Politics

GOP Presidential Candidate Jon Huntsman Questions War in Afghanistan

| by Reason Foundation

The number of GOP presidential contenders who are not absolutely gung-ho about the war in Afghanistan grew by one this morning. Former Utah Governor/ambassador to China/prog-rock keyboardist Jon Huntsman questioned the quagmire during an interview with Good Morning America:

George Stephanopoulos: You also said, in the event, that a draw-down in Afghanistan is inevitable. So would you begin it today?

Jon Huntsman: I would tell you that we have to evaluate very carefully our presence in Afghanistan. And my inclination would be to say that it is a heavy and very expensive presence we have on the ground. That at a point in time where we need to be looking at our asymmetrical threats, what we have in Afghanistan today is not consistent with how we ought to be responding.

Huntsman's reticence puts him in the company of Representative Ron Paul and Governor Gary Johnson, who both want to bring our boys and girls home tomorrow, and former restaurant executive Herman Cain, who says he doesn’t “understand the mission” in Afghanistan. Matthew Yglesias points out that Huntsman is also opposed to our new foreign adventure in Libya, and concludes

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This judge looked an inmate square in the eyes and did something that left the entire courtroom in tears:

Hopefully Huntsman’s decision to inject a traditional realist perspective into the debate and argue from a progressive perspective against the wastage of funds on military pursuits at a time of fiscal austerity will widen the range of perspectives under consideration in Washington.

That war is stupidly expensive is no more the best argument for warring less than the fact that deficits threaten our economic stability is the best argument for government doing less, but it is a good enough argument for the increasing number of Americans who aren't committed to Afghanistan one way or the other, and one that's safe for conservatives to make in the company of other conservatives now that Osama bin Laden is dead.