Nuanced Cut and Run
The latest area from which Congressional Democrats want to cut and run is Afghanistan. Isn't that where there's widespread support and al Qaeda continues to operate on the border region in concert with the Taliban? So why are the usual suspects among Congressional Democrats calling for the US to get out?
A few congressional Democrats go so far as suggesting that the Pentagon should pull out of Afghanistan now, while others say that troop withdrawal will be addressed after the military is out of Iraq.
Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii), a senior defense authorizer, wants the U.S. out of Afghanistan immediately, calling operations there “futile” in trying to effect political change in a country with a tangled history.
Most other Democrats want to focus on Afghanistan, with the goal of withdrawing the military down the road after the country is stabilized and any new Taliban resurgence quashed.
With a few exceptions, congressional Democrats no longer show any hesitation about withdrawing the military from Iraq. But they are more circumspect about Afghanistan, saying that the Bush administration let the situation worsen by shifting attention onto a protracted conflict in Iraq.
“We should have never gone to Iraq, because we would have been out of Afghanistan [by now],” Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) said in a brief interview.
Murtha, the chairman of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee and a vocal opponent of the war in Iraq, said that by September, when he takes up the fiscal 2008 war supplemental funding, he would have a better sense of how to handle Afghanistan.
Yet making the argument that the U.S. needs to get out of Iraq and stay in Afghanistan can be politically challenging. While Democrats regularly note that the war in Iraq has now gone on longer than World War II, the U.S. has been in Afghanistan longer than it has been in Iraq. And arguments that Iraqis need to take control of their own country can be applied to Afghanistan as well.
The Afghanistan effort enjoys much more support among the American public, and Democratic leaders have sought to burnish their homeland security credentials by presenting an unwavering backing of the war there.
It's all about politics and seeking to game the situation to their advantage. It has nothing to do with national security or going after al Qaeda or even what's in the best interests of the troops.
This is a decision that is in the best interests of the partisan Democrats who think that this is going to win them seats in the next election.