Walter Jones (R-NC) expressed their opposition to a strategy in which "American lives should be risked to support an illegitimate, corrupt government fighting what is largely a civil war."
Sending more troops to Afghanistan is unlikely to help, and could hurt, our efforts to address Al Qaeda's safe haven in Pakistan. Moreover, al Qaeda and its affiliates are located in Yemen, Somalia, North Africa and other places around the world. Rather than investing so many of our resources in Afghanistan, we should pursue a comprehensive, global counter-terrorism strategy.
We are concerned that the military objectives your administration has identified may not be achievable and that a troop build-up could be counterproductive.
There is a serious danger that the ongoing, large-scale U.S. military presence will continue to provoke greater militancy in the region and further destabilize both Afghanistan and nuclear-armed Pakistan. The pursuit of unrealistic nation-building goals is making it harder to isolate members of al Qaeda from those who do not have an international terrorist agenda.
The bipartisan trio goes on to list several other provisions of a troop-buildup that they find counter-intuitive to U.S. foreign interests. Among them that U.S. troops will incite an even more violent insurgency in Afghanistan, and that such additional violence would lead to greater instability in Pakistan. The group also insist that the Obama administration is engaged in "the pursuit of unrealistic nation-building" - a characterization to which the president and his advisers would strenuously object.
The group, finally, foreshadows a battle in Congress over funding for the war, requesting that the "president" not send any additional troops to Afghanistan until Congress has enacted appropriations to pay for the cost of such an increase.
All told, the letter spans the spectrum of early objections to the proposed Afghan surge - objections that will undoubtedly become staples of the debate in the weeks and months ahead.
Jones' name on the letter adds a bit of bi-partisan credence. But the North Carolina Republican has -- since coining the term Freedom Fries in the early months of the war on terror - grown increasingly critical of U.S. military entanglements in the Middle East.