Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney addressed the National Guard Association Conference in Reno Nevada. Mitt Romney began the speech by thanking members of the National Guard Association for their service. Mr. Romney referred to the Guard’s participation in Louisiana, Iraq, Afghanistan, then on 9/11. He continued by then adding that today was not a day to speak on his or President Obama’s proposals for the United States military.
“With less than two months to go before Election Day, I would normally speak to a gathering like this about the differences between my and my opponent’s plans for our military and for our national security,” Mr. Romney said. “There is a time and a place for that, but this day is not it.”
After making statements on why it is important for U.S. military forces to be stronger than ever, Mr. Romney proposed a broad timetable to hand over control to the Afghan military and essentially relieve American troops of fighting the war in Afghanistan.
“While the war in Iraq is over, nearly 70,000 American troops still remain in Afghanistan,” Mr. Romney said. “Our goal should be to complete a successful transition to Afghan security forces by the end of 2014.”
In February 2012, ABC News reported that Mr. Romney criticized Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta’s public announcement of a planned end to the U.S. combat role in Afghanistan by 2013.
“He announced that. He announced that. So the Taliban hears it, the Pakistanis hear it, the Afghan leaders hear it,“ Mr. Romney reportedly said. “Why in the world do you go to the people that you’re fighting with and tell them the date you’re pulling out your troops? It makes absolutely no sense.”
Mr. Romney also criticized President Obama’s announcement of a troop withdrawal from Afghanistan on MittRomney.com. However, last month, Mr. Romney told Time Magazine that he supported a troop withdrawal by 2014.
“I concurred with his decision to add surge troops to Afghanistan,” Mr. Romney said. “I also concur with the timetable of bringing our troops home by the end of 2014.”
Mr. Romney continued by arguing that he would have not shared that information publicly. Isn’t announcing Mr. Romney’s support for a troop withdrawal by 2014 to Time magazine and the National Guard Association making Mr. Romney’s position public? If he wanted to keep a troop withdrawal secret, why doesn’t he stay neutral or against the proposed 2014 troop withdrawal, so in the event he is elected president, he could work to change the withdrawal date and keep the new date a secret?
These statements come after being heavily criticized for failing to mention Afghanistan during the Republican National Convention.
Mr. Romney went on to emphasize his campaign’s position on defense budget cuts.
“Of course, the return of our troops cannot and must not be used as an excuse to hollow out our military through devastating defense budget cuts,” Mr. Romney said.
The same defense budget cuts for which Mr. Romney’s running mate, Vice Presidential candidate, Paul Ryan voted for and praised on the House of Representatives floor.