When asked by Rachel Maddow, “Why isn’t [the Afghanistan war] over? Why can’t presidents of very different parties and very different temperaments get us out of there? And how could you?” Ryan had a ready, pre planned scripted answer:
I appreciate that question. So I—I’ve been in Congress 17 years and 12 of those years I’ve sat on the Armed Services Committee either the Defense Appropriations Committee or the Armed Services Committee. And the lesson that I’ve learned over the years is that you have to stay engaged in these situations. Nobody likes it. It’s long. It’s tedious.
Ryan didn’t answer the question. He didn’t talk of American goals, exit strategies or cost. Instead he was defending a war that is in its 18th year which has no end in site. A war in which we just lost two more - bringing the total to 3,551 Americans. No policy statement. No stance on the subject. Just we need to do more of the same - that I have done for the last 17 years.
And Tulsi Gabbard offered the best foreign policy statement of the night:
Is that what you will tell the parents of those two soldiers who were just killed in Afghanistan? Well, we just have to be engaged? As a soldier, I will tell you that answer is unacceptable. We have to bring our troops home from Afghanistan…We have spent so much money. Money that’s coming out of every one of our pockets…We are no better off in Afghanistan today than we were when this war began. This is why it is so important to have a president — commander in chief who knows the cost of war and is ready to do the job on day one.
This is what the Democratic party needs more of – simple, direct and common sense policy. You want to win against Trump – that is how you do it.