Democratic Senate candidate Alan A. Khazei ’83 announced his opposition to proposals that would send more troops to Afghanistan and challenged his audience to envision a new course for U.S. involvement yesterday afternoon at the Barker Center.
Khazei, who seeks to fill the position vacated by the late Massachusetts Senator Edward M. Kennedy ‘54-56, outlined his 10-point plan for Afghanistan, which recommended returning to the original mission of destroying Al-Qaeda terrorist organizations, slowly recalling troops, establishing a timetable to transfer power to the Afghani government, and focusing on the threat posed by terrorist organizations as well as nuclear arms development in Pakistan.
“If you don’t believe in open-ended involvement, fighting, or prolonged counterinsurgency efforts, I want to provide you with a choice in this election and the opportunity to weigh in on the administration’s progress,” Khazei said. “We must fundamentally change our approach and bring our troops home.”
Khazei said that over time, the U.S. has strayed too far from its mission of fighting Al-Qaeda terrorism in Afghanistan, damaging relations overseas, and hurting its citizens domestically.
“The choices in Afghanistan are not easy. But with the right strategy, we can reinforce our mission and succeed in our fight against Al-Qaeda,” he added.
Khazei defended his emphasis on the war in Afghanistan and argued that it is currently the biggest threat to the U.S.
He said that the war has extensive consequences on domestic affairs, in addition to the loss of life incurred on the battlefield.
“The tremendous cost of this war will also be paid in larger taxes, slowed-down growth, and the inability to pay for jobs and education because we are spending the money on a bad bet in Afghanistan,” he said.
Members of the Harvard Republican Club said that they had a different position on the issue from Khazei.
“We as Republicans believe that the fight in Afghanistan is well worth the time of the United States and our military forces there, and it is something that we must commit to fully if we want to succeed,” said Colin J. Motley ’10, president of the HRC.
When asked by an audience member to explain the differences between himself and fellow Democratic Senate candidates, Khazei said that his background and comprehensive strategies distinguish him from his opponents.
“I’m the only movement builder in the race. That’s the vision I take to the Senate. It can’t be done by a single senator,” Khazei said. “We need citizen movement. I know how to coordinate that.”
“It’s an ongoing journey to form a more perfect union,” Khazei said.
A poll released earlier this month by the New England College Polling Institute in Springfield showed Khazei in fourth place with the support of just four percent of respondents.