State Senator Michael Baumgartner today criticized American policy in Afghanistan, as US deaths reached 2,000 in America's longest running war.
"I was deeply saddened to learn that the US has lost 2,000 brave men and women in the 11 years that the Afghan War has been fought," Baumgartner said. "This is a poignant landmark that should make us pause and think of all who have sacrificed of themselves in this conflict."
Baumgartner renewed his calls for a quicker drawdown of US forces. "Our current foreign policy inAfghanistan is a bipartisan embarrassment, as too many members of both political parties refuse to speak truthfully about the war. The costs are real--both to our economy and the nation's growing debt--but most importantly in the thousands killed and wounded and those who have returned suffering with and succumbing to PTSD, divorce and suicide."
"Maria Cantwell voted repeatedly for the past ten years to expand the war in Afghanistan and fund the current un-realistic strategy based on trying to force a democracy into the most remote country on earth," said Baumgartner. He noted Cantwell's May 2010 vote to provide $37 billion in funding to increase troop levels to more than 100,000 and her vote in favor of the $662 billion 2012 National Defense Authorization Act. Cantwell also voted in favor of authorizing the Iraq war.
Baumgartner is frequently asked to advise US military officers deploying to Afghanistan on economics and counterinsurgency in the Middle East and regularly travels to bases around the country. "I spent a lot of time with the troops, many of them going on third and fourth deployments away from family. They deserve much better than what they're getting right now from politicians in Washington DC like Sen. Maria Cantwell."
Baumgartner has previously served in diplomatic and development positions in Afghanistan in Iraq. He has extensive experience in international business and holds a master's degree from Harvard in international development.
"Maria Cantwell has pantomimed opposition to the war, but her actual voting record is consistently to expand this war. The games have to stop."
Baumgartner has been a consistent voice for ending the war in Afghanistan and adopting a more sustainable and realistic foreign policy that rejects democracy-based nation-building as key to defending against terrorists. "Radical Islamic terrorists are a determined enemy that we will face for a long time. We must confront them with a strategy that doesn't bankrupt America and better utilizes local moderate allies and regional proxy forces. Our strategy in Afghanistan should look much more like how we are responding to terrorist threats in Somalia and Yemen."
"Afghanistan is too remote and too corrupt for our current trillion dollar population-centric counterinsurgency strategy to make any sense. Our foreign policy must be based on both capability and credibility. Our troops certainly have capability. But over-promising and under-delivering on misguided nation-building efforts is at the heart of our current overstretch and has proven a colossal waste of effort."