All right. Let's take a couple of minutes and talk about
. This is the other big debate that is really coming to a head this summer. You two are on opposite ends of it in terms of how many
should come home when this drawdown begins this summer, specifically next month. But, Senator
, it's very interesting because, within the
, there is a growing debate about
as well. Crystallized,
, you said he's the front- runner in the Republican race in the past and he said this...
's role in
during the debate this week. Listen.
FMR. GOV. MITT ROMNEY (R-MA):
But I also think we've learned that our
shouldn't go off and try to fight a
war of independence
. Only the
To which you said he may be another
. You said this about another Republican.
Well, I said that the debate last night was more like
. If you think the pathway to the
is to get to
's left on
, you're going to meet a lot of headwinds. This is not a war of Afghan
my point of view
. This is the center of gravity against
the war on terror
. It is in our
interest to make sure the
never come back. If we fail in
, they will kill every moderate who tried to help us, and no one in the future will, will step up. It will destabilize
beyond what exists today. It will be a colossal
mistake. And here's the good news. The Afghans do not want to be ruled by the
. We've doubled training capacity since
. There'll be 305,000 Afghans under arms.
We're making great progress, 6,000 people a month are joining the
...it was 800. We're on track to do -- to withdraw.
Are you fearful that there is an isolationist streak now running through the
Yes. I'm fearful that...
It's not war weariness?
...there are forces on the right...
It's not a practical response to a decade of war?
It's not an understanding of what's going on in
and the consequences of losing. Are we at war and, if we are, with you? We're at war with
. That fight is now in
has put the enemy on their heels. We're doubling the capacity to train the Afghan
. We can bring some
home this summer. By
, if we do this right, five years from now, we can have
, the same number as
. If we accelerate withdrawal right now because we're war weary, we're going to lose this war.
Let me give you the final word, Senator
. There is a split, based on my reporting, between the military and some
and even some of the thinking within the
about how to draw down this number. What, in your mind, is an appropriate and sizeable withdrawal from
? You were very clear in a letter this week saying, after
, after the diminishment of
, it is time to make a sizeable withdrawal.
circulated that letter, and I believe 26 or 27 of us signed that, to the president. I can tell you,
, when I voted 10 years ago against the invasion of
, there were 23 of us. I voted for the invasion of
to go after those responsible for 9/11. I didn't vote for the
. I didn't vote for 100,000
10 years later in
and a notion that somehow we're going to build this into some
that's a democracy. What we need to do is to have enough security on the ground in
that we can bring our
home. The president made that promise. We should keep that promise. Bring these
home and let the Afghans deal with the future of their country.
The United States
cannot literally go from one country to another around the world with all the instability and say that, ultimately, our men and women in uniform will put their lives on the line for the stability of every
All right. I'm going to leave it there. The debate continues. Senators, thank you both very much.