After the U.S. strategy on Afghanistan was outlined in a speech on Tuesday night, Obama's blueprint faced tough questions from Congress on Wednesday. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill sharply criticized Obama's plan to start a U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in July 2011.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee to testify and take questions as they try to promote the plan to Congress. Later in the day, the trio also appeared before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Congressional hearings are used to evaluate or explore a topic, providing testimony and research about current issues.