Brooks and Tumulty on earmarks, Afghanistan withdrawal, NYC mayor’s race

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David Brooks:

Right.

And every — everybody honors those who serve, and nobody takes their sacrifice lightly. But they’re not in combat roles primarily. They — we haven’t had many casualties at all in the last year. They’re mostly in training and support roles. But, even in those roles, they seemed to have enough influence, along with the other NATO troops, to keep the country relatively — by Afghan standards, relatively stable.

And so, to me, it’s a trade-off worth making, like any other use of force around the world that America has ever done. We weigh the benefits and the costs. And I think it’s worth the cost.

But what Karen says is absolutely true. That country is sick of all this. And I worry about that a little. I understand the exhaustion with the forever war. But America has been, in the post-war era, the superpower. And we have gone in and stabilized places. We have done a lot, made horrible mistakes in Vietnam and Iraq, obviously.

But we have kept troops in Germany for a reason. We have kept troops in Korea for a reason. We have kept troops. And are we going to continue to play that role or not? We’re clearly going to scale it back. How much?

Even the story earlier in the program on Haiti, if Haiti is asking us to come in to stabilize Haiti, is that our role anymore? It used to be you had some sense of where America’s posture was. I don’t think I have a sense of where American’s posture is right now.

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