Today, The New York Times ran an opinion piece written by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.). In it, the Senators urged President Barack Obama to step up the pace of troop withdrawals from Afghanistan.
“We commend the president for sticking to the July date he had outlined for beginning the withdrawal. However, his plan would not remove all regular combat troops until 2014. We believe the United States is capable of achieving this goal by the end of 2012,” the bipartisan group of lawmakers wrote. “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.”
The Senators claimed the country is currently too unstable and corrupt to foster hopes of founding a Democracy, and continued “nation-building” will be fruitless.
“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 opinion piece read. “But over the past 10 years, our mission expanded to include a fourth goal: nation-building. That is what we are bogged down in now: a prolonged effort to create a strong central government, a national police force and an army, and civic institutions in a nation that never had any to begin with. Let’s not forget that Afghanistan has been a tribal society for millenniums.”
The lawmakers maintained throughout the opinion piece that the country cannot afford prolonging the war any longer.
“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.”