Anti-war congressmen looking to capitalize on Bin Laden killing

“Obviously, the operation that was successful did not require the military occupation of a nation,” said Tom Andrews, the former Maine congressman who directs Win Without War. “It required good intelligence. It required the capacity to execute a precision-based operation. And it demonstrates the sort of precision needed to fight terrorism. This is coming on the eve of the decision of the president to do an accelerated transition from Afghanistan.”

The advocates of a quicker withdrawal are not necessarily doves. Only one member of Congress had opposed the legislation that started the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan. (That member, Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Ca., said on Monday she was “hopeful these developments will help to accelerate an end to the war in Afghanistan and the implementation of a smart security strategy.”) The rest of the members who are looking for an exit explain their objection in cost terms, or realpolitik terms (about the folly of remaking Afghanistan with military force and aid)…

What was the mission of the war, and what’s been the lesson of it? The Afghanistan hawk’s case would have been easier to make had Osama Bin Laden been caught in the country. He wasn’t. Afghanistan didn’t remain a “safe haven” for him—he found a safe haven in an ally of the United States, one that collects $3 billion of foreign aid every year.

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