1. I support the planned build-up of troops in Afghanistan even though there is significant uncertainty whether this will lead to any success. I also support the scheduled drawdown of troops starting in 18 months. Although I acknowledge that some argue that a scheduled withdrawal may be damaging by encouraging Al Qaeda and the supporting Taliban to simply wait out the surge, I believe it is even more important to signal to the Afghan government and people that they must rapidly prepare for a U.S. departure. It is human nature that when we lack deadlines it can lead to stagnation and complacency. It is my hope that this sense of urgency will bring about critical reform of the Afghan Government and immediate escalation of Afghan troop buildup.
2. I also pledge to do all that is possible to slow any future race to war without adequate analysis of the cost and probable benefit to the U.S. I am convinced that Congress failed to do this in its decision to declare war in Iraq resulting in costs, both human and financial, that far outweighed any possible benefits.