Norquist Wants to Pull Out of Afghanistan

January 13th, 2011 at 12:26 pm | 13 Comments |

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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.

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13 Comments so far ↓

  • Watusie

    Here’s Grover Norquist on the Iraq War, back in April, 2003 when it was still polling well:

    ‘The Democrats were on the wrong side of the Civil War, the Cold War and now the Iraq War. Their batting average on these things is right up there with France.”

    I don’t think I’ll pay much attention to the opinions of a man who was so monstrously wrong about Bush’s war of choice.

  • dmnolan

    He might have won if the Taliban had had bathtubs he could have drown them in.

  • TerryF98

    Hmm spending a trillion in Iraq to no good cause is good and justified. Trying to bring a decent end to the war Bush ignored and all but abandoned is bad.

  • think4yourself

    There is very little that I agree with Grover Norquist on. However, perhaps this might blunt the voices of some of the neocons who argue that Obama’s date for withdrawal just gives certainty to the enemy. Conservatives won’t sign on to this proposal, but it might make for a better environment for reasonable conversation about best options for Afghanistan as it relates to US security interests (after all no one wants it to become a safe haven for terrorists again).

  • Carney

    So. Norquist agrees with the Taliban, with al Qaeda, and our other enemies that we should run away in disgraceful defeat from a contested battlefield, hand over to our foes the very land we have bled and died to keep from slipping into Islamist, pro-terrorist tyranny.

    Norquist hugely embarrassed President Bush by vouching for various pro-terrorist Muslims that Bush subsequently met with in an effort to showcase moderate Islam.

    You’d think that that, and his marriage, would make Norquist more vigilant about being perceived as being soft on related issues, but he constantly pushes the GOP and the conservative movement toward weakness.

    His usefulness to the movement is, I think, over, and so should his influence.

  • lessadoabouteverything

    dmnolan, hah.

    And if a Republican wins in the future and he commits to troops in Afghanistan, well naturally according to Norquist we would then have no choice but to support him. How this lowlife managed to avoid jail like his buddy in crime Abramoff is beyond me. Why anyone would choose to pay attention to him is an even greater mystery (unless you can make fun of him like dmnolan)

  • DFL

    Proof that even a nitwit can be right occasionally.

  • COProgressive

    “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.”

    Norquist is a little late to the party on this issue.

    “Norquist teamed up with New America Foundation foreign policy chief Steve Clemons, who organized the dinner, to present his case.”

    And raise MONEY.

    “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.”

    So, is Norquist suggesting we could save $200 Billion a year, or is he suggesting pulling out of Afghanistan and saving $100 Billion so to prevent cuts from the military budget?

    Wow. Norquist speaking about saving the government money. All this from the very same individual who fathered the notion of “Starve the Beast”.

    When I see or hear the name Norquist, I immediately think “Snake Oil Salesman”.

    Do people still listen to him?

  • Houndentenor

    I am so sick of the people who rushed us into two wars now wringing their hands over why we are there. If the right hadn’t labeled anyone who objected or even dared ask questions about these wars before they started as a traitor maybe we wouldn’t be in this mess now.

  • Alex 0_0

    A $5 per barrel tariff on imported petroleum would raise $1.8 trillion and pay for the war with lots of change left over.

  • SpartacusIsNotDead

    Carney: “So. Norquist agrees with the Taliban, with al Qaeda, and our other enemies that we should run away in disgraceful defeat from a contested battlefield, hand over to our foes the very land we have bled and died to keep from slipping into Islamist, pro-terrorist tyranny.”

    Actually, Al Qaeda planned for the U.S. to get bogged down in a costly war as a result of 9/11 and to suffer economic ruin.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2004/09/inside-al-qaeda-rsquo-s-hard-drive/3428/

    So, does that now mean that since you want the U.S. to continue doing exactly what AQ wanted the U.S. to do that you’re soft on terrorism and in league with AQ?

  • Carney

    Spartacus, that’s nonsense.

    OBL, like others who have battled the US and UK, assumed that our wealth and freedom make us soft and materialistic, a nation of businessmen without grit and stamina for battle. Like the Japanese at Pearl Harbor, he thought a sharp blow would each us a lesson, that we’d make a deal or at least back off.

    Yes, OBL and alQ no doubt sought to assuage Mullah Omar’s understandable concerns about the possibility of a US invasion.

    However, their propaganda from 2002 onwards that post 9/11 events went in fact precisely according to their Brilliant Master Plan that we had stupidly stumbled into is not credible.

    On September 10, al Q was an honored ally and guest of what it considered the only proper and pure Islamic government in the world, which fulfilled al Q’s every policy desire, holding nothing back. The Emirate controlled 90% of Afghanistan, and while controversial, had some formal international recognition (including crucial states like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan), and de facto recognition by most others. alQ operated openly and without fear, lording it over the native Afghans like colonial masters, rolling, in convoys of tinted-windows, from one sprawling terrorist camp to another, in which thousands of terrorists were indoctrinated and trained, and research and plans for major attacks and weapons proceeded. Funds from donors in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf flowed in generously and without hindrance.

    Since that time, the Emirate has been overthrown, and, while Afghanistan remains a conservative, even backward nation, the Taliban’s extreme policies remain a thing of the past. Al Qaeda’s bases have been overrun, weapons, assets, and documents seized. Tens of thousands of dedicated and trained al Q fighters and Taliban fighters have been killed, many more wounded. Money flow has become much more complicated and uncertain. al Qaeda and the Taliban are hunted fugitives in the only country they ever controlled, largely chased out and forced to live as refugees across the border in Pakistan, whose government periodically launches military offensives. Senior leadership must devote enormous, ongoing, daily attention to immediate personal security, as relentless drone strikes and raids deplete their ranks; senior members such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed are captured or killed.

    All according to plan. Yeah.

  • In Praise of Grover Norquist - NYTimes.com

    [...] sour), but amid our current deficit woes he’s been a consistent advocate for defense cuts and an Afghan pullout. In other words, he’s actually willing to follow his vision of government closer to its [...]