One of Mitt Romney’s foreign policy advisers this morning in a conference call with reporters promised that the presumptive GOP presidential nominee would clearly articulate his Afghanistan policy in a major foreign policy speech today before the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Romney and his campaign surrogates have either been all over the map on Afghanistan or failed to contrast Romney’s policy from the Obama administration’s. But today didn’t turn out to be any different. In his speech this afternoon — which contained little substance and was full of oft-repeated untruths — Romney chose to side with much of what President Obama has already proposed:
I have been critical of the President’s decision to withdraw the surge troops during the fighting season, against the advice of the commanders on the ground. President Obama would have you believe that anyone who disagrees with his decisions is arguing for endless war. But the route to more war — and to potential attacks here at home — is a politically timed retreat.
As president, my goal in Afghanistan will be to complete a successful transition to Afghan security forces by the end of 2014. I will evaluate conditions on the ground and solicit the best advice of our military commanders. And I will affirm that my duty is not to my political prospects, but to the security of the nation.
President Obama has also said he plans to withdraw U.S. troops by the end of 2014. There is one slight difference in Romney’s plan. He would complete the withdrawal the surge troops in December of this year, instead of September.
“Unlike Barack Obama,” Romney adviser Alex Wong said on the call this morning, Romney “would look to a successful transition to the Afghan security forces based on the ground and the best advice from military commanders.”