Critics speak out
On Monday, a bipartisan group of eight lawmakers similarly said the death of bin Laden "requires us to examine our policy of nation building in Afghanistan."
"We believe it is no longer the best way to defend America against terror attacks, and we urge you to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan that are not crucial to the immediate national security objective of combating Al Qaeda,” wrote the congressmen, led by Reps. Peter Walsh (D) of Vermont and Jason Chaffetz (R) of Utah.
In a time of economic crisis, a strategy that relies more heavily on special-forces operations may offer more return on what is currently a tremendous investment, both in money and in political will, says retired Marine Col. T.X. Hammes, a senior research fellow with the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University.
“We said we got into this war to get Al Qaeda guys,” he says. But as their ranks in Afghanistan diminish and the costs of the war escalate, “it’s getting harder and harder to argue that,” and in turn, to justify continued US troop presence on the ground, he adds.