WASHINGTON -- Jon Huntsman wants U.S. forces out of Afghanistan "fast," he said in an interview aired on National Public Radio Monday morning, when asked what the difference is between his approach and that of President Obama's.
"He's listening to the generals on the ground and he's taking a go-slow approach," Huntsman said. "I want to get out fast."
Though the U.S. military is, according to the Constitution, under civilian control, Republican presidential candidates, with the exception of Ron Paul, have generally urged deference to the commanders on the ground. Huntsman's willingness to override their cautious advice sets him apart from the field. (As does appearing this morning on NPR, a station that has been a target of Republican attacks the past year.)
"It's time to get out," Huntsman said, noting that the Taliban have been expelled from power and that Osama bin Laden has been killed.
While large majorities of Americans want troops out of both Afghanistan and Iraq, the GOP's presidential candidates have taken a more hawkish approach.
At a debate over the weekend, Texas Gov. Rick Perry suggested sending troops back to Iraq.
"I would send troops back into Iraq," he said. "I think we start talking with the Iraqi individuals there. The idea that we allow the Iranians to come back into Iraq and take over that country, with all of the treasure, both in blood and money, that we have spent in Iraq -- because this president wants to kowtow to his liberal leftist base, and move out those men and women. He could have renegotiated that time frame. I think it is a huge error for us."