We owe our brave men and women a debt of gratitude for their service. It is critical that they are adequately equipped. While I am disturbed at the unrelated earmarks inserted into the wartime supplemental and appropriations bills, I cannot imagine voting against arming our troops as they defend liberty in a foreign land.
Like all, I am pleased by the significant progress we have seen in Iraq since the Surge of 2007. Iraqis have been steadily improving in providing their own security and have conducted successful elections. Rule of Law is steadily replacing fear as the way of life. It is time for the Iraqi people to step up and ensure continued progress. I support the gradual drawdown of our troop levels in Iraq as progress is made. There is still much to do, but we are slowly building a new democracy there.
I am confident that given adequate support and manpower, the same progress can be made in Afghanistan. I do not support arbitrary timetables for withdrawal which only encourage the Taliban to "wait it out" and even worse, discourage local leaders from working with Americans.
The War on Terror is not over and it is a very complex challenge both militarily and diplomatically. However, we cannot let the Taliban win in Afghanistan (or intimidate Pakistan) and we have to protect the fragile democracy in Iraq. Every day of young democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan is a long-term blow to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.