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Morning Poll: Accelerated Withdrawal from Afghanistan?

by ARLnow.com — March 20, 2012 at 10:00 am 1,960 29 Comments

Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) took to the House floor yesterday to call for an accelerated drawdown of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

“The time to accelerate our withdrawal from Afghanistan has arrived,” said Moran, a senior member of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. “Afghanistan is not a threat to the United States — Osama bin Laden is dead and there are fewer than 50 al Qaeda operating along the border with Pakistan.”

Moran then referenced a week-long trip he took to the Afghanistan/Pakistan region last month.

“My recent trip to the region reaffirmed my belief that every day our brave men and women in uniform remain in Afghanistan is another day they risk their lives for an undeserving cause,” Moran said. “Our military has undertaken a valiant fight to do what we have asked them to do, we have a responsibility to make sure no lives are lost in vain. Ultimately, Afghanistan’s future will be determined by Afghans, not Americans.”

Yesterday the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan told Congress that the existing timetable to withdraw troops from the county is still on track, despite recent setbacks like the killing of 16 Afghan civilians by a rogue U.S. soldier.

As it stands now, 23,000 of the 90,000 troops in Afghanistan are scheduled to come home by the end of September, with a complete withdrawal by December 2014. Do you agree with Rep. Moran that the timetable for withdrawal should be accelerated?

  • Josh S

    I guess this will be interesting to talk about, but in what way is this related to Arlington community issues?

    Will we debate whether the Supreme Court will / should find “Obamacare” Constitutional next?

    • AP

      It matters because it’s our representative for Arlington, and we are voting in this online poll to see if (rather unscientifically of course) his constituents agree with his actions.

    • http://www.arlnow.com ARLnow.com

      There’s a large military population in Arlington, which is why we sometimes focus on military-related issues that might not be specific to Arlington.

    • Swag

      Ever notice that oddly-shaped building down by the 14th Street Bridge?

      • Josh S

        Meh.

    • Arlington, Northside

      How about the fact that we are in Afghanistan due to the attack on Arlington on September 11, 2011? Makes me wonder why our Congressman who represents one of the two targets hit on that fateful day would want to pull out of the war before Afghanistan is in a place that will better deter that nation from becoming a terrorist base in the future.

  • Daniel

    Apparently they needed a new hot discussion thread. I am shocked in that this is one of the few things that I agree with Moran on. I have been to Afghanistan and truly believe that there is no value in remaining there. We killed the bad guy we were looking for, and we will most definitely not change these people. They will fall apart the moment we leave. Even the Afghans are trying to get out of Afghanistan (at least the smarter ones are).

    • Wow

      I’ve heard similar things from people who’ve worked there (non-military).

      We need to make it easier for Afghans who’ve risked their lives to work for us to emigrate here. Because they will be phooked otherwise.

      • Arlington, Northside

        That is for sure! We need to take care of our friends.

      • KalashniKEV

        If we don’t FORCE them to stay in their own country there will be no seed for any hope. You can’t allow the best people to flee. They should be locked in for the good of their nation.

        If they fight for their beliefs and win, then they are the right and just rulers.

        • Arlington, Northside

          If the good guys clearly had the upper hand, and we were to withdraw today I would agree. But, we need to take care of those that helped us and supported us, and not leave them to be killed at the hands of the enemy as we did with far to many when we withdrew from Vietnam.

    • Homeowner

      This is the only thing I’ve ever agreed with Moran on…

  • Swag

    *shrug* Afghanistan hasn’t been about Al Qaeda since 2002. It’s about manifest destiny and keeping the money flowing to the Pentagon and related industries.

  • Rick

    Who let him out of jail?

    • Always Right

      Remember when he was slapping his ex-wife around in Arlington and the cops were called? So surprised the dem. women still vote for him.

      • jan

        Oh, is there an alternative?

      • eBunker

        Not only did he slap a wife around, but he physically attacked a child on the street.

  • Arlingtron

    I would like nothing better than to have all of our service people back in the USA. If the problems in Afghanistan remain inside their borders then we would not need to have a presence there. A controlled withdraw should be conducted as soon as practical. However, Taliban-sponsored terrorism, the opium trade, human rights violations, political instability, etc. can and will affect the region, the world, including the US. It would be a shame that efforts to bring that society into the 21st century be thrown back to the dark ages by a few war lords.

    • Josh S

      I think that from what I understand, efforts to bring that society into the 21st century have been pretty ineffective.

