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Senators Jeff Merkley, (D-OR), Rand Paul, (R-KY), and Tom Udall, (D-NM) call for the withdrawal of all combat troops from Afghanistan by 2012, in a opinion piece in today's NYT. Let’s Not Linger in Afghanistan  Last month, 27 Senators sent President Obama a letter asking for a more significant and accelerated withdrawal. President Obama's responded last week, with a new plan to withdraw 30,000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of next summer, with all combat troops to removed by 2014.

Now three Senators are urging our President to reconsider, and withdraw all combat troops by the end of 2012.  

We believe the United States is capable of achieving this goal by the end of 2012. America would be more secure and stronger economically if we recognized that we have largely achieved our objectives in Afghanistan and moved aggressively to bring our troops and tax dollars home.

After Al Qaeda attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, we rightly sought to bring to justice those who attacked us, to eliminate Al Qaeda’s safe havens and training camps in Afghanistan, and to remove the terrorist-allied Taliban government. With hard work and sacrifice, our troops, intelligence personnel and diplomatic corps have skillfully achieved these objectives, culminating in the death of Osama bin Laden.

the Senators continue:

Today, despite vast investment in training and equipping Afghan forces, the country’s deep-seated instability, rampant corruption and, in some cases, compromised loyalties endure. Extending our commitment of combat troops will not remedy that situation. ...

Today there are probably fewer than 100 low-level Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan. Al Qaeda has a much larger presence in a number of other nations. Our focus shouldn’t be establishing new institutions in Afghanistan, but concentrating on terrorist organizations with global reach. And our military and intelligence organizations have proved repeatedly that they can take the fight to the terrorists without a huge military footprint.

We have urgent needs at home: high unemployment and a flood of foreclosures, a record deficit and a debt that is over $14 trillion and growing. We are spending $10 billion a month in Afghanistan. We need to change course. ... we’ve accomplished what we set out to accomplish in Afghanistan, and we can no longer afford the lives and money it is taking to pursue an ambitious open-ended nation-building mission.

These Senators make strong points when they question what further goals we have a realistic chance of accomplishing in Afghanistan. If our country is facing such a dire financial crisis that we have to consider cutting vitial social programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and Meicaid we do not have the funds for "nation building" in Afghanistan, which few advance plausible expectation of success.

With virtually no Al Qaeda forces left in Afghanistan, our Special Forces have proven to be a more effective, and much more efficient approach for dealing with scattered terrorists.  

It's time to bring our troops home from both Iraq and Afghanistan.


Do you agree with these three Senators that we should bring combat troops home from Aghanistan by the end of this year?

84%32 votes
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| 38 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Glad. We need to keep pressure on. (8+ / 0-)

    CitizenX: "If the republicans were in charge GM & Chrysler would be dead and Osama bin Laden would be alive."

    by TomP on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 12:44:05 PM PDT

  •  I'm thankful to these three. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, BigAlinWashSt, lysias

    Hopefully some of those who signed the original letter are still on board and pressuring the President as well.

    This will take all the pressure we can muster.

    •  You're thankful to Rand Paul? (0+ / 0-)

      Seriously? Sorry. While the blind acorn might find the occassional squirrel (mangled on purpose for comedic effect) this isn't really three Senators pushing for this it's two and one hanger-on trying to look less than totally batshit insane.

      Modern Conservatism isn't simply about them owning as much as possible; it's also about breaking anything they can't own.

      by ontheleftcoast on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 12:51:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Rand Paul was also against extending (3+ / 0-)

        the PATRIOT Act, wasn't he?

        The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

        by lysias on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 02:10:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  My husband is an active duty officer who goes to (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BigAlinWashSt, David Kaib


        I am thankful to any Senator who stands up for pulling us out of Afghanistan.

        Yes, I am thankful to Rand Paul.

        •  You're thankful for the idea (0+ / 0-)

          But you can't be thankful for a man like Rand Paul. Because when your husband returns from war Rand Paul will do everything in his power to deny your husband benefits. Rand Paul will make sure that government is cut to the bone and dysfunctional. Sorry, I'm hopeful this war comes to an end as soon as possible, but Rand Paul doesn't give a spit about your husband or this country. Rand Paul cares about Rand Paul, end of story.

          Modern Conservatism isn't simply about them owning as much as possible; it's also about breaking anything they can't own.

          by ontheleftcoast on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 05:33:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You sound like a Tea Partier. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Just replace the name Rand Paul with Barack Obama and you sound like half the Tea Partiers I met in Texas.

            Of course I can be thankful to the man for a single thing.

            We have got to get over ourselves and stop the hate. It is literally tearing this site apart.

            •  Stop the hate? (0+ / 0-)

              How about the hate Rand Paul had when his supporters stomped on a woman's head? How about the hate he has for blacks and minorities when it comes to their rights being protected? How about the hate he has for women and their right to choice? Sure, Rand Paul did a couple of decent things. But that doesn't excuse his multitude of other wrongs. When Rand Paul apologizes for his hate I'll reconsider my opinion of him.

              Modern Conservatism isn't simply about them owning as much as possible; it's also about breaking anything they can't own.

              by ontheleftcoast on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 06:28:20 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  So his hate gives us the right to hate? (0+ / 0-)

                I don't think so.

                I don't think I'll change the man by hating him. Not at all.

                If you can't deal with me being thankful to him for standing up before all those other warmongering Senators and saying that he believes we should leave, fine. Don't. But don't tell me how to think or feel. And I won't tell you. That's how progressives tend to get along, I believe.

                •  You're the one calling me the equivalent (0+ / 0-)

                  of a tea partier. I never insulted you. I'm just telling you what Rand Paul does and why I can't respect him for one act of decency. I respect the act of decency but that's all. The man hasn't earned any.

