Barack Obama said President Bush isn't acting fast or forcefully enough to get more U.S. forces into Afghanistan and out of Iraq.
Bush “is tinkering around the edges and kicking the can down the road to the next president” with his decision Tuesday to bring home only 8,000 combat and support troops from Iraq by February, the Democratic presidential candidate said.
Less than two hours after Bush announced the redeployment, Obama went before reporters during a campaign stop in this Midwestern battleground to respond.
“His plan comes up short: It is not enough troops, not enough resources, with not enough urgency,” Obama said. “The next president will inherit a status quo that is still unstable.”
Obama said Bush doesn't understand Afghanistan and Pakistan are the central front in the war on terrorism, not Iraq. He said his Republican White House rival, John McCain, doesn't get that, either.
Obama said if elected, he will remove troops from Iraq in a measured but methodical way and send more into Afghanistan. He recently proposed sending two brigades, about more 7,000 more troops, into Afghanistan, while withdrawing one or two brigades a month from Iraq.
Later, McCain issued a statement, saying Bush's announcement of troop withdrawals next year “demonstrates what success in our efforts there can look like,” and argued that it “stands in clear contrast to the reckless approach long advocated by Senator Obama.”
McCain also backed additional forces in Afghanistan, and said, “Sen. Obama believes we must lose in Iraq to win in Afghanistan.”