Sen. Michael Bennet breezed through town today, stopping at WestPac Restorations Inc. at 765 Aviation Way to speak with veterans and supporters of the National Museum of World War II Aviation housed there.
Reading from a prepared speech, Bennet said he supports the military but warned against overcommitting the armed forces in Afghanistan.
Bennet, trying to keep the seat to which he was appointed 18 months ago, acknowledged that eliminating al Qaeda from the region is essential to America's long-term security, but said he doesn't support calling on troops to make sense of the country after the U.S. mission is accomplished.
"Nation-building in Afghanistan would be an enormously costly venture, and I firmly believe we need to more tightly manage our charge in Afghanistan for the safety of our troops," he said. "We have to stay focused on our objectives so we can bring troops home as soon as we can."
Bennet says the nation should work to remove its dependence on foreign oil, most notably from nations that don't share the U.S.'s commitment to democracy. He noted the U.S. buys $44 billion worth of oil from Saudi Arabia, the home nation of most of the Sept. 11 terrorists, which comprises 7 percent of that nation's gross domestic product.
The senator, who is opposed in the November election by Republican Ken Buck, called for better treatment of veterans, saying, "The way we treat them will send a message to the next generation of recruits."
Bennet was in Durango yesterday and plans a stop in Denver tomorrow.