Bring troops home from Afghanistan, Bennet tells Club 20

Continued military operations in Afghanistan are likely to become counterproductive, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., told Club 20 on Saturday.

“It’s probably time to start withdrawing our folks from Afghanistan,” Bennet said to applause.

The military effort has caused serious damage to al-Qaida and to the Taliban, which has reacted with more vicious tactics against the populace, rendering the organizations less welcome than ever, making it difficult for leaders to reorganize, Bennet said.

At the same time, the United States is getting close to overstaying its welcome, Bennet said.

“We’ve done what we can do,” he said. “I think it’s time to bring our folks home.”

President Obama earlier this year began the withdrawal of 33,000 troops from Afghanistan, leaving 70,000, who are scheduled to be withdrawn altogether by 2014.

Bennet addressed a series of questions during his appearance before more than 200 people in the Colorado Mesa University Student Center.

He and Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., have agreed to conduct studies about how federal and state regulations handed down by the respective education departments actually play out in the classroom. Federal and state officials, while meaning well, have “absolutely no idea” when they promulgate regulations how they will affect school districts and teachers, Bennet said.

Bennet, a former superintendent of Denver Public Schools, also parted ways with a feature of modern education.

“There’s no reason we have to do as much testing as we’re doing,” he said.

Bennet voiced support for lowering the 35 percent corporate income tax along with closing loopholes.

He expressed doubts about a balanced-budget amendment. The nation should not tie its hands too tightly should it have to deal with an emergency or other circumstance, he said. The nation needs to come to grips with its budget woes, Bennet said.

“The federal budget today is bigger as a percentage of (Gross Domestic Product) than it has been in 30 years, and that’s a fact,” Bennet said. “And federal revenues are lower than they have been in 30 years, and that’s a fact.”


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