President Obama has a well-established plan to end the war in Afghanistan in 2014, and we’re already bringing our troops home. Mitt Romney doesn’t have a plan to end the war at all, and he would likely keep us there indefinitely—just as he would have done in Iraq.
A brief look at Romney’s timeline of shifting positions shows that he’s been all over the map on Afghanistan. While President Obama has committed to end the war in 2014, Romney has lurched back and forth between attacking the President’s decision to draw down the troops and adopting a nearly identical timeline for withdrawal—repeatedly demonstrating that Americans can’t trust him to end the war.
January 14, 2011: Romney expresses opposition to the announcement of a troop drawdown. “It is my desire and my political party’s desire,” he says, “to support the people of Afghanistan and not to leave.”
June 2, 2011: When Romney officially announces his campaign for president, he says “announcing a withdrawal date was wrong” because “the Taliban may not have watches, but they do have calendars.”
June 13, 2011: Romney takes the opposite stance on withdrawal, saying that it’s “time for us to bring our troops home as soon as we possibly can” and that “Americans cannot fight another nation’s war of independence.”
November 22, 2011: Romney walks back his support for a speedy withdrawal, suggesting that America should leave 10,000 troops in Afghanistan after 2014: “This is not time for America to cut and run.”
December 22, 2011: Romney once again embraces President Obama’s timeline, saying that “the timeline is that by the end of 2014, we will be completely be out of Afghanistan.”
February 28, 2012: Romney attacks President Obama for announcing the drawdown from Afghanistan, calling it his “biggest mistake.”
July 21, 2012: Romney refuses to explicitly commit to a 2014 timetable for troop withdrawal, although aides “say … he supports the timetable in concept.”
September 3, 2012: Romney says, “We’ll bring our troops home by the end of 2014” while simultaneously criticizing President Obama for announcing the timeline for withdrawal.
October 8, 2012: Romney changes his website to include a “goal of completing the transition of combat operations to the Afghan army by the end of 2014.”
Mitt Romney’s willingness to shift his positions reveals an opportunistic and indecisive politician who is just not ready to be commander in chief. Sadly, this isn’t surprising for a candidate who didn’t once mention Afghanistan or the troops serving there in his RNC acceptance speech, or for a candidate whose senior adviser called the war a distraction from what “real Americans want to talk about.”
The war in Afghanistan is not an afterthought. Americans need a president with a steady and well-thought-out plan to end the longest war in our nation’s history—not a president who plays politics with matters of war and peace.