We are facing huge long-term problems: a real unemployment rate of 18%, dysfunctional banks that are "too big to fail", a regressive tax structure that's stifling economic growth, prisons that are bursting at the seams, urban schools that are struggling, a health care system that still needs major reform, the lack of a coherent national energy policy that will protect our economy and the environment, and a government that has been encroaching on our civil liberties. For decades we have lived with irresponsible public policies from career politicians in Congress who care more about increasing their party’s power and getting re-elected than they care about solving long-term problems. They haven’t been honest with us, and they have been lousy public servants.

I’m different. I do not want to be a career politician. I am not a Democrat or a Republican. I’m a Problem Solver. I want to force members of Congress to be responsible, and implement sustainable solutions to real problems. Please read the positions I present on this website, and spread the word to friends and family.

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Monday, August 17, 2009


Please view my most recent statement on Afghanistan, from my monthly television show, taped in January 2010:

Here's what I wrote in August 2009:
I supported the invasion of Afghanistan, as long as we also commited the resources necessary to build the infrastructure that a new government would need to be successful, and to win the hearts and minds of the people. Unfortunately, we did not do so. Please read what I posted in 2006 for more details:


I strongly opposed the invasion of Iraq. Please read what I posted in 2006 for more details:


What about the present? Given the situation now in Iraq, I think our military commandeers are following a prudent course of action. We should continue to withdraw troops and allow the Iraq military and police to take over security in the country, with a goal of extracting a large majority of our troops from Iraq as soon as we can. I believe the military has done an excellent job in an extremely difficult situation that was created by incompetent politicians and appointees.

It is extremely important that we work with Pakistan to have an effective regional strategy for fighting the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. We also need to provide an economic alternative for Afghanistan's population. Many enemy combatants are fighting only because they are being paid (we learned this lesson in Iraq). It is important to help develop an economy in Afghanistan that provides a way to make a living without fighting for a terrorist organization. One way we can do this is by purchasing the poppy crops that Afghanis grow. (The U.S. currently purchases poppies from China to manufacture medication.) This would also remove a source of income from the Taliban.

The recent NATO counterinsurgency (COIN) report to the Pentagon makes it clear to me that military action in the remote parts of Afghanistan is not the answer. We should change to a strategy of economic development, training Afghani security forces, and providing security for major population centers, while beginning to reduce the number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

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John Mertens for U.S. Senate
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