September 6th, 2011 | by NIGEL JAQUISS News | Posted In: Media, Politics, Transportation

Avakian Misplaces Afghanistan

Brad Avakain

Over the weekend, the Associated Press ran a long profile of Bureau of Labor and Industries Commissioner Brad Avakian, who is one of three candidates to replace U.S. Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.) in the November 8 First Congressional District Democratic Primary (Avakian faces State Sen. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Beaverton) and State Rep. Brad Witt (D-Clatskanie)).

The profile provided a useful introduction for voters who may not be familiar with the BOLI Commissioner, who previously served in the Oregon Senate and House from 2003 through 2008.

But one section may provide a teachable moment for geography students this week: Avakian's comments on bringing troops home from Afghanistan.

Avakian wants, for instance, to immediately end the war in Afghanistan and use the money to hire many of the 14 million out-of-work Americans to build new bridges, and upgrade airports and railways. "I would take every available aircraft carrier we have, I would send them to the Middle East, I would load up our troops immediately and bring them home," Avakian said.
There are two problems with that aim: first, the Central Intelligence Agency and other official sources refer to Afghanistan as being in South Asia, not "the Middle East." Second, Afghanistan is landlocked, which reduces the utility of aircraft carriers.

Avakian's spokeswoman, Katie Burnham, says Avakian knows where Afghanistan is. His comments, she says were meant to underscore his desire to bring troops home right way, rather than describing the specifics of how it should be done.

"It was more about the sentiment that we have the capabilities for an immediate withdrawal," Burnham says.

Ballots for the November 8th special election will be mailed Oct. 21.
 
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