Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said Washington is now living with the consequences of a “couple of irreversible errors” on Iraq, which also foretell the result of the administration’s policy on Afghanistan withdrawal.
“I mean, the tragedy that’s going to unfold in Iraq is one of two things, is we’re going to have Americans put at risk again because we didn’t leave a residual force there,” Coburn said this morning on MSNBC. “And all you had to do is look at post-1950 in Korea and post-World War II in Europe, and the stabilization of the presence of our troops has a large impact in terms of people’s behavior.”
“So we’re either going to do that or a lot of people are going to die and you’re going to see it — this continuing worsening conflict throughout the Middle East,” he added.
“You know, we have now telegraphed the exact same thing to happen in Afghanistan that’s happening in Iraq right now with the idea that we’re going to take troops out, we’re going to leave no residual — I mean, it — none of it makes sense.”
Coburn said polling on keeping U.S. forces in Afghanistan doesn’t matter as the issue isn’t properly conveyed to the public by leaders. “Had you spoken about the importance of protecting America — you know, this is really about us now. This is about putting our country at high risk again,” he said.
“You know, sitting on the Intel Committee, I can tell you that what we need is leadership to explain the importance of why we want to stop the terrorism, al-Qaeda and the Taliban, throughout the Middle East and everywhere else they are,” Coburn continued. “Because ultimately it’s going to land on our shores if we don’t. And not leading to explain that. And you know, real leadership is doing the right best thing for the country even when the public isn’t with you, and trying to win them over and then suffering the consequences if you didn’t but still doing the right thing.”
“And we’ve not done that.”