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    Is Norm Dicks Signaling a Sooner End to Military Action in Afghanistan?

    On June 11, 2011  Norm Dicks (D)  Washington State's 6th district told constituents through reporters at his local paper The Kitsap Sun, that it is time for Afghanistan to "take care of herself".  So the question becomes this, is Norm Dick signaling this administrations willingness to move up the timeline for removing troops from Afghanistan. Norm Dicks is a hawk, he is the senior democratic member of the defense appropriations committee and was Jack Murtha's right hand man and successor to head up the committee under a Democratic speaker. Norm has been in government a very long time and was a legislative and administrative assistant to Senator Warren G. Magnuson, who was a well-known hawk during Vietnam. Magnuson believed the US should stop the spread of communism. Norm like many others in congress supported military action in Afghanistan and Iraq, although he eventually changed his beliefs, not unlike Magnuson did about Vietnam later on in his career. What I wonder is if Norm Dicks is signaling to the American people, that  this administration has plans to end the conflict in Afghanistan sooner rather than later.

    Dicks said in the Kitsap Sun,

    "We are cutting a lot of important programs for the people of this country, people who are unemployed," he said Friday in a telephone interview with the Kitsap Sun. "If I'm going to spend money I'd rather spend it on trying to create jobs for these people through infrastructure expenditures."

    Does this mean the administration is ready to put together a firm timeline to withdraw from Afghanistan and they would be moving up the 2014 time line? Norm Dicks is a good Democrat and a very close ally of the Obama Administration, Leslie Gelb of the Daily beast seems to think so.  American's have turned against the Afghan war and it isn't politically tenable to not plan to withdraw from Afghanistan at this point. As we all know the Afghani's are as tired of us as we are of fighting an endless war there.

    On June 9th during a confirmation hearing in the senate he was cautious when describing his views on the Afghan war, but did say that he agreed with the President that troop withdrawal should begin next month and they should be significant withdrawals, although he added that the US should "provide sufficient stability so that the country never again becomes a safe haven for Al Qaeda or Al Qaeda’s militant allies."

    Aside from being a hawk at times Dicks is a reliable progressive and votes accordingly.

    Record of Norm's votes

    Norm's Progressive Action Score

    I am hoping Dick's is signaling that the time tables for withdrawing from Afghanistan will be pushed up significantly and that many of our troops will be coming home sooner rather than later.

    Cross-posted at The Angriest Liberal


    No one in DC is going to upset the Afghan war applecart with a major election next year, the deficit and the duplicity of Pak and Karzai not withstanding. Least of all O. Petraeus will get all the troops he asks for to keep the thing from collapse, at least until 2013.

    So you are refuting what Norm Dick's stated while talking to reporters?  And if you are refuting what he says do you have evidence of any kind that demonstrates otherwise?  Are you discounting out of hand the Daily Beast column by Gelb I linked to which seems to confirm what Dicks is saying. The Daily Beast article and Dicks' statements were both written the same day. Do you have other sources indicating otherwise?

    The President himself stated just one week ago that "we will begin a transition this summer. By killing bin Laden, by blunting the momentum of the Taliban, we have now accomplished a lot of what we set out to accomplish 10 years ago.”

    The only question remaining for serious students of the war is how many troops will the draw-down initially include and over what period of time will the draw-down take place. Will it be the full 30,000+ that Biden seems to be  pushing for or will it be the 15,000 or fewer troops that Defense Secretary Gates seems to find acceptable. But if you have some other evidence to offer, it would fascinating to read and I look forward to your providing those sources.

    Keep in mind, there is an election next year and the President and his staff recognize that the war in Afghanistan is not popular with Americans. Wouldn't it be in his best interest when it comes to the election to begin to withdraw troops from Afghanistan? The President seems to think the mission is clearly over.

    Lets see how many troops are home by Christmas. It would be nice to see 30K US troops leave Afghanistan with no US replacements by the end of this year.  Talk is cheap, especially from politicians. Yes Americans are sick of the war and have been for years, but O knows any signs the Taliban are getting their mojo back before 11/2012 will be exploited ruthlessly as a sign O 'cut and run', and isn't tough enough, by the GOP, OBL being gone notwithstanding.

    The political  risks of a quick drawdown to O are greater than the rewards given the GOP's proclivity to exploit anything to scare Americans and claim as they always do, and without any real proof, that Democrats are weak on defense. Also, O has pretty much given in to Petraeus on what P wants troop wise, we will have to see what develops.

    Yes NCD there great risks with a "too quick draw-down", and there are great political dangers by not indicating to the American people that this administration is serious about getting out of Afghanistan.

    I agree with you that the political risks are very great given the GOP's control of the meme that Democrats are weak on defense. But I don't know for a fact that the President has simply given in to Petraeus because I have no way of knowing the debate that goes on when he meets with his top advisers.  The President at this point in time seems to be indicating the mission is over. There is risk in a resurgence of the Taliban, but no greater than the risks that are posed by the many tribal lords who are vying for power in the Afghan nation-state.  Norm Dicks is a powerful congressman and close ally of the Presidents, his statements indicate to me that there will be larger withdrawals of troops than the military would like to see.  Of course we will not find out until July when the President makes his speech.

    Encouraging stuff. Thanks for highlighting it.

    Couple links of interest:

    Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), second in command in the Senate leadership Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and head of the DSCC Patty Murray (D-WA) have since signed.

    We must stay in Vietnam until our job is completed. Our President had a secret plan to get us out of there and now that he is in his second term, things look a lot better.

    The spread of communism world wide is the single biggest threat to our existence as a free nation.

    Monolithic communism will turn all humans into robots and without the full attention of President Nixon, we would have lost all our freedoms to Lenin and Marx and Mao and the rest of them.

    The traitors to our Constitution and our Flag would have us surrender like a pack of mongrel dogs and would have our nation's status in the world order.....

    Oh sorry Mac, wrong decade!

    I get so damn confused.


    In other words Richard, Stay The Course!

    We have made huge, meaningful progress, but it is fragile. It could be reversed in an Islamamabad minute, or two Islamammabad minutes. Less than three anyway, it could all fall apart real fast.  Think of how long it takes there to tell a lie, tip off a Taliban terrorist, sell nuclear weapon designs, or cash a blank $300 million dollar Pentagon check. Huge strides forward....but fragile....can't let up.

    We need the military and troops on the ground to ensure a political resolution, the war cannot be won on the battlefield.


    You act as if Muslimism/secularism/socialism......were just a joke!


    Islamamommadad is closer to Kalamazoo than I care to discuss. A menace indeed.  If we don't stop them in the hills of Wazooistan, where do we take a stand, do we just surrender?

    Its the Domino Affect! Dominos came from Asia, Right?



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