Verbatim, as delivered
December 10, 2009
Chairman Berman’s opening remarks at Hearing, “
Last week, the Committee heard from
Secretary Clinton, Secretary Gates, and Admiral Mullen, three of the
President’s top national security advisors.
They did an excellent job in making the Administration’s case for the
new strategy in
Today, we welcome the top American
officials on the ground in
The President and his team have made it very clear that our efforts to degrade the Taliban and defeat al Qaeda cannot stop at the Durand Line. Indeed, nearly all of the jihadi groups operating in Pakistan and Afghanistan – al Qaeda, the Pakistani Taliban, the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani network, LET, and others – have joined together in an extended terrorist network that shares the same goals, including destabilizing Afghanistan and destroying the Pakistani state.
Fortunately, there appears to be a growing recognition in Pakistan that it is impossible to differentiate between different terrorist groups, and that the same people killing American, international and Afghan troops are now arming suicide bombers in the streets and markets of Pakistan and killing Pakistani civilians.
We sympathize with the plight of the Pakistani people, who have suffered great losses from the growing number of terrorist attacks in that country. As reflected in the legislation recently passed by Congress, we are committed to doing what we can to improve their economic and physical security.
As all of our witnesses emphasized in
last week’s hearing, the President’s military strategy in
To that end, Ambassador Eikenberry,
will you have enough capable civilians on the ground to help strengthen
governance, build rule of law, and promote economic enterprise? Will these civilians have sufficient
knowledge in these areas to be effective?
Will they have sufficient experience operating in dangerous environments
With regard to the military
strategy, I am curious: One of the keys to our success in
Finally, General McChrystal, will 30,000 troops – even with an additional 7,000 apparently pledged by other nations – be sufficient to break the Taliban’s momentum? Can we meet the President’s objective of degrading the Taliban by focusing primarily on the South when the Taliban is already operating in the North? What types of soldiers – trainers, civil affairs, infantry – will comprise this 30,000 increase?
Now I’m pleased to turn to the Ranking Member, Ms. Ros-Lehtinen, for any opening remarks she would like to make. And following that, we will proceed immediately to the testimony of our distinguished witnesses.