By Keith Ellison, Special to CNN
(CNN) -- One year ago, the enemy that had haunted America for nearly a decade met his end in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
Osama bin Laden is no longer a threat to the United States because of President Obama's leadership and strong national security policies. Good intelligence practices and surgical counterterrorism operations enabled us to kill 20 of al Qaeda's top 30 leaders, including bin Laden. This is an accomplishment by any measure.
We have diminished al Qaeda's strength, so for the sake of our economic and national security, we should decrease our military presence and bring our troops home from Afghanistan as soon as is safely possible.
The American people agree. According to the latest New York Times/CBS poll, more than two-thirds of Americans think that the United States should no longer be at war in Afghanistan.
The president's plan started by withdrawing 10,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan between June and December 2011. The 33,000 "surge" troops assigned in 2009 are scheduled to leave Afghanistan by this summer. We will continue the troop drawdown until 2014 when, if all goes according to plan, a strengthened Afghan force and NATO troops will maintain peace.
But with our core mission of decimating al Qaeda in Afghanistan accomplished, is the continuing military presence until 2014 worth the cost? More than 1,900 Americans have died in Afghanistan, and more than 15,000 have been wounded. Attacks with improvised explosive devices increased last year and have caused a surge in double amputees. A recent study found that one in four Afghanistan and Iraq veterans were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder between 2004 and 2009.
Unlike the United States' adversaries of the 20th century, al Qaeda is a mobile force that is not confined by borders. According to CIA reports, in 2010 there were fewer than 100 al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan. Clearly this small number does not warrant our large-scale troop presence there, which peaked at 100,000 last year.
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