It is a strange day when the leading contender for the Republican Party nomination for President puts himself firmly to the left of a Democratic President on the issue of national security. In yesterday's Republican debate Mitt Romney did just that. Of course he hedged a bit, saying that the war was expensive, we had killed Osama bin Laden, and not exactly calling for a total, immediate withdrawal.
Big Brother is indeed watching, and laughing. In 2006 the Democratic Party captured control of the House of Representatives largely by pretending to be against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the war went on. In 2008 the housing bubble popped, so in the election that year the economy was the central issue. Barack Obama won, playing the typical politician who implied he was against the war without saying so. In the meantime President George W. Bush's troop surge in Iraq did have its intended effect, allowing a basically democratic government to function their. President Obama was able to withdraw troops from Iraq, forgetting to give the ex-President credit for the situation.
Attention centered on Afghanistan in 2009, and Obama decided to try his own troop surge their, largely using veterans of the Iraq war. The Taliban has been beaten back in some areas, only to pop up in others.
Meanwhile, the U.S. has a little debt problem on its hands. Between the Bush Tax Cuts (supported by most Democrats in Congress back then, though they would like to only remind their wealthiest donors of that fact), the economic suicide after the bubble burst, and the ongoing hundreds of billions spent on wars, the U.S. has become the world's beggar.
Some Republicans (and here I even include some Republican politicians, for instance Mitt Romney) realize there is a relationship between war spending, national debt, and their own fortunes. Only a few months ago they thought they could just cut back on services (welfare, food stamps, Medicare, Social Security) for Democratic Party constituencies and achieve a balanced budget. Now they are looking at two formerly untouchable gods: taxation and defense spending.
It is simple. Mitt Romney is no pacifist. He is no Eugene McCarthy or George McGovern. But he would rather cut military spending that raise taxes. The easiest way to cut military spending quickly is to get the hell out of Afghanistan.
If the vote were today, I'd vote for Romney, not Obama. I know Romney might be lying, he might continue the war if elected President. But Obama has already shown himself to be a liar, a fraud, and a war criminal.
Hopefully a strong Green Party or Independent contender will emerge, because Romney is far from my ideal candidate. Or maybe there is a Eugene McCarthy out there somewhere, and Barack will get what he deserves: a one term Presidency.