Former Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) revisited his opposition to keeping a U.S. military presence in Afghanistan during the panel discussion on Real Time with Bill Maher on Friday.
"They say, 'We have to stay in Afghanistan even though [Osama] bin Laden is dead because we have to keep it from being a haven for terrorists,'" Frank told Maher and his fellow panelists. "But if it's not Afghanistan, it'll be Somalia, or it'll be Mali. We can't plug every rat hole in the world. What we can do is protect ourselves at home."
Therefore, Frank argued, having a Department of Homeland Security added political value for some because it allows the country to spend money on concerns in the U.S. while saving money on foreign policy.
"But you know better than anyone, no program we start ever ends," Maher countered. "We still have 50,000 troops in Germany. Is Hitler a threat?"
"They were there for [Joseph] Stalin," Frank responded. "Be fair."
"They were there for Stalin," Maher agreed. "Who died in 1953."
Activist Alexis Goldstein pointed out that pulling American military forces out of Afghanistan also meant cutting the profit margins for what she called "private interests" in the region.
"As we pull out of Afghanistan, they come home and they start to say, 'You need to have surveillance at home,'" Goldstein said. "They need to feed the profit mode."
Business Insider political editor Josh Barro did push back against Frank's point, though, arguing that Homeland Security should be dismantled because of a decreased risk of Americans actually dying from terrorist-related actions.
"Whenever you create a department like this, you don't just create a bureaucracy," Barro told Maher. "You create an internal lobby in the government for doing more things on this."
Watch the discussion, posted online by CoffeeAndNews32 on Friday, below.