State delegation hopeful, cautious about troops' exit

By Joe Rutherford/NEMS Daily Journal

Northeast Mississippi’s congressional delegation on Thursday had somewhat differing views on President Barack Obama’s Wednesday night announcement of troop drawdowns from Afghanistan.
All three – Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker, and Rep. Alan Nunnelee, are Republicans.
Cochran, senior member of the Mississippi delegation and vice chairman of Senate Appropriations, said, “I think we should be hopeful that we are now going to be able to withdraw troops from Afghanistan” without encouraging anyone that we will not do what’s necessary to control terrorism.
“I like the idea of no troops in Afghanistan,” Cochran said. Bringing the war to conclusion, he added, “will help a great deal on the budget.”
Wicker, a Tupeloan, is expected to seek his first full term in 2012. He said in a release from his Washington office, “The pace of any drawdown in troops must ensure the Afghan people, the U.S., and our coalition partners will not lose any ground … The president should listen to our generals in Afghanistan who were responsible for directing the surge.”
Wicker said the U.S. abandoned Afghanistan in the 1980s and 90s, leading to the “failed state” that led to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Nunnelee, also a Tupeloan, serving his first term, said, “I hope President Obama’s decision was based on sound evidence … We all want our troops home as soon as possible,” and cautioned we must not jeopardize success there.
Contact Joe Rutherford at (662) 678-1597 or joe.rutherford@journalinc.com.