WASHINGTON - Libertarian Party Chair Mark Hinkle responded to President Obama's June 22 speech with the following comments today:
"President Obama's speech was disappointing, but not surprising. The withdrawals he announced are painfully inadequate. Obama's withdrawals, even if they are carried out as he described, will still leave about 70,000 American troops in Afghanistan, probably for years to come. The president is commander-in-chief of the military. He has the power to end the war now, and withdraw all American troops, and that's what he should do.
"The U.S. has no business fighting a war in Afghanistan. Nearly three years ago, our Libertarian National Committee adopted a resolution calling for the withdrawal of our armed forces from Afghanistan. We are saddened and angry that there are now more troops there than ever.
"Obama talked about 'ending the war responsibly.' I think the word 'responsibly' is a weaselly escape hatch in case Obama doesn't want to withdraw more troops later. He will just say, 'That would be irresponsible -- I need to keep the war going strong.'
"This war causes the Afghan people to justifiably feel a greater hatred toward America. It makes American taxpayers poorer. And it emboldens other would-be aggressors, who can point to American intervention in Afghanistan whenever they feel like doing the same elsewhere.
"There are two big winners from the continuation of this war: Our military-industrial complex, which seems to have the president in its back pocket, and the Afghan government, which continues to enjoy tremendous benefits at the expense of the American taxpayer.
"If anything, Republican reactions to the president's speech were even more ridiculous than the speech itself. Republican Senator John McCain fretted that this withdrawal was not 'modest' enough. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, feeling the need to criticize Obama despite the fact that they basically agree on everything, complained of an 'arbitrary timetable.' Republican House Speaker John Boehner worried about losing our 'gains' in Afghanistan. All these comments show an inability to comprehend an intelligent, modest foreign policy, as well as a serious lack of respect for American taxpayers."
The Libertarian Party platform includes the following:
3.3 International Affairs
American foreign policy should seek an America at peace with the world. Our foreign policy should emphasize defense against attack from abroad and enhance the likelihood of peace by avoiding foreign entanglements. We would end the current U.S. government policy of foreign intervention, including military and economic aid. We recognize the right of all people to resist tyranny and defend themselves and their rights. We condemn the use of force, and especially the use of terrorism, against the innocent, regardless of whether such acts are committed by governments or by political or revolutionary groups.
For more information, or to arrange an interview, call LP Executive Director Wes Benedict at 202-333-0008 ext. 222.
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