President Obama announced withdrawal plans for the war in Afghanistan on June 22 – taking a step forward on the promise he made during the 2008 presidential campaign to end U.S. involvement in wars in the Middle East.

In his speech, Obama said that he would begin drawing down by the end of this year, leading up to the end of the U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan by 2014.

“Starting next month, we will be able to remove 10,000 of our troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year, and we will bring home a total of 33,000 troops by next summer…” Obama said. “After this initial reduction, our troops will continue to be coming home at a steady pace as Afghan security forces move into the lead. Our mission will change from combat to support. By 2014, this process of transition will be complete, and the Afghan people will be responsible for their own security.”

Obama also spoke of the need for America to refocus on domestic issues after spending $1 trillion on war. He said that it’s time for America to prioritize the things that will move the country forward.

“We must unleash innovation that creates new jobs and industries, while living within our means,” he said. “We must rebuild our infrastructure and find new and clean sources of energy. And most of all, after a decade of passionate debate, we must recapture the common purpose that we shared at the beginning of this time of war.”

It’s a move that has been praised by his Democratic supporters in Congress who agree that end of the war in Afghanistan is necessary for America to be able to progress.

“We recognize that it is in our country’s best interest to ensure that the region remains stable. Their stability should not be at the expense of thousands of American lives and billions of dollars. It is time for the Afghan government to stand independently,” Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) said in a statement. “It is also time for us to focus on our nation’s greatest asset as President Obama mentioned; our people. It is time that we focus on nation building at home.”

Not everyone sees it the way Obama and Cleaver does though. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, challengers vying for the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination, are attacking Obama saying that we should not be using timetables to withdraw.

“I thought his speech tonight was deeply concerning. Look how he phrased the outcome of this war: he said we need to end the war ‘responsibly,’” Pawlenty said on Fox News. “When America goes to war, America needs to win. We need to close out the war successfully.”