Speaking to an audience of Democrats at the Iowa Democratic Party's annual Jefferson Jackson Day dinner on Saturday night, Bob Krause of Fairfield became the first candidate in the Iowa U.S. Senate race to call for a drawdown of troops in Afghanistan.
"It is my view as a retired military officer and a student of military strategy that we need to disengage from Afghanistan because what we are doing is not strategically sustainable,” Krause told the crowd at a rally following the keynote speech by Vice President Joe Biden.
"We are in direct danger of committing our remaining uncommitted national reserve of troops so that we have nothing left for emergencies,” Krause explained. “Further, I seriously doubt that we need to keep the Taliban at bay in Afghanistan to secure our national security. We are putting large numbers of U. S. and foreign troops in the land that invented xenophobia. Unfortunately this troop insertion stirs the pot and makes the situation much worse than it needs to be.”
“I hope that, when President Obama makes his troop strength decision after Thanksgiving, he does not accept the advice of the neoconservatives, and instead does the prudent thing and closes out this war that former President Bush lost through inaction several years ago,” said Krause.
In extended remarks after the speech, Krause added, "Joe Biden in right on this one. We are spending $60 billion per year in the war in Afghanistan and 2 billion on Pakistan, even though Pakistan is strategically more important to us.”
“If the Pakistanis can control the Pashtuns within their own borders, it will have a very positive spin-off effect on the Pashtun nation in Afghanistan,” said Krause. “Insuring that Pakistan can continue as a cohesive nation is where our strategic emphasis needs to be. Having our forces in Afghanistan drives Taliban into Pakistan and actually helps to destabilize Pakistan.”
Krause warned that our trying to control Afghanistan directly with U. S. troops not only causes backfires, but it is incredibly costly. “If we put in an additional 40,000 new troops -- at a cost of about 1 million dollars per soldier in the field -- this will put the new war budget for Afghanistan at $100 billion,” said Krause. “This for a war that, even by known guerilla warfare statistical planning factors, we would be unlikely to win because it just is not enough troops.”
Krause also pointed out that this figure does not include the “80 year tail on government costs for treating the additional 10,000 per year Post Traumatic Stress Disorder cases that would likely come from the insertion of the additional soldiers.”
"Iowans need to call President Obama and ask him to listen to those who are urging caution, and not to those who want to continue and to escalate this strategically untenable battle," concluded Krause.
A former state legislator, school board member and transportation official, Krause has served as the president of the Iowa Department of the Reserve Officers Association and is currently chair of the Iowa Democratic Veterans Caucus.
Monday, November 23
Senate Candidate Krause Calls for Drawdown in Afghanistan
From Bob Krause's campaign: