Colorado’s Senate candidate Ken Buck (R) offered several nuggets of wisdom concerning his policy positions this year. On reproductive rights: “I don’t believe in the exceptions of rape or incest” for abortion procedures. On religious freedom: “I disagree strongly with the concept of separation of church and state.” And on climate change: “Global warming is the greatest hoax.”
During a debate with his Democratic opponent Michael Bennet last week, Buck announced another firm view on a salient policy issue: the Afghanistan war. Believing “we have the wrong policy in Afghanistan” and that “it is a mistake to set a timetable to tell your enemy when you’re leaving,” Buck outlined his three “goals” for the region. The first goal, he said, is to make Afghanistan as safe as the terrorist safe havens in Somalia and Yemen:
BUCK: The first thing I think we need to do is to make sure that Afghanistan is not a safe haven for terrorists. And when I say safe haven, I’m not talking about that there isn’t a possibility of a terrorist in Afghanistan. I’m saying that when you look at other countries similarly situated — Somalia, Yemen, other countries — that Afghanistan is at least as safe as those countries.
Buck’s standard is certainly perplexing considering that the terrorist activity in Somalia and Yemen practically make them the antonym of “safe haven.” With “no effective government” in place, Somalia has long been an “attractive location for terrorists,” including al Qaeda members.
More than 1.5 million Somalians “have been displaced as a direct result of the terrorist activities.” Yemen is also “a major new battleground for al-Qaeda.” Beginning with the suicide bombing of the U.S.S. Cole, the burgeoning al-Qaeda franchise in Yemen has executed a series of terrorist attacks that put it “at the forefront of the next wave of jihad.” As if to underscore the point, the same week Buck dubbed Yemen a model example, the U.S. uncovered a terrorist plot involving packages containing explosives on U.S.-bound cargo planes originating from Yemen.