Like Elaine Marshall in North Carolina, Ann McLane Kuster – longtime community activist, attorney, author and advocate running in a Democratic primary for the House seat Paul Hodes is vacating in New Hampshire – is against the escalation in Afghanistan. (Full disclosure: I’ve been consulting for the Kuster campaign for the last few weeks.)
While describing herself as "very loyal" to President Obama in general, Ann McLane Kuster said that she had disagreed with the policy of increasing troops in Afghanistan as part of a "failed mindset" towards the conflict. "I don’t believe this is the best way to protect U.S. citizens," said Kuster. "I am convinced that we need to focus on better coordinating our intelligence capabilities against Al-Qaeda rather than building up our troop presence. We need to develop a more nimble approach and not get bogged down in large, long-term military endeavors."
By contrast, her opponent in the Democratic primary, Katrina Swett – wife of former congressman Dick Swett and co-chair of Joe Lieberman’s 2004 campaign for President and supporter of his 2006 campaign for Senate as an independent – said this:
Swett said that she had supported a temporary troop surge policy as a way of stabilizing and strengthening Afghanistan and giving the Karzai government a chance to succeed. She emphasized the geopolitical importance of the conflict due to its proximity to a nuclear armed Pakistan. "It would be unthinkable for the Pakistan nuclear arsenal to fall into the hands of terrorists," said Swett.
As I noted yesterday, it’s great to hear candidates standing up against our current policy in Afghanistan. It takes courage to speak your mind on this issue, and my hat is off to Kuster for acknowledging that military force is not going to win us anything in Afghanistan, and indeed our focus on troop buildups and COIN tactics are diverting our attention from actually keeping us safe.
So if you’ve got $5 to spare, throw it Kuster’s way to help support a strong progressive candidate standing up to the status quo in Afghanistan that’s only pushing us deeper in debt and costing us the lives of our soldiers.