“A letter Wednesday [June 15, 2011] from 27 senators to [President] Obama called for revising the Afghanistan mission, starting with a ‘significant and sizable’ reduction in U.S. forces there beginning in July. ‘According to our own intelligence officials, al Qaeda no longer has a large presence in Afghanistan, and, as the strike against bin Laden demonstrated, we have the capacity to confront our terrorist enemies with a dramatically smaller footprint,’ said the letter signed by 24 Democrats, two Republicans and one independent who caucuses with the Democrats. ‘The costs of prolonging the war far outweigh the benefits. It is time for the United States to shift course in Afghanistan.’ It urged Obama ‘to follow through on the pledge you made to the American people to begin the redeployment of U.S. forces from Afghanistan this summer, and to do so in a manner that is sizable and sustained, and includes combat troops as well as logistical and support forces.’ ”

 – Charlie Keyes, “Gates, Mullen Say U.S. Must Work with Pakistan Despite Rocky Road,” CNN, June 16, 2011