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National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010

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Location: Washington, DC


NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2010 -- (House of Representatives - June 25, 2009)

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Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Thank you so much, the gentleman from California. I rise in strong opposition to the amendment on Afghanistan offered by the gentleman from Massachusetts, my friend, Mr. McGovern.

In late March of this year, the President announced his comprehensive outline for Afghanistan and Pakistan, highlighting the threat to critical U.S. security interests that would arise should al Qaeda and the Taliban reclaim or establish safe havens in those countries. The President clearly outlined our goals to disrupt, to dismantle, and to defeat al Qaeda. I agree with him on those goals. But success requires a sustained commitment and sustained support for both the mission and the brave Americans and Afghanis carrying it out.

Our strategy is meeting with success, yet the McGovern amendment is already looking for an exit strategy. This amendment sends a terrible message about U.S. resolve to both friends and foes alike.

And we're not alone in this concern. It's precisely why the Obama administration also opposes the McGovern amendment, stating that the McGovern amendment, ``would demonstrate a lack of commitment to the new strategy, it will signal to our Afghan partners that the U.S. presence and efforts in country are fleeting, and it demonstrates to al Qaeda that we are not intending to see this new strategy through.''

It could hamper U.S. strategic goals in the entire region. Rather than focusing on an exit strategy, we should instead be focused on working with the Obama administration to provide the necessary flexibility to craft policies that offer the best chance of success, while ensuring congressional consultation and congressional notification.

The underlying bill provides this balance. And that's why Chairman Skelton, Ranking Member McKeon, Chairman Berman and I ask our colleagues to support U.S. efforts in Afghanistan and oppose the McGovern amendment.

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