In the wake of the killing of Osama Bin Laden, the House came closer than it ever has to voting for an end to the war in Afghanistan today when a bipartisan amendment that would have required President Obama to submit a timetable for withdrawal failed by just 12 votes, netting approval from 26 Republicans.
But some Republicans were not pleased with the vote. Tea Party firebrand Rep. Allen West (R-FL) — a retired Army officer who was discharged after shooting at an unarmed detainee in Iraq — denounced the amendment, telling the Miami Herald that his anti-war colleagues should “get shot” to understand the true threat of the Taliban:
“Is the Taliban still fighting? I spent 2.5 years in Afghanistan. Just because you kill Osama bin Laden does not mean that the Taliban has stopped fighting,” he said. “Now can we fight a little smarter? Absolutely.”
Asked about efforts to curb U.S. involvement, West said, “I would take these gentlemen over and let them get shot at a few times and maybe they’d have a different opinion.”
With the tragic shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) still fresh in Americans’ minds, West’s comments are especially irresponsible. But perhaps this should be expected from West. In January, he criticized Obama for traveling to Afghanistan with a security detail, saying, “[I]f I’m asking my young men and women to go out there and put their lives on the line, I should be willing and able to do the exact same thing.” West also had no problem hiring right-wing Florida radio host Joyce Kaufman to be his chief of staff, even after she proclaimed at a Tea Party rally, “if ballots don’t work, bullets will.”