By “Dem Rep,” Hot Air readers already know I mean Betty McCollum, the Congresswoman from Minnesota’s 4th CD. Usually, McCollum sounds a lot more like Nancy Pelosi, but in her debate with Teresa Collett on October 21st, McCollum began channeling her inner Barbara Boxer. While dismissing al-Qaeda as a threat to our national security, McCollum instead spoke at length about what she sees as a serious security threat to the United States:
Undoubtedly, the Pentagon has probably spent considerable time gaming out these scenarios. They game out lots of scenarios. That doesn’t make them likely to happen. I’m sure that somewhere in the files of the DoD is an action plan in case of invasion from Canada, even though the only threat our great friends and neighbors pose is to the security of the Stanley Cup. (They almost certainly consider us a similar threat.)
We face a number of threats to our national security. Carbon dioxide is among the least of them, if one at all.
Also, McCollum finally responded to the avalanche of criticism over her dismissal of AQ as a serious national-security threat:
During a League of Women Voters debate in St. Paul on October 21, the moderator posed a question about U.S. policy in Afghanistan and Iraq. In her answer, Congresswoman Betty McCollum articulated her support for a responsible withdrawal of U.S. combat forces from Afghanistan. She stated that America went to war in Afghanistan to prevent al-Qaeda from planning and executing terrorists attacks on the United States from within Afghanistan. The Congresswoman noted that U.S. intelligence officials have said publicly they no longer believe al-Qaeda operatives within Afghanistan pose a threat to the United States since the number of al-Qaeda operatives within Afghanistan is now less than 100. (see citations below)
There is no question that al-Qaeda still poses a serious threat to the United States. That threat now emanates from within countries such as Pakistan and Yemen, and even from would-be terrorists within the U.S. who are inspired to violence by al-Qaeda. However, due to the courage and effectiveness of America’s military men and women and America’s NATO partners, al-Qaeda’s ability to attack U.S. citizens from inside Afghanistan has been greatly diminished, if not eliminated. For this reason, the Congresswoman supports an end to full-scale combat operations and a shift to a long-term counter-terrorism mission that will prevent al-Qaeda from re-establishing safe-havens from which to attack the United States.
I hate to break this to Ms. McCollum, but we’re fighting in Afghanistan because of the AQ threat in Pakistan. Withdrawing from Afghanistan removes the only way we can pressure the central AQ organization militarily. This explanation either suggests that McCollum doesn’t realize that Pakistan borders Afghanistan or still doesn’t take the threat seriously at all.