“Our responsibility to our men and women in uniform in Afghanistan is as important as ever,” said Lee. “As Pentagon military advisors prepare to present President Obama with a set of recommendations for U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, we owe it to our troops to earnestly deliberate our defense policies.
“Now that the President has accomplished every goal that was originally set in Afghanistan and it is widely accepted that there is no military solution in the country, it is time to bring home our brave men and women in uniform and transition to full Afghan control. After 10 years and $600 billion invested in an unstable country, it is past time to end this war. This war has taken the lives of more than 2,000 members of the armed services and wounded another 18,000. Our troops have done everything we have asked of them, but they cannot be tasked with building up a modern nation state. It is time to bring our troops and tax dollars home.
“We have an opportunity to ensure that our brave troops are brought home in a swift and responsible manner so that we can create jobs and engage in nation-building here at home. The overwhelming majority of Americans, both Republicans and Democrats, believe it is time to bring a responsible end to the war in Afghanistan.”
Follow Barbara Lee on Twitter@RepBarbaraLee
December 5, 2012
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Obama:
Your military advisors will soon be providing you with a set of military options in Afghanistan. We are writing to urge you to pursue a strategy in Afghanistan that best serves the interests of the American people and our brave troops on the ground. That strategy is simple: an accelerated withdrawal to bring to an end the decade-long war as soon as can safely and responsibly be accomplished.
After 10 years and almost $600 billion spent, over 2,000 American lives lost, and 18,000 wounded - it is time to accelerate the transition to full Afghan control. While NATO and Afghan National Security Forces have made considerable strides, no military strategy exists and morale has been undermined by the proliferation of “Green on Blue” attacks. Sixty coalition soldiers have been killed this year alone by their Afghan allies. To quote a former Commandant of the Marine Corps, “When our friends turn out to be our enemy, it is time to pull the plug.”
This is one issue that overwhelmingly unifies Americans: the desire to bring the war in Afghanistan to an accelerated close. Polls show over two-thirds of Americans, on a bipartisan basis, believe it is past time to end our combat role and bring the troops home.
We write to request that you respond to the consensus amongst military experts, diplomats, and the American people. It is time to announce an accelerated transition of security responsibility to the Afghan government and to bring our troops home as soon as can be safely and responsibly accomplished.
Al Qaeda’s presence has been greatly diminished and Osama bin Laden is no longer a threat to the United States. There can be no military solution in Afghanistan. It is past time for the United States to allow the Afghanistan government to assume responsibility for its own security.
While many of us would prefer an immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan starting today, there is broad recognition that the primary objectives have been completed. We also would like to remind you that any long term security agreement committing U.S. troops to the defense of Afghanistan must have congressional approval to be binding. In addition, we would like to request a meeting to discuss these issues directly with you and your staff.
We look forward to working with you.
Members of Congress