TODAY'S PAPER
40° Good Evening
40° Good Evening
NewsNation

House OKs $33B more for Afghan troop surge

WASHINGTON - The House Tuesday sent President Barack Obama a major war-funding increase of $33 billion to pay for his troop surge in Afghanistan, unmoved by the leaking of classified documents that portray a military effort struggling between 2004 and 2009 against a strengthening insurgency.

The House voted, 308-114, to approve the spending boost for the additional 30,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

From Obama on down, the disclosure of the documents was condemned anew by administration officials and military leaders, but the material failed to stir new anti-war sentiment.

The bad news for the White House: A pervasive weariness with the war was still there - and possibly growing.

At a Senate hearing on prospects for a political settlement of the Afghan conflict, there was scant mention of the leaked material, posted on the website WikiLeaks, but there were repeated expressions of frustration over the direction of the fighting.

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who has questioned the realism of U.S. goals in Afghanistan though he supports the war, asked why the Taliban, with fewer resources and smaller numbers, can field fighters who are more committed to winning than are Afghan soldiers. "What's going on here?" Kerry asked with exasperation.

Still, the House seemed ready to vote final approval for more than $33.5 billion for the additional 30,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan and to pay for other Pentagon operational expenses.

Republicans were strongly behind the major war spending, with opposition coming mostly from members of Obama's party who argued that the money could be better spent at home.

In his first public comments on the weekend leak of tens of thousands of documents, Obama said it could "potentially jeopardize individuals or operations" in Afghanistan. But he also said the papers did not reveal any concerns that were not already part of the war debate.

Obama said the shortcomings in Afghanistan as reflected in the leaked documents explain why, last year, he undertook an in-depth review of the war and developed a new strategy.

"We've substantially increased our commitment there, insisted upon greater accountability from our partners in Afghanistan and Pakistan, developed a new strategy that can work and put in place a team, including one of our finest generals, to execute that plan," Obama said. "Now we have to see that strategy through."

The leaked documents are battlefield reports compiled by various military units in Afghanistan that provide an unflinching view of combat operations between 2004 and 2009, including U.S. displeasure over reports that Pakistan secretly aided insurgents fighting American and Afghan forces.

Comments

We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

News Photos and Videos