Republican Barbara Boxer-challenger Chuck DeVore wrote an Opinion in the Washington Times this morning in which he discusses the need for a conservative foreign policy based on more than simple opposition to Obama. His recommendation focuses on the need for modernizing the military through research, technology, and more effective spending. Overall, he plays a realist tone — basing power on military, economic, and political strength.
His points on modernization of the military are pretty uncontroversial, but what can raise an eyebrow or two is his position on Afghanistan, where he says:
“As a result of culture and geography, Mr. Obama’s Afghan surge will likely fall short of its objectives while spending $40 billion per year. Employing conventional forces in pursuit of terrorists and guerrilla forces is always an expensive proposition. Attempting to build nations on soil not yet fertile to the concepts of democracy and national unity is even more problematic. Neither is needed to produce the result we want: deadly consequences for attacking Americans. This can be done with special forces, drones and better human intelligence.” (emphasis added)
His objective in Afghanistan (“the result we want”) is “deadly consequences for attacking Americans.” For that, he says, we do not need to “employ conventional forces.”
In light of the Christmas Day Crotch bomber, where the reports indicate that the suspect attempted to blow himself up, I find it surprising that DeVore would consider “deadly consequences” as the objective for the American military in Afghanistan. Moreover, suicide attacks and attempted suicide attacks in Afghanistan against American soldiers number in the hundreds annually. Hence, many terrorists are not deterred by the threat of retaliation. Deadly consequences are not our objective, but rather, they are the objective of the enemy. If his “result we want” is questionable, then so are his recommended tactics for achieving that objective (special forces, drones, intelligence, not more conventional troops).
Given DeVore’s support from the conservative grassroots, his non-interventionist position could indicate a switch in party position as President Obama is approaching a year of ownership of this war. Liberal Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer also opposes the Afghan surge. His primary opponent, Carly Fiorina — who is often called a “RINO” — supports the president’s surge. The Republican consensus thus far has been to support the surge.
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