Coffman: U.S. needs to scale back in Afghanistan

Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman says the United States should not be involved in “nation-building” in Afghanistan.

The former Marine says we have a role there, but it is not to try and build a Western-style government or Western-style economy.

According to an editorial in today’s Pueblo Chieftain, Coffman thinks it is time to begin ratcheting back the U.S. presence in the country.

He criticizes the president for trying to create an Afghanistan that has never existed and that is not desired by Afghans.

The Chieftain quotes him to the effect that the Republican takeover of Congress could strengthen President Obama’s hand in keeping a major presence in the country.

Coffman wrote in The Denver Post Sunday that the U.S. needs a thoughtful approach to Afghanistan. The Chieftain says he may press for cuts in the military budget as a way to force a leaner presence in Afghanistan.

In a related interview with MSNBC, Coffman said we need a presence in Afghanistan but that we cannot reshape the country to fit American ideas.

He also said the military needs to do a better job of vetting Muslim soldiers to ensure that the military is not infiltrated by radical elements.

Asked if we also need to investigate Christian soldiers to ensure that radical Christians don’t pose a threat, he dodged the question several times.

“The mission of the military is to defend democracy, but I don’t know if the mission is to practice it,” he said, adding that we cannot “sacrifice lives at the altar of political correctness.”

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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