President Biden's decision to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11 — the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks — prompted a split on Capitol Hill among both Republicans and Democrats, creating some strange bedfellows over what to do about America's longest war.
Many Republicans slammed the decision as premature, but other GOP lawmakers cheered US troops finally coming home. Most Democrats said they supported Biden's desire to finally wind down the longest war in US history, but some said they were concerned about losing hard-fought gains in Afghanistan.
What some Republicans are saying:
Republican hawks responded with swift condemnation.
"Precipitously withdrawing US forces from Afghanistan is a grave mistake. It is retreat in the face of an enemy that has not yet been vanquished and abdication of American leadership," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican. "Leaders in both parties, including me, offered criticism when the prior administration floated the concept of a reckless withdrawal from Syria and Afghanistan."
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, another hawk who repeatedly criticized the Obama administration's withdrawal from Iraq and drawdowns in Afghanistan, said a full withdrawal was "dumber than dirt and devilishly dangerous."
"President Biden will have, in essence, canceled an insurance policy against another 9/11," Graham said.
And Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said it was "outrageous" and had no justification.
But some Republicans who have joined McConnell in attacking Biden on multiple fronts had a different view -- even beyond libertarians like Sen. Rand Paul, the Kentucky Republican who fought his GOP colleagues while he pushed Trump to remove US troops from the Middle East.
Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, said Tuesday he was "glad the troops are coming home."
What some Democrats are saying:
On the Democratic side, there was plenty of praise for Biden's decision from lawmakers long skeptical of an extended US presence in the Middle East.
"For nearly 20 years, we have adopted a costly war-based approach to national security and counterterrorism policy with no clear endgame," said Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat. "While our withdrawal comes years late, President Biden recognizes the reality that our continued presence there does not make the US or the world safer."
But some Democrats said they had concerns about prematurely withdrawing from the country and losing the gains that had been made, particularly when it comes to women's rights in Afghanistan.
Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and is a longtime advocate of Afghan women's rights, said on Twitter Tuesday she was "very disappointed in @POTUS' decision to set a Sept. deadline to walk away from Afghanistan."
"Although this decision was made in coordination w/our allies, the U.S. has sacrificed too much to bring stability to Afghanistan to leave w/o verifiable assurances of a secure future," the New Hampshire senator wrote. "It undermines our commitment to the Afghan people, particularly Afghan women."
Top national security Democrats said they supported the decision, but they acknowledged the risks it carried.
Senate Foreign Relations Chair Bob Menendez of New Jersey, told reporters Tuesday he wants to get troops home after a very long war, but is worried "we don't lose what we were seeking to achieve."