A Democrat who’s running for the U.S. Senate says it’s time to pull U.S. forces out of Afghanistan rather than send more in, as President Obama — a fellow Democrat — intends to do. Democrat Bob Krause of Fairfield served 28 years in the U.S. Army Reserve and he continues to serve as chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party’s Veterans Caucus while he campaigns for Iowa’s U.S. Senate seat.
“I’m opposed to the escalation and I think we need to put together a plan to get out of Afghanistan,” Krause says. According to Krause, U.S. troops being dispatched to Afghanistan are being sent into the middle of a civil war.) “Years ago the British divided the tribal area of the Pashtun Region in half,” Krause says.
“Half of it was British and half of it was under the Soviet sphere of influence and that has been a sore, festering line that has greatly contributed to the unrest in Afghanistan.” Injecting more U.S. troops to build up the central government in Afghanistan prompts neighboring Pakistan to fear a stronger Afghan government and Afghan security forces will move to reclaim Pashtun areas that are currently part of Pakistan.
“This has a destabilizing effect on a long-time ally. Pakistan has been an American ally since at least 1954 during the Cold War,” Krause says. “And (Pakistan is) also nuclear-equipped and that’s something that you really don’t want to destabilize.” Krause grew up in northwest Iowa and has retired in southeast Iowa after a wide-ranging career, including work as a consultant for defense contractors.
Krause says he fears the “escalation” in U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan will happen too slowly to be effective in accomplishing the Pentagon’s war aims. “But having said that I think it would be a mistake even to do a fast one,” Krause says. “I think part of the problem is, frankly, that there are too many hold-overs from the previous administration in the Pentagon and they’ve boxed the thinking, so that President Obama has not been presented with a true, geopolitical picture of what will happen as a side-effect of his build-up.”
According to Krause, a destabilized Afghanistan and Pakistan could be a greater threat to the U.S. than al-Qaeda. Krause launched a campaign this past March for the Iowa Democratic Party’s nomination for the U.S. Senate, the chance to face-off against Republican Senator Chuck Grassley in 2010. Krause faces two other Democrats in the June primary — Tom Fiegan, an attorney from Clarence, and Roxanne Conlin, an attorney from Des Moines.