Congress: Question 1 – Afghanistan
Candidates address the War on Terror.
As a way to inform our readers about the candidates, Patch asked the four candidates for the Congress in the Fifth Congressional District five questions that focused on topics ranging from education to war and from the economy to veterans' services.
Here is Question 1:
As we approach the 10-year mark to the War on Terror, what do you see as a timetable, if any, of withdrawing from Afghanistan?
Dale Brown (I)
We should have been withdrawn 5 years ago so I will settle for ASAP. Our original mission could have been completed in 2 years had Iraq not shifted our focus. We are now engaged in a mission that could last for generations, trying to indoctrinate the Afghans to a totally alien governmental system that we approve. What I foresee is that we will be there for a long, long time.
Bob Clark (I)
My recommended timetable for leaving Afghanistan is as quickly as the Generals say it is safe for our troops. I believe every day we're there, we anger more people, encouraging them to take up the cause of terrorism against the country that is occupying theirs. The goal of our national defense is to keep Americans safe, and I believe our presence there is not accomplishing that.
Jon Golnik (R)
I believe we must stay in Afghanistan in some capacity to ensure its stabilization. This is a breeding ground for terrorists. What I do not believe is that we give a timeline to our enemy for withdrawal. This administration seems to forget we still have troops in Korea, Japan and Germany.
Niki Tsongas (D), Incumbent
The President has stated that we will begin withdrawing our forces from Afghanistan by July 2011. However, General David Petraeus has characterized the President's deadline to start bringing our forces home as something that "we would not make too much out of."
As a member of the Armed Service's Committee, I have repeatedly asked in committee hearings, during three separate trips to Afghanistan, and in other venues how our current strategy would bring regional stability, the length of time and the troop levels that an Afghanistan commitment requires, and what our exit strategy is. Almost all of these questions remain unanswered.
I have opposed funds for additional troops in Afghanistan because of the administration's continued inability to explain how our current strategy addresses the many challenges we face in Afghanistan, and how those challenges would be overcome with the additional resources they sought.
In Afghanistan, we are dealing with a leader in President Hamid Karzai who is seen near universally as corrupt and ineffective, an Afghan national security force that is still not yet ready to provide security even after 8 years of training, and a difficult relationship with Pakistan. Answers to these challenges in Afghanistan are needed in order to meet the high threshold that is required when sending our young men and women to war.