Haley Barbour Calls For Cuts In Defense Spending, Reducing Afghan Committment
Haley Barbour is out in Iowa and taking a very different tack on national security matters than you usually see from Republicans:
DAVENPORT, Iowa — America should slash defense spending — and consider shrinking its presence in Afghanistan, Haley Barbour said Monday night.
Barbour, a likely candidate for president in 2012, told Iowa county leaders and activists here that the GOP won’t have any credibility on cutting spending if they’re not willing to trim the defense budget — often considered sacrosanct for Republicans.
“Anybody who says you can’t save money at the Pentagon has never been to the Pentagon,” the Mississippi governor said. “We can save money on defense and if we Republicans don’t propose saving money on defense, we’ll have no credibility on anything else.”
He also said that the U.S. should consider reducing the number of troops in Afghanistan. “I think we need to look at that,” he said when asked if the U.S. should scale back its presence.
But he said his reasoning isn’t financial.
“What is our mission?” Barbour said. “How many Al Qaeda are in Afghanistan. … Is that a 100,000-man Army mission?”
“I don’t think our mission should be to think we’re going to make Afghanistan an Ireland or an Italy” or a Western-style democracy, he said.
I’m not really much of a Barbour fan, and I doubt that he can go very far even in a Republican primary fight, I’ve got to say that I’m glad to see someone who has the potential to be a top-tier candidate bringing these issues up. If nothing else, it would seem to indicate that the neo-conservatives have lost their hold over foreign policy in the Republican Party, and that alone would be a good thing.