Congressman Todd Platts, R-York County, said he was somewhat concerned that President Obama set a timeline for withdrawing the Afghanistan troop surge, saying it might "encourage the enemy to wait us out."

Still, Platts said his concern was tempered because Obama said troop removal would be contingent upon "conditions on the ground."

Overall, Platts said the president did a good job Tuesday night of justifying the war in Afghanistan, namely "that it is truly in the interests of our nation's security and the safety of our nation's citizens," he said.

Platts said he also understood why Obama imposed a deadline, because it tells the Afghan government that it must take responsibility in ensuring its country's safety.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., agreed on that point, saying in a statement, "Our renewed commitment also needs an equal, if not greater, commitment from the Afghan government. Ultimately, the responsibility of defeating this unpopular insurgency lies with the Afghan government and its efforts to build up its army and police."

U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa.


, opposed sending an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, asking, "If Al Qaeda can operate out of Yemen or Somalia, why fight in Afghanistan where no one has succeeded?"

Specter's opponent in the May primary for his Senate seat, Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak, supported Obama's strategy, saying in a statement, "The President has made the right call. If we leave Al Qaeda behind in a safe haven and are struck again, what can we ever say to those we swore to protect?"

Specter also took issue with the president's 18-month deadline, in a statement issued after the speech.

"I disagree with the President's two key assumptions: that we can transfer responsibility to Afghanistan after 18 months and that our NATO allies will make a significant contribution," Specter said. "It is unrealistic to expect the United States to be out in 18 months so there is really no exit strategy. This venture is not worth so many American lives or the billions it will add to our deficit."

Obama mentioned the economy in his speech, saying that, "Over the past several years, we . . . failed to appreciate the connection between our national security and our economy."

But West York resident Linda Shumaker, whose son, U.S. Army Sgt. Billy Lawver, is currently serving on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, said she did not believe the president needed to mention it.

"If we don't get the war straightened out, there isn't going to be any economy to straighten out," she said. "I think it took away from what the real speech was about, which was more troops for Afghanistan."

Shumaker, 62, said she supported the surge but also questioned the withdrawal deadline.

"What if they're not ready in 18 months?" she said. "I'm of the opinion that it's going to be several months longer than the 18."; 771-2033.