      There is no real effort to fight the opium trade in Afghanistan. Some of the largest harvests ever have happened since 2002. Besides, there is a very simple way to make that “problem” go away – legalize it. However, the CIA, DEA, armed forces, etc would likely fight that notion, given how much money they get every year for fighting the “War on Drugs.”

      • KalashniKEV

        “There is no real effort to fight the opium trade in Afghanistan.”

        OMGoodness!!! There are in fact MULTIPLE duplicative efforts! CNTPO, CNIT, PEP, FAST Teams… I think

        The problem is that removing the only legitimate means of earning a livelihood drives people to the insurgency. The above organizations have no place on the battlefield, and you have to keep them on a VERY tight leash. They don’t know where they’re at in the world and don’t understand the second and third order effects of their actions. There is a push-pull on our side because (like everything) the desired endstate is poorly articulated.

        • KalashniKEV

          *should read- I think you are misinformed.

  • T.G.E.0.A….

    Broken clock

  • brendan

    very interested where this number comes from…

    “there are fewer than 50 al Qaeda operating along the border with Pakistan”

    I know Panetta said something similar about 2 years ago but still seems off. Is this just referring Arab al Qaeda? Clearly doesn’t count al Qaeda linked and supported forces or those based out of Pakistan but still part of operations in Afghanistan.

    Can’t say i disagree w/ an accelerated withdrawal… but i think part of that is we should significantly restructure our objectives in Afghanistan and Pakistan, whether it is negotiating a truce with the taliban or simply leaving in a significantly enhanced intelligence network to make sure we don’t get caught with our pants down again. One thing that i think sets Moran apart on all of this is his pragmatism and appreciation of human life… There are lefties that are against war in general, and those on the right that seem to think a “Strong America” involves putting our kids lives at risk. I think Moran strives for a pragmatic balance in regards to our values, priorities and budgetary constraints.

    Side note — if you haven’t watched it yet, Restrepo is an excellent film on the war in Afghanistan and now on Netflix streaming. At the very least it will give you some idea of what our soldiers are going through over there.

  • Real World Economics

    Just curious why nobody is clamoring to have all of our military brought home from Japan, S. Korea, Europe, Africa, Antartica, etc.??? People like “Arlingtron” make comments like “I would like nothing better than to have all of our service people back in the USA”; but Iraq and Afghanistan are not the only places we have troops deployed. We’ve had troops in Japan and Germany since the end of WWII, but I don’t hear anybody screaming for them to come home.

    • jan

      those are “nice” posts where their families can accompany them.

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8PuUU6IWps&feature=youtube_gdata_player awh hells bells

      I can’t profess to be an expert in the distribution patterns of our armed forces or the rationale to maintain bases in areas no longer considered to be conflict zones but I’d speculate the DoD maintains bases overseas for a number of reasons.

      Deterrence: maintaining the ability to project our influence and counter the aggressive tendencies of certain nations and non-state actors. This most likely explains the US massive presence in South Korea and Japan as a means to check North Korea and China. The Korean conflict has in fact never officially ended, there was never a peace treaty signed, the conflict ended in a stalemate. I imagine the DoD is incredibly cautious regarding Chinese growth and urge to expand their sphere of influence. The DMZ along the 38th parallel north marking the border of N. and S. Korea along with the Taiwan Strait between China and Taiwan are two geographical areas with significant chances for a ‘flashpoint’ to develop.

      Maintenance of alliances: Although the threat of a massive Soviet tank incursion into Western Europe has subsided, there remains a number of large bases throughout mainland Europe and the UK. Consider Lakenheath AFB (UK), Rammstein AFB (GER), and Aviano AFB (ITL). These are major hubs for military air transport and these bases house a great number of military personnel and their dependents. Many of the communities surrounding these bases are dependent economically on the these bases for jobs on the bases, providing some sort of support, and providing recreational opportunities off-base.

      I could go on but I think you probably gather that there are a number of variables associated with rationale for maintaining bases abroad. If you have a chance search online for US military and Horn of Africa we have a huge presence there too, it’s hardly covered in the news but I imagine someone is pushing for the return of the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines stationed around there.

  • nota gain

    Cant imagine how Moran knows the remaining number of AL Quedas in Afganistan. His trip, was it really necessary and who paid for it? What’s his expertise in military fighting? Domestic fighting he has. Afganistan will survive on its own as it has for years regardless who is in power.
    Moran’s trip was like sending Michelle O to Hawaii for her vacation at tax payers expense.

    • Zoning Victim

      As much as I dislike Moran, he is on the Defense Appropriations Committee; one would certainly hope he knows as well as any how many Al Qaeda members are left and has some military expertise.

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