Pro-con on speeding up troop withdrawal

More than 60 percent of Americans want out of Afghanistan. Yet the war goes on, and even the White House plans for too slowly reducing the U.S. troop presence meet resistance from the Pentagon. U.S. commander Gen. George Allen was pushing just a few months ago to keep the current level of troops for another year. The military would also like to maintain a permanent presence of 6,000 to 15,000 troops. That is not going to happen, as the Afghan people don’t want foreign troops in their country. But the attempts to establish a permanent base of operations will make it more difficult to negotiate an end to war. We need to end this war in Afghanistan and other operations in the Middle East and elsewhere that are making Americans less secure and recruiting new enemies daily. Then we can focus on fixing our broken economy at home. – Mark Weisbrot, Center for Economic and Policy Research

American soldiers should never be put in harm’s way unless it’s vital to our national interests. And if it’s a vital interest, they should stay until the mission is accomplished. To suggest that they can be withdrawn from a mission by an arbitrary date – regardless of progress made or lost – implies that the mission is not important, that they shouldn’t have been sent in the first place. Our armed forces don’t fight for the sake of fighting. And they don’t want to fight on a clock. They fight to serve our nation. And they would rather stay longer and do the job right than come home too soon. Rather than pick a date, the U.S. would do better to ensure that its interests are protected before it walks away. And it should commit to maintaining the forces and capabilities needed to secure its interests in the foreseeable future. – James Jay Carafano, Heritage Foundation