Turning Point In War On Terrorism
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Mr. ROONEY. Thank you, Mr. Hunter.
Just last week, myself, along with Mr. Hunter from California, sent a letter to the President asking him to take seriously the request of General McChrystal, the commander in Afghanistan; ask McChrystal to come to this body and address the Congress--or at least address the Armed Services Committee, of which I am a member--to let us know what his plan is in a very specific and detailed manner so that we can ask the tough questions, that we can do the people's work and to look out for our men and women serving in uniform.
Along with many members of the freshman class, that letter was sent last week, and along with many other letters sent to the President, along with letters sent to my office, phone calls asking me to support our troops, support the generals on the ground, support our military chain of command and to do the right thing in Afghanistan. And that's to give us a chance to win where we know that we can win.
The United States versus the Taliban. Think about that for a second. The United States versus the Taliban. And what the questions are and what we have to do. As Sun Tzu said, Don't go to war until you know you can win; and when you go to war, know that you've already won it.
So what General McChrystal is asking the President to do quite simply is three things to win the war in Afghanistan: First, give us a surge in troops more than the troops that we've already approved--at least 43,000 more troops--to be able to secure the towns and villages and cities so that people feel safe, so that people come out of the woodwork and the intimidation of the Taliban and can feel that they can trust the Americans and our allies, that we're not going to leave, that we're going to stand by them and stand by for the people's rights and freedom in Afghanistan.
This has been an issue of a lot of contention and, quite frankly and unfortunately, politics, not only here in the House but between the two parties and across this great country. The second thing is to integrate with the Afghan people. It's going to be risky. We are going to have to come out from behind the walls, out of the Bradleys, come down from the turrets in the Humvees and really do a much better job of winning the hearts and minds of the Afghan people.
It's going to open us up to risk, and it's going to up us up to harm's way, quite frankly. But I think General McChrystal understands that it's going to take some sacrifice; it's going to take making the risks and the hard decisions to be able to accomplish this goal. Because, on the other hand, you have the Taliban, which operates under intimidation, operates under violence and threats that, if you cooperate with the Americans, we won't forget it and you will be punished, and there will be recourse for the things that you have done to cooperate with the enemy, in that case, us, the United States.
The third thing that General McChrystal asks of the Commander in Chief is to help end the corruption in Afghanistan politically. This is the hardest of the three prongs and I think the most important. The local governments, the regional governments and the central national government have a long, long way to go in ending what has been a long string of corruption in Afghanistan. That's going to be the most difficult aspect of General McChrystal's request. But, again, we have the best team in place.
The President, to his credit, has assembled the finest military and civilian defense staff that, as a former Army captain, I could possibly ask for, Secretary Gates, Jim Jones, General Petraeus, even General Shinseki being on the cabinet, even though he's with the Veterans Administration, just an outstanding dream team of military brass. We have the best team in place.
I urge the President to listen to them, take their counsel, do the right thing in Afghanistan, finish the job that we started there. Whether or not it was neglected, whatever argument you want to make, starting from today on, for the kids that are there now, that are manning a post, that are out there alone and cold and homesick and undermanned, let's do the right thing and send a message to the world that the United States of America will stand up for freedom across this great planet of ours and stand by where freedom wants to ring out.
And I believe it does, and I believe it will; and we should not let politics play a role in this, and let the generals on the ground do their job, and then support the President once he makes that decision.
Thank you, Mr. Hunter and Madam Speaker.
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