(Ridgewood, NJ): On Thursday, conservative Republican U.S. Senate candidate from New Jersey Ian Linker criticized President Obama's plan to withdraw from Afghanistan 10,000 troops by the end of the year and another 23,000 by the summer of 2012 just in time for the presidential election against the advice of his military commanders, and Sen. Robert Menendez's (D-NJ) support of Obama's plan.
"This is a political decision plain and simple. The American people and our men and women in uniform deserve better than this. Withdrawing in such a manner may be popular and it may even save money and lives in the short run, but leaving Afghanistan in such a precarious situation in the east along the border with Pakistan and south could cost us far more if President Karzai's government falls and the insurgent Taliban fill the void, again allowing al Qaida to use the country as a base to plot terrorist attacks against us,” Linker explained.
Linker said he is "all for ending our mission in Afghanistan but only after we have achieved our goals: The Afghan security forces must be sufficiently prepared to protect the country and the government must be stable enough to survive on its own. Only then can we leave knowing that Afghanistan is stable and closed for business to al Qaida."
Of course Bob Menendez supports the President's politically expedient plan to withdraw troops. "We have drained the swamp and our task now is not nation-building in Afghanistan, but ensuring that the swamp does not fill again. We can accomplish that mission with a fraction of the current force." Menendez said in an op-ed on June 21, 2011.
Linker responded, "Ensuring the swamp doesn't fill up again as Bob Menendez suggests absolutely requires that we stay as long as necessary to stabilize the country. Anything less would be patently irresponsible."
Linker further stated that "withdrawing as the President plans and as Bob Menendez suggests could surrender our sizable achievements in Afghanistan and leave us vulnerable to terrorist attack. The President should spend less time acting as campaigner in chief and defer in this situation to his commanders. Arbitrary withdrawal timeframes will not help us achieve our goals."