Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich says he thinks U.S. involvement in the region around Afghanistan may be risking the lives of young troops in a mission that "may not be doable."
Gingrich says the United States should reassess the region and ask whether there isn't "a harder, deeper problem" that can't be solved with military force on the scale the U.S. and its allies are willing to commit.
The former House speaker, speaking in separate interviews on CBS and Fox, said he reached his conclusion after learning that Pakistan had harbored Osama bin Laden for seven years outside a military city, and that their investigation resulted in punishing the people who assisted American intelligence, rather than those who made it possible for bin Laden to live undetected for so long.
Gingrich said the United State should offer condolences and compensation to the families of the estimated 16 victims and should openly and publicly recognize the incident as a terrible chapter in the war’s history.
Gingrich also said it’s time for the United States to pull out of the country.
“This is going to get much worse,” he said. “I don’t think we have the willpower or the capacity to do the things you have to do to fundamentally change the region.”
He continued, “Our being in the middle of countries like Afghanistan is probably counterproductive. We’re not prepared to be ruthless enough to force them to change. And yet we are clearly an alien presence.”
Regarding the presidential campaign, the third-place candidate said he does not believe he should quit the race to better conservative Rick Santorum’s chances of winning the nomination.
“I have significant differences with Sen. Santorum,” he said. “All conservatives aren’t the same. We’re different kinds of people. I represent the Reagan tradition of very large ideas. He represents being a team player on a Washington team. It’s not the same kind of conservatism.”
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