Our government has a responsibility to our brave men and women fighting overseas, and that means adequately preparing our troops and caring for our veterans. But it also means not putting them in harm’s way unless it is absolutely necessary.
For the sake of our nation’s security, the U.S. must engage in a balanced foreign policy that gives prominence to diplomacy and development – as well as defense. By doing this, we can help prevent conflicts before they start, restore America’s image in the international community, and rebuild relations with our friends and allies around the world.
Our presence in Iraq diverted our resources from more serious threats in Afghanistan and elsewhere, and it damaged our reputation around the world. I supported the Obama Administration’s plan to bring a responsible end to the war in Iraq.
Our continued operations in Afghanistan have imposed huge financial costs on taxpayers already saddled with trillions of dollars of government debt. We have spent more than $440 billion there so far and continue to spend nearly $7 billion every month on combat operations alone in Afghanistan.
The cost of the war in Afghanistan is not limited to taxpayer dollars but also includes the tremendous sacrifices of the men and women of our military, who have done everything we have asked of them during this decade-long war – the longest in U.S. history. With Osama bin Laden killed and Al Qaeda largely driven from Afghanistan, it is time to transfer security responsibilities to the Afghani government, drastically reduce our military footprint in the region, and bring our troops home to their families. By doing so, we will save billions of dollars that will help rebuild our own economy, reduce the deficit, and invest in America’s future.
The United States must also be an advocate for human rights at home and abroad. America’s position of prominence on the world stage is historically unique and retaining our international presence depends on a return to diplomacy and responsibly responding to the complex issues that face the world.