The Senate sent a strong message to the President yesterday. It’s a message that folks in the Daily Kos Community and my constituents in Oregon have known for quite a while:
It’s time to end this war in Afghanistan and bring our sons and daughters home.
Yesterday, the Senate approved my bipartisan amendment to the Defense Authorization bill that would require the President to put forward a plan to expedite the draw-down of combat troops.
It was an historic moment. Never before has the U.S. Senate urged the President to speed up the process of bringing our troops home. The last similar amendment, in 2010, garnered only 18 votes. This year in June, 27 Senators signed on to a letter asking the President to draw down troops. The tide is turning.
It’s turning because we have achieved our two main and original objectives in Afghanistan: destroying al Qaeda’s safe haven and bringing to justice those responsible for 9-11.
It’s turning because people know that this nation-building effort in Afghanistan is taking an enormous and unacceptable toll on the lives and injuries of our young men and women in uniform.
Its turning because people know that the $10 billion a month consumed by this mission can be better spent countering terrorist groups wherever in the world they may be, investing in our crumbling infrastructure here at home, and reducing the deficit.
This nation-building mission, despite the use of tremendous resources, has had very limited success. It is undermined by vast corruption, sky-high illiteracy, and tribal and ethnic divisions that go back centuries. Moreover, there is a deep cultural aversion to a strong central government.
Like most Oregonians I talk to, I think it’s about time we do whole lot less nation-building abroad, and a whole lot more nation-building at home.
I’m glad the Senate heeded the call. The job is not done, however, until our servicemen and women are safe at home with their families.
Thank you for all your efforts in this battle. And thank you to Council for a Livable World, Moveon.org, Just Foreign Policy, Win without War, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Peace Action West, and many other groups for the calls and emails in support of this effort. Yesterday’s vote shows that a smart, engaged, fierce grassroots effort can make a difference.