When it means leaving 50,000 troops in Iraq to train and fight.
President Obama has invited members of Congress to the White House for a meeting later this afternoon to discuss his plans for drawing down troops in Iraq – a plan that has already drawn stiff criticism from his Democratic allies.
After Speaker Nancy Pelosi complained that the level of troops – 50,000 – who would remain in Iraq is too high, other senior Democrats voiced similar concerns on Thursday. Among Democratic leaders, only Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois is defending the new Obama plan, which will take three months longer than he promised and still leave a significant force structure on the ground.
“I’m happy to listen to the secretary of defense and the president, but when they talk about 50,000, that’s a little higher number than I had anticipated,” Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said.
“It has to be done responsibly, we all agree, but 50,000 is more than I would have thought, and we await the justification,” said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).
“I do think we have to look carefully at the numbers that are there and do it as quickly as we can,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.).
Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.) issued a statement saying he was “concerned” about the level of troops that would remain in Iraq.
It’s not just a “little higher number” than most Americans want. It is a lot higher. President Barack Obama should bring home all of America’s troops from Iraq. If he doesn’t, Democratic officials and peace activists need to make their views known to him just as vigorously as they did to President George W. Bush when he was launching and escalating the war. Congressional Democrats certainly shouldn’t be bought off by a little sweet talk in the Oval Office.