Posted on January 01, 2011 in Campaign Statements

“The Soviets were there for nine years before they left with over 14,000 dead. They tried to crush the Afghans with pure power—aerial bombing and strafing and helicopter gunships and tanks. We have been there ten years and are taking a different approach. We are nation building. Our presence there should not focus on nation building, however, but rather on counterterrorism. We cannot social engineer other countries. We can't even social engineer our own inner cities. It is cultural arrogance to think we can make tribal leaders into democratic leaders. It is wishful thinking to believe that our troops, by staying for a couple more years, will prevent further instability or even civil war. Our men and women in uniform have done their all, given their all, in Afghanistan and Iraq. They routed the Taliban and crippled Al-Qaeda and other terrorist networks. They have taken the fight abroad so we didn’t have to face it here at home. Our nation has done its duty. After 6,000 lives lost and more than $1 trillion spent, it is time to bring our brave troops home. And as they return, we will take care of them, and help our veterans transition from the battlefront to the homefront. We could go from 100,000 boots on the ground to a much smaller footprint in a year, while leaving behind an adequate number of counterterrorist and intelligence functions and a facile special forces presence.  And I believe we should.As for the argument that our exit will destabilize Pakistan . . . the truth is— Only Pakistan can save Pakistan. Only Afghanistan can save Afghanistan. And right now we should focus on America saving America. Our future is not in the Hindu Kush Mountains of Afghanistan.”