If you’ve followed any of my time here at RedState over the years, you know that I’m probably least traditionally Republican when it comes to foreign policy. My appetite for 20 year wars ran out long ago, and while I’m nowhere near an isolationist, I do believe that our leaders should have to articulate why we need to continue fighting in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.
Unfortunately, the status quo has continually won out over the years, with those that want to leave being subjected to scrutiny instead of the foreign policy establishment having to explain why we need to stay and at what cost.
Today, Donald Trump busted that narrative wide open, ordering large troop withdrawals from Afghanistan and Iraq. This set off the usual suspects, many of whom are on the right and continue to adhere to an ineffective, Bush-era school of thought.
Sen. Ben Sasse issues statement calling for indefinite continuation of Afghanistan War, currently in its 20th year. Says to bring any troops home would be a "retreat" and "not grounded in reality." #20MoreYearsShouldDoIt
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) November 17, 2020
Ben Sasse is the epitome of what’s wrong with the Republican Party. I realize that assertion is going to give some seizures simply by reading it, as any suggestion that Sasse isn’t the perfect conservative specimen often draws ire from the right-wing commentariat. Yet, Sasse has never sponsored and passed a bill of note. He’s made his mark with platitudes that sound like something Karl Rove wrote while on the toilet. There’s nothing impressive about him and this latest statement shows it. Note that there’s zero argument being made by Sasse for why we should keep these wars going. Instead, it’s a mid-2000s Mad Lib. All that’s missing is “surrender monkey.”
Meanwhile, Mitt Romney did Mitt Romney things in response.
Romney: The decision to withdraw our troops from Afghanistan, Iraq, and potentially elsewhere should not be based on a U.S. political calendar. The Administration has yet to explain why reducing troops in Afghanistan..is a wise decision for our national security interests
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) November 17, 2020
Read that and really think about how insane it is. We should not be at war by default. If Romney wants to stay in these conflicts, he should be laying out in detail exactly why we need to do so and for how long. Instead, in typical Washington style, we get this idiocy about not fighting wars on a calendar. It’s been 20 years. Yes, it’s probably time to start looking at the calendar and asking if there are strategic interests left that outweigh the costs.
Of course, it wasn’t just Republicans who showed their tails. Here’s Tammy Duckworth making no sense at all.
Iraq War Veteran Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) on Trump's Afghanistan and Iraq troop drawdown:
"All of the military commanders have spoken up and said this is the wrong thing to do. We want our troops home, but let's not bring them home in body bags." pic.twitter.com/rGSBCxXDmP
— The Recount (@therecount) November 17, 2020
You got that? If we pull our troops out, that’s sending them home in body bags. But if we leave them there to die, that’s fine or something. I’ve got to give it to Democrats. It must be really difficult to be this confused and fake all the time. The left-wing position was to bring the troops home a decade ago. Yet, they can’t dare agree with the bad orange man, so Duckworth has to do this ridiculous dance where she pretends she wants a withdrawal, just not “this” withdrawal.
Lastly, I’ll note that the media full court press is also on. Here’s Fox News pumping up a small scale rocket attack and trying to spin it as proof that Trump’s pull-out is somehow dangerous.
Just moments after the Acting Defense Secretary announced US troop withdrawals, 4 rockets were fired at the US Embassy in Baghdad. US officials were ordered to shelters. Many here at the Pentagon warned troop withdrawals could tempt the Shia militias to test US resolve.
— Jennifer Griffin (@JenGriffinFNC) November 17, 2020
Well, that changes everything. Sign me up for 20 more years of war because some two-bit militias fired some rockets. Clearly leaving our personnel in harms way is the much smarter play here or something.
Look, my position is simple. You want to keep fighting these wars? Make your case. If you can’t do that, get out of the way.
(Please follow me on Twitter! @bonchieredstate)