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Elaine Marshall – Democratic nominee for Senate, against the Afghanistan war

Elaine Marshall won her primary Tuesday night against Cal Cunningham in North Carolina, making her the Democratic nominee to take on wingnut and arch-incumbent Richard Burr. Marshall’s issues pages are full of strong, progressive and populist stances like standing against Social Security cuts, pushing for a jobs bill, supporting a public option, and repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and DOMA. But one issue stands out – her stance on the war in Afghanistan.

Here’s her statement in full – it’s worth reading in its entirety:

When I made the decision to run for U. S. Senate, I did so because I believe our nation is headed in the wrong direction. In 2008, we voted for change, but, judging from the debate on Capitol Hill, all we are getting is more of the same. To get the change we need, will take leaders with experience and a track record of results, but who have a perception of the world that is not tainted by the attitudes fostered by years of beltway thinking.

As a former small business owner and attorney in domestic cases, I’ve seen, firsthand, the hardship visited on our families during tough economic times: families disintegrate when there are no jobs, no hope, and no future. Therefore, I agree with President Obama that the nation I’m most interested in rebuilding is our own. The war in Afghanistan, though, is diverting our attention and reducing the resources we need to solve our own problems. here at home.

I acknowledge that there are no easy answers in Afghanistan and I respect the time and consideration that the President took in making his decision. However, I disagree that now is the time to commit 30,000 additional men and women to prop up a corrupt government that has shown no real effort to reform itself. The mission that we are about to undertake has too much to do with building a nation that has not had a stable or responsible government in decades and too little to do with keeping us safe at home.

Our goal should be to stop terrorists who threaten our country wherever they are and we should identify, capture or kill them and using force when necessary. Right now though, the greatest threat to the United States and the rest of the region is the growing instability in Pakistan. The country harbors the most dangerous mix of terrorists and nuclear weapons in the world. Our efforts should be there, using political and diplomatic pressure on the Pakistani government to root out and destroy the remaining Al Qaeda elements that have sought harbor in their borderlands.

Failed states provide havens and training grounds for terrorists. However, these states have rarely, if ever, been “fixed” by the foreign powers. They have only been made stable by long-term, expensive occupations that, more often than not, eventually fail. That is not the route we should take in Afghanistan.

Few candidates for any national office are willing to speak the truth about our failing war in Afghanistan – that it’s robbing this country of much-needed resources chasing a fools’ errand. Even few candidates for Senate will stand up and say these things, much less put them in print on their websites. And almost none of those that do end up being the Democratic nominee for the job.

The situation in the Senate isn’t much better. On May 27th, the Senate passed a supplemental spending bill to fund the war and only two Democratic Senators – Senators Feingold and Wyden – voted against.

Marshall is taking a courageous stand here, but she’s also taking the right stand. This war won’t end well, it will continue to be unbelievably expensive, and it will continue to kill unacceptable numbers of Afghan civilians and U.S. soldiers alike. Marshall is statistically tied with Burr in the polls right now – she’s got a real shot to win in November. Here’s to her victory and to putting one more Afghanistan war skeptic in the Senate, so we can bring this conflict to a responsible and swift close.

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Jason Rosenbaum

Jason Rosenbaum

Writer, musician, activist. Currently consulting for Bill Halter for U.S. Senate and a fellow at the New Organizing Institute.

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