Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.), however, received the first applause of the night when he forcefully called for withdrawal:
[Bin Laden] wasn't caught in Afghanistan. Nation-building in Afghanistan and telling those people how to live and getting involved in running their country hardly had anything to do with finding the information where he was being held in a country that we give billions of dollars of foreign aid to, at the same time we are bombing that country.
So it's the policy that is at fault. Not having the troops in Afghanistan wouldn't have hurt. We went to Afghanistan to get him, and he hasn't been there. Now that he's killed, boy, it is a wonderful time for this country now to reassess it, get the troops out of Afghanistan and end that war that hasn't helped us and hasn't helped anybody in the Middle East.
Businessman Herman Cain's answer on Afghanistan was less clear. He said he doesn't have a plan, because it's not clear what the mission is, what the U.S. interest there is or what the "road map to victory" is. At the same time, Cain did not outline his own vision, simply saying he would "revisit the issue."
Former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson has been an advocate for withdrawal from Afghanistan, and he repeated his position during the debate.
"Are you worried about providing a specific end date and that possibly would enable the Taliban to move in the day after the U.S. troops left?" asked Baier.
"First of all, I'm not in favor of a timetable. I'm in belief that timetable should be tomorrow. I realize that tomorrow may involve several months," said Johnson.
He added that unlike the Iraq war, he originally supported the invasion of Afghanistan.
"We were attacked. We attacked back," said Johnson. "That's what our military is for, and after six months, I think we pretty effectively had taken care of al Qaeda. But that was 10 years ago. We are building roads, schools, bridges and highways in Iraq and Afghanistan and borrowing 43 cents out of every dollar do that. In my opinion, this is crazy."
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