Four years ago, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) was the only Republican presidential candidate publicly raising concerns over the costs of the Afghanistan war and calling for an immediate withdrawal of American troops. Oh how the times have changed: the Republican presidential debate on Monday night showcased leading Republican candidates wanting to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan as quickly as possible.
Mitt Romney said it was “time for us to bring our troops home as soon as we possibly can.”
Tim Pawlenty added, “Our mission in Afghanistan is not to stay there forever or to stay there for 10 more years to rebuild the country.”
Jon Huntsman, who is set to officially announce his bid for the White House next Tuesday, said in an interview with The New York Times that most Americans wanted “to begin phasing out as quickly as possible.” He added that “this would mean that the very expensive boots on the ground may be something that is not critical for our national security needs. Nor is it something we can afford at this point in our economic history. I think most Americans would say it’s probably a good transition point.”
The reasons for the candidates’ willingness to adopt a quicker withdrawal strategy vary from the death of Osama bin Laden’s to the indefensible war costs. Above all, Republican candidates clearly understand that the majority of American people support an immediate withdrawal of troops. The strength of war opposition amongst leading GOP Presidential candidates is the clearest indication yet that the hawkish foreign policy of GOP stalwarts such as Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is increasingly losing favor within the Republican party.
Read more here: NYT- Candidates Show G.O.P. Less United on Goals of War