Thank you Congresswoman for saying what every elected Democrat should be saying:
|Mr. Speaker, since the House last convened in late September, about 30 more Americans have given their lives in the war in Afghanistan. The total number of fatalities has now passed 2,000. And as of October 7, we've been at war in Afghanistan for a staggering 11 years. There are more than 2,000 families that will have an empty chair this Thanksgiving, more than 2,000 families with a void that can't possibly be filled--husbands and wives who will have to go on without their life partner, children missing a parent, parents who are suffering the terrible grief of losing a child.
The human cost has become too steep for our Nation to bear. We can't ask our troops and their families to endure any more sacrifice for a military occupation--now more than a decade old--which has not accomplished its goals and is undermining our national security as well.
And of course, the fiscal burden is one that rests on the shoulders of every single taxpaying American. The Afghanistan price tag would be high even for a successful, well-executed policy that was actually making America stronger. But to waste the people's money to the tune of $10 billion a month on this failure is a national scandal.
To every one of my colleagues who has spoken on this floor about excessive government spending, it's time to look at the cost of foreign wars before we start cutting domestic programs that our very own people need to survive.
It's not just progressives like me who believe we need a change in policy, Mr. Speaker. There is a clear consensus among the American people. They agree that this military occupation is bad for America, bad for Afghanistan, and bad for the cause of peace and stability around the world. I think it was pretty telling that, during the recent campaign, even the Republican candidate for President ended up supporting a withdrawal of troops by 2014. But in my opinion, that's not nearly soon enough.
Now that the Presidential campaign is over, we must accelerate that timetable and end this war as soon as is safely possible because every remaining day that we have troops on the ground is another day that gives strength to the very extremists that we're trying to defeat.
The time has come to invest in Afghanistan the right way, with humanitarian aid and civilian support rather than military force. It's time for a SMART Security approach that puts development and diplomacy first—not just in Afghanistan but throughout the developing world and in other nations where terrorism poses a threat. It's not only the right thing to do, Mr. Speaker; it's the most cost-effective way as well. It's pennies on the dollar to invest in humanitarian support for nations rather than military involvement.
On Sunday, many of us took part in Veterans Day parades back in our home districts. In doing so, we heard expressed that our Nation is so grateful for the service of these men and women, those who left their families and their communities to serve their country. I bow to no one in my respect for our veterans and those currently deployed overseas. But I believe the best way for us to support them right now and the best way to honor American values is to end the war in Afghanistan and bring our troops home.
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2004—Santorum's Dilemma:
|Don't shed any tears, but Rick Santorum has a problem. Not a huge one, but it seems his never-satisfied conservative constituency is a might peeved at him for supporting the toothless Arlen Specter for Judiciary Committee chair.
"I think Santorum has really injured himself here," said the Rev. Patrick Mahoney, head of the Christian Defense Coalition. "I view Senator Santorum as trying to find refuge in a political firestorm, and he's doing what is so common among Washington politicians, which is ... sticking his finger up and seeing which way the wind is going to blow."
Santorum's term expires in 2006, and Mahoney said a group of conservative activists have scheduled a weekend meeting in Pennsylvania to discuss the feasibility of mounting a primary challenge to him, possibly by appealing to Toomey to run. Toomey's spokesman, Joe Sterns, said he had no knowledge of any such plan.
"They've been mad for quite awhile, and I don't think the senator has done any outreach in the conservative wing of the party," said Bill Green, a Republican political consultant in Pittsburgh.
"He's on the ballot in two years and I'm sure the Santorum people are going to say, `Where else are those people going to go, they're always going to be with us.' But I don't think he wants to go through a baptism of fire," said Green, who added he believes the senator has White House ambitions for 2008.
On today's Kagro in the Morning show, Greg Dworkin stopped by to discuss the impact of the competing schools of Republican Crazy that threaten to pull their already shrinking coalition apart. Then, we reviewed a lost gem of the Internet: a 2001 Heritage Foundation analysis of the Bush tax cuts, which predicted the elimination of the national debt by 2010! It didn't work, but probably only because they weren't conservative enough, or something like that. Finally, a look at the Hostess situation, reading the excellent diary by bluebarnstormer.
Annoymoose hacked NASA's PR office Tuesday and exposed the secret "earthshaking" discovery the agency will soon officially reveal to the entire world.