Foreign Policy reports:
Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist said he wants to build a center-right coalition to advocate for considering pulling out of Afghanistan in order to save the hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars being spent there.
As the United States grapples with the government’s fiscal crisis, the huge investment in Afghanistan just isn’t wise, Norquist argued at a private salon dinner in Washington on Tuesday evening to a group of foreign-policy minded academics and journalists. He also pointed to the opportunity cost of devoting so much national attention and resources to Afghanistan, which takes focus away from other international challenges.
Norquist teamed up with New America Foundation foreign policy chief Steve Clemons, who organized the dinner, to present his case. Clemons’s own effort to publicize the costs of the war, as detailed in the report of the Afghanistan Study Group he helped to lead, dovetails nicely with Norquist’s beliefs.
“The U.S. interests at stake in Afghanistan do not warrant this level of sacrifice,” the report states, estimating the price tag of continuing the strategy put forth by President Barack Obama at about $100 billion per year.
Norquist, who said his career in politics began with an interest in foreign affairs, noted that $100 billion is exactly the amount some are calling for to be cut from the defense budget.
Clemons is set to release new polling data that he says shows conservatives around the United States support scaling back the Afghanistan mission. The poll, which is based on interviews with 1,000 conservative voters on Jan. 4-10, was conducted by Third Eye Strategies on behalf of the Afghanistan Study Group.