GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Thursday the announcement from the Obama administration that U.S. combat troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan next year puts "in jeopardy the mission of the United States of America and our commitments to freedom." That's the standard Democratic-patriotism-is-suspect line Republicans have been using since 1949 when Mao Zedong took over China.
“Today, [President Obama's] secretary of defense unleashed such a policy,” said Romney. “The secretary of defense said that on a day certain, the middle of 2013, we’re going to pull out our combat troops from Afghanistan.” [...]
“He announced that. He announced that. So the Taliban hears it, the Pakistanis hear it, the Afghan leaders hear it,” said Romney. “Why in the world do you go to the people that you’re fighting with and tell them the date you’re pulling out your troops? It makes absolutely no sense.”
Romney has no skin in this fight. Indeed, when it comes to matters of national defense, he has shown himself to be as tin-earred as he is on poor people, taxes and income inequality. Queried during his campaign for the 2008 nomination about what his sons would be doing to "support this war on terrorism" since they weren't in the military, Romney responded, “[O]ne of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping to get me elected.”
Getting him elected apparently would keep U.S. combat troops fighting a lot longer in Afghanistan than the majority of Americans want, according to the latest poll on the subject by the Pew Center for the People & the Press.
There is plenty to criticize the administration over with regards to its Afghanistan policy. Getting Osama bin Laden did not require tripling the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and spending tens of billions of dollars more than had already been spent. Putting Afghanistan on a secure footing against the Taliban, rooting out corruption and establishing a trusted central government backed by a military that that country can actually pay for was never in the cards, as many critics said when the escalation began in 2009. Now, more people than before realize this.
Romney says he will listen to what the generals say about Afghanistan. That's what Obama did. It didn't work. And now, too slowly to be sure, the troops they advised be sent there are coming home. Romney thinks this is a bad idea. An idea that puts us in danger. Most Americans don't agree.