Lee: Focus on Counterrorism in Afghanistan, Draw Down Troops

(KCPW News) Freshman Utah Senator Mike Lee isn’t aggressively calling for U.S. troops to be withdrawn from Afghanistan, like Congressman Jason Chaffetz, but the Republican does want to see a shift in the war’s focus, and that means less of them. Lee told reporters yesterday it’s time to look at ramping up counterterrorism through special operations.

“Focusing on counterterrorism would allow us to undertake a very substantial troop drawdown process,” said Lee. “I do think that’s where we’re headed, and that’s certainly where I’m inclined to go.”

Lee said the mission has to be focused on protecting U.S. national security, so the strategy can’t be cut and run.

“And so that’s why I say perhaps we ought to look at drawing down our troop levels so as to rely more heavily, almost exclusively on a counterterrorism effort that would rely principally on special operations,”

Regarding Osama bin Laden’s death, however, Lee expects it will only have a subtle effect on what Congress thinks about the Afghanistan strategy. Instead, he thinks the larger factor is how long the war has been going on, and how much it’s contributed to the national debt.