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Welcome back -- members of president Obama's administration up on Capitol Hill yesterday defending his decision to send an additional 30000 troops to Afghanistan.
And senators on both sides of the -- had a lot of questions like are we really gonna start pulling troops out.
In July of 2011.
-- right now is admiral Mike Mullen the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who weren't you sir.
-- -- Right I saw some of the some of the questions up on Capitol Hill yesterday and and the senators were very interested in this July 20 eleven.
And because some have suggested okay 2011 word just get start pulling out.
That is not what's going to happen that's the point of transition right.
No -- it is not gonna happen that we are withdraw or pull out at that particular point in time.
The president is committed an additional 30000 troops and will get.
Then bear over the next twelve months the vast majority of them by next summer.
And the key issue there is to be able to get them in place to reverse this insurgency the momentum that the insurgents had.
He's given us a target date of July 2011.
It's not an arbitrary date may actually will be the 3 July that the Marines will -- -- in the Belmont to start to turn around there.
Will know what that point in time how well things are going or how poorly things -- go.
And it is really at target date at which we will start to transition.
In transfer responsibility.
To the Afghan security forces.
Which is critical to this strategy.
Right okay so that's when the transition -- that's where -- -- all gonna sit down in a room and talk about is this working let's just say.
Best case scenario.
You most probably would say okay we can start bringing guys back but worst case scenario if the strategy is not working then one.
Well I think that part of the president's speech that the other night was we will reassess.
Give of pay a comprehensive reassessment of the strategy in about a year that we'll start to look at.
What we would do obviously over the next twelve months to include.
And I think the president certainly.
Can adjust their strategy.
At that point in time based on.
And he said this based on what would be a responsible draw down.
Or and a -- conditions based.
Draw down -- transition.
At that particular point in time.
Resort to target date and it's something we all recognize we've got shoot for it's also designed.
To give the Afghans an incentive and send a message have a sense of urgency that they need to take control.
Of their own destiny.
-- -- -- I think that's that's the key because you know the Americans are certainly in this to win this but the Afghans.
You you know as we learned the lesson from the Russians you know they were there for a long time it cost them billions of dollars and they eventually had to pull out.
It is it a question of the number of American troops and boots on the ground or is it being -- question of how many Afghan troops will be operational.
It at that transition point in July -- 2011.
That this strategy is designed to our focus on the people of Afghanistan.
And and give them the security that they need it in that regard biased.
Breathing room if you will to develop the Afghan security forces the army and the police so that they can then take the lead.
And we think over the next eighteen to 24 months -- -- by mid.
Will know definitely.
How this is work in one way or the other.
And admiral just one quick question and that is I read in one of the New York papers today that the Obama's speech.
Has boosted morale with they they talk to some -- up the -- Fort Hood at the tenth mountain division.
They are delighted.
That they are now energizing know exactly what they're marching orders are.
Do you get a -- back.
Absolutely and here we've had a very healthy debate.
Very comprehensive very thorough the president has now made a decision we have our orders the guidance is clear.
And we in the military are off to execute that.
-- -- Admiral it's always a pleasure thank you very much for joining us today from Washington thank you good to be with you -- thank you -- right.
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