                  Modern Conservatism isn't simply about them owning as much as possible; it's also about breaking anything they can't own.

                  by ontheleftcoast on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 11:25:49 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Actually, you did insult me. (0+ / 0-)

                    You told me that I didn't know what I was thinking:

                    You're thankful to Rand Paul?

                    I do believe you meant this with sarcasm. Of course, I could be mistaken and you could have really been asking me my opinion, but I don't think so because you later responded with this:

                    But you can't be thankful for a man like Rand Paul.

                    Twice you told me that I did not know what I was thinking. That, to me, is pretty insulting.

                    My intent was not to insult you. My intent was to point out that your statement could have been made by a Tea Partier about Obama. And, it still stands. Your final comment could come out of the mouth of any Tea Partier in Texas who liked a single action by the President but doesn't like the man himself:

                    I respect the act of decency but that's all. The man hasn't earned any.
                    •  Insult? (0+ / 0-)

                      Well, if you say that's an insult I guess it is. Asking the question, and wondering how you could support such a man were my intent. Not to insult. And if calling Rand Paul what he is makes me the equivalent of a Tea Partier in your eyes then your eyes need adjustment.

                      Modern Conservatism isn't simply about them owning as much as possible; it's also about breaking anything they can't own.

                      by ontheleftcoast on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 02:58:43 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

  •  While I agree with the goal (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, Quicklund

    I am not sure the time line they propose is even doable safely and responsibly. But saying that 'tis better to ask for faster and get somewhere than not to ask at all. I just wish Rand Paul was not part of the mix those asking.

    In the choice between changing ones mind and proving there's no need to do so, most people get busy on the proof.

    by jsfox on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 12:47:49 PM PDT

  •  Unrealistic and irresponsible (0+ / 0-)

    Why should I trust Rand Paul, Udall and Merkley over President Barack Obama?

    Just because they happen to say something that I like to hear?

    If these three men tell me that I weigh 10 lbs less than what I actually weigh, should I go with what they say simply because it's something that I would prefer to be the case?

    •  Unrealistic perhaps, but irresponsible. I would (4+ / 0-)

      think it's irreponsible to spend another half trillion dollars there for the next 3 1/2 years.  

      S.A.W. 2011 STOP ALL WARS "The Global War on Terror is a fabrication to justify imperialism."

      by BigAlinWashSt on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 01:16:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Just what strategic interest of the U.S. (5+ / 0-)

      do you think our troops in Afghanistan are defending?

      And, even if you can name one, what makes you think we aren't doomed to lose this war sooner or later, just like in Vietnam?  So what point is there in prolonging the killing?

      The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

      by lysias on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 02:12:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Pakistan (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        President Obama doubled down in Afghanistan not to stabilize Afghanistan so much but to stabilize Pakistan and to get them off the fence.  Or at least not so much on the fence.

        Recall it was not so long ago that the Taliban had taken over the Swat Valley and were starting to head even closer to the capital.  The Pakistani Army wasn't doing a thing; leaving what resistance offered up to police forces.

        We shifted down in Iraq, shifted up in Afghanistan, the Pakistani Army started fighting in a very serious manner.  The Taliban were pushed ever back in Pakistan and US forces upped the pressure on them on the other side of the border.  Pakistan allowed greater use of drones in its airspace, and bin Laden was killed.

        So the question of timing WRT withdrawal should be gauged according to the developing situation in Pakistan. The bottom line to the Afghan withdrawal is Pakistan's nuclear arsenal and its internal stability.

        Stop. Stand up. Make a sign. Walk around in public. Be polite and orderly and the rest takes care of itself. Want to shake up the Plutocrats? Demonstrate your attention to politics.

        by Quicklund on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 03:38:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Because you're predisposed (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      priceman, BigAlinWashSt

      to trust President Barack Obama no matter what.

      The federal government is basically an insurance company with an army. Paul Krugman

      by Heart of the Rockies on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 04:24:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No one is asking you to "trust" anyone or anything (4+ / 0-)

      in this. This has nothing at all to do with "trust."

      The question is whether a speedy end to the expensive, pointless and unwinnable American adventure in Afghanistan is sound public policy, at a time when our own national infrastructure and economy continues to crumble.

      It's sad as hell that even "progressive" DKos has largely bought the argument that "War is good," as long as it's being run by Dems. I miss the days when the anti-war position was the default here.

      When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

      by PhilJD on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 04:34:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hopefruit2 makes a good point. (0+ / 0-)

    But this is more than just what I want to hear.  It is what I've been saying since May 2.  Regardless of who supports this position, it remains clear to me that we need to get out of Afghanistan as quickly as possible.  This is both for the reasons put forth by the Senators, and in order to eliminate any reliance whatsoever on Pakistan, a dangerous nation playing a double game and becoming more extremist by the hour.  We need to disengage, regroup, and look at our options...both at home and abroad.

    Terror has no religion.

    by downsouth on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 01:15:58 PM PDT

  •  I'm always suspicious of the term "combat troops", (5+ / 0-)

    for to argue that all combat troops should be withdrawn need imply no more than the wholesale relabelling of troops as "non-combat troops" and otherwise leave matters pretty much as they stand - which is already happening in Iraq.

    We're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression.

    by Lepanto on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 02:14:24 PM PDT

  •  It's a feel good kind of propaganda (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lepanto, BigAlinWashSt

    We are supposed to associate withdrawing "combat troops" with the idea that combat will then be over, but that's not true.

    "11 dimensional chess" is a clever form of using magical thinking to obfuscate the obvious.

    by Zinman on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 03:35:55 PM PDT

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