by Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich
Washington, Mar 9, 2011
Representatives Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Walter Jones (R-NC) and eight others today introduced a bipartisan, privileged resolution, House Concurrent Resolution 28, which, if enacted, would require the President to withdraw all U.S. Armed Forces from Afghanistan by the end of 2011.
The bill is cosponsored by Representatives Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Walter Jones (R-NC), Pete Stark (D-CA), Ron Paul (R-TX), Bob Filner (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Michael Honda (D-CA), Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), Keith Ellison (DFL-MN) and John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI).
Read Kucinich’s prepared remarks from a press conference announcing the resolution here. [see below.]
Following the press conference, Kucinich immediately took to the House floor to call upon his colleagues to support the resolution. See video of his address here. [see video below.] His statement from the floor follows:
“Today a bipartisan coalition of Members of Congress has introduced a privileged resolution calling for a vote in this congress to end the war in Afghanistan.
“More than 60% of the American people want us out of there. This war is already approaching a cost of a half a trillion dollars. We have Americans who are losing their jobs; their wages are being knocked down. We have Americans losing their homes, losing their retirement security; they can’t send their kids to colleges they want. And we are spending all this money on a war that is a waste of time, money, blood, and treasure to try to prop up a corrupt regime in Afghanistan.
“Now, our occupation over there is fueled an insurgency. It’s time for this Congress to take the Constitutional responsibility under Article 1, Section 8. We haven’t done that with respect to Afghanistan. It’s time for us to do that. Let’s have an up or down vote. That’s what this resolution is about. I urge all Members of Congress to consider supporting the privileged resolution that ends the war in Afghanistan.”
Statement Upon the Introduction of War Powers Resolution on Afghanistan
by Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich
Washington, Mar 9, 2011
Statement of Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich
Introduction of War Powers Resolution on Afghanistan
March 9, 2011
Last week, nine Afghan children between the ages of nine and fifteen were killed by a NATO strike after being mistaken for insurgents. General Petraeus issued an apology and promised to investigate the killings. According to The New York Times, news of their deaths sparked anti-U.S. protests. They were killed in the Pech Valley, an area of Afghanistan once considered vital to U.S. military strategy. But now the U.S. military will soon be withdrawing from after realizing that our presence was destabilizing the area. Today we intend to introduce legislation that invokes the War Powers Resolution of 1973, which, if enacted, would require the President to withdraw U.S. Armed Forces out of Afghanistan by December 31, 2011.
We can no longer ignore such incidents as just a part of the reality of war. It is also clear that our country can no longer afford the human, financial or economic cost of the wars we have been engaged in for the last decade.
As we approach the one-year anniversary of the commitment of an additional 30,000 troops and over $36 billion to the surge in Afghanistan, the Administration is assuring us of progress at the same time that it continues to push the withdrawal date further back.
We have been asked this Congress to support cuts to vital social service programs our constituents depend on, such as the Community Development Block Grants, the WIC program which provides low-income expecting mothers and infants with proper nutrition, and vital job training programs at time when there are nearly 5 eligible workers for every job opening in this country. The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation estimates that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan cost the average American family of four almost $13,000 last year. Yet completely absent from the debate on fiscal responsibility is the cost of the wars our nation is waging abroad.
According to the Congressional Research Service, the war in Afghanistan has cost us over $455 billion to date. This cost does not include the billions in long-term funding that will be needed to provide returning veterans with the benefits and care they will require. On Monday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates stated, without specifics, that the U.S. is “well positioned” to begin withdrawing troops in July but committed the country to at least another 3 years in Afghanistan.
Desperately needed unemployment benefits were filibustered last year because the costs to provide them were not offset with spending cuts or revenue increases. But we are not required to offset the costs of war, even when the war is completely funded by borrowed money – money we have to pay back with interest.
We are told we should cut funding for assistance to low-income families with one hand, while with the other hand tens of billions of dollars are approved for a war that does nothing to further our national security. U.S. aid is being spent to prop up a corrupt central government, while the Afghan people experience high rates of poverty and displacement. We cannot claim to be negotiating with the Taliban, while at the same time conducting air strikes and night raids to take out Taliban strongholds across the country. This is not about the deficit or austerity. This is about priorities.
If we were to withdraw 50,000 troops from Afghanistan by July, we would save $25 billion by the end of the year, $75 billion by the end of 2012 and $175 million by the end of 2014.
The events transpiring across the Middle East have demonstrated that U.S. backing of antidemocratic and authoritarian regimes – some of them our allies in the supposed “Global War on Terror” – brings less stability to the region, not more. It also demonstrates that democratic movements can flourish in the region without our interference and without our help. These significant events demand of us a new direction in our foreign policy.
The American people are being asked to shoulder the costs for wars that undermine our national, moral and economic security and opposition is growing. We must ask ourselves whose nation we are building when we ask people here at home to give up benefits they have earned in order to nation-build abroad.
If we accept the premise that we need to stay in Afghanistan until the Taliban is eradicated, we will be there forever. The realization that our presence in the Pech Valley was destabilizing is one that applies to our presence across the country. Pech Valley is becoming less like the exception and more like the rule. The Taliban is only a threat to us as long as we are occupying Afghanistan. It is time to end this war.
Kucinich Announces Privileged Resolution to End the War in Afghanistan
DJKucinich on Mar 9, 2011
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