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Huntsman weighs in on Afghanistan, Libya

Soon-to-be declared presidential candidate Jon Huntsman wasn’t on the stage on Monday when some of his 2012 rivals responded to questions about US military operations overseas, but the former Utah governor is making a splash today with his call for an end to American involvement in Libya and Afghanistan.

In an exclusive interview with Esquire - excerpts of which were released today - the former Utah governor says the prolonged US involvement in Afghanistan doesn’t “serve our strategic interests” and says of the intervention in Libya “we just can’t afford it.”

From Esquire:

"If you can't define a winning exit strategy for the American people, where we somehow come out ahead, then we're wasting our money, and we're wasting our strategic resources," Huntsman told Esquire as part of a long profile in its August issue. "It's a tribal state, and it always will be. Whether we like it or not, whenever we withdraw from Afghanistan, whether it's now or years from now, we'll have an incendiary situation... Should we stay and play traffic cop? I don't think that serves our strategic interests."

Huntsman also said that he wouldn't have intervened in Libya - "We just can't afford it" - and would seek to make serious cuts in the military's budget. "If you can't find anything there to cut, you're not looking hard enough."

Political junkies will also relish some juicy quotes in the piece from former-McCain-adviser-turned-Huntsman-right-hand John Weaver, who calls the current GOP field “the weakest since 1940.”

Weaver also has choice words for former Gov. Mitt Romney (“What version are we on now? Mitt 5.0? 6.0?”) and former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (“there's nothing worse than seeing a nice guy pretend that he's angry.”)

Read the post from Chris Jones’ piece here.