Rep. Mark Udall just returned from a trip to Afghanistan. What he took back: We need more combat troops in Afghanistan and fewer in Iraq.

Clearly, al-Qaida, because of the sanctuary it has in Pakistan, is doing everything it can to rebuild itself,” Udall said. “We have to prevent that from happening. We still have a job to finish, and that is to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, and, frankly, his chief lieutenant.”

Udall says Afghanistan is “front and center” in the war on terror. How long will our troops be there, if the plan gets implemented?

Udall, D-Colo., said he cannot define a specific timeframe for how long troops will be needed in Afghanistan. He said Afghan leaders hope for a heightened presence for about five years, but some troop presence might be needed far longer.

“I think we owe it to the people in Afghanistan – and we also owe it to ourselves – to create a more stable Afghanistan,” he said. “I do not think this will be a short-term project.”

Personally, I’m not inclined to trade one war for another. True, it was President Bush’s job to get Osama bin Laden and he’s failed. But, part of me says the war was a failure and going from Iraq to Afghanistan will just increase the number of casualties.

As usual, it all comes down to drugs:

Udall said the Afghan government is making strides in recruiting troops into the military, but has been less successful in recruitment into the ranks of its police force, which has a reputation for corruption.

He said he is worried about the level of poppy cultivation for heroin and other opiates, noting that farmers are being strong-armed by Taliban leaders, who are selling drugs to finance their operations.

Whether its Colombia and the coca farmers or the Taliban and the poppy farmers, I just don’t see it being our business to initiate another pre-emptive war.

Our Democratic elected officials need to get a reality check and chat with their constituents. Most don’t want any more war. We want peace. We want the money being spent on war diverted to spending on health care, education, fixing the foreclosure mess, and on and on.

We’ve had enough of war and lost life. It’s been 7 years since the last attack. Maybe al Qaeda isn’t capable of rising again to a position where it could cause mass damage in the United States. And if it is, why aren’t we trying diplomacy first?

While I appreciate Rep. Udall’s efforts, I’m not in favor of starting another war. Especially one that is 8 years too late.