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Pin the War on Your Opponent

Author: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, Senior Fellow for Women and Foreign Policy
October 12, 2012
Foreign Policy


In a remarkable act of 'pin the war on your opponent' Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday evening worked to portray Paul Ryan as the candidate most in favor of continuing the unpopular fight in Afghanistan, a conflict President Barack Obama once called the "war that has to be won" and to which he added 33,000 American soldiers.

Biden said that Ryan and his GOP running mate Mitt Romney support a timeline for drawdown of the remaining troops in Afghanistan that is based on conditions on the ground. And then he proceeded to ridicule that idea.

"My friend and the governor say it's based on conditions, which means 'it depends,'" said Biden of the Afghan war's promised 2014 end. "It does not depend for us. It is the responsibility of the Afghans to take care of their own security."

"Our goal should be to complete a successful transition to Afghan security forces by the end of 2014," Romney said in September. "We should evaluate conditions on the ground and solicit the best advice of our military."

Ryan Thursday tried to defend his ticket's position and clarified that "we don't want to extend beyond 2014." Instead, he said, he and Romney want to be certain that American troops still in the field have enough strength in numbers to pursue their fight.

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