Rep. George Miller (D-CA) voted today to end funding for the war in Afghanistan.
Miller joined Bay Area Reps. Barbara Lee, Pete Stark and others in voting for Lee's amendment that would deny additional funds for the war in Afghanistan except for money that would be needed to ensure the safety of troops in the field as they are preparing to redeploy.
Regrettably, the amendment -- offered to a supplemental appropriations bill for war funding and domestic emergency funding -- was defeated by a vote of 323 to 100.
Miller, a long-time critic of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, said continuing the war in Afghanistan cannot be justified. He issued the following statement after the vote.
"The war in Afghanistan is now the longest war in American history -- longer than the Vietnam War. President Obama put a great deal of effort into reevaluating U.S. strategy in Afghanistan when he came into office, for which I applaud him. And I was pleased that he set forth a timeline for beginning to draw down American forces there. Yet, I still believe that we are on the wrong course there and that it is time to end American involvement in the morass in Afghanistan and put Afghans in charge of their own country.
"This war has taken too many American service men and women's lives and has cost the taxpayers an unconscionable and unaffordable amount. And still, the policy is not working.
"Based on my own travels to the region and the numerous briefings I have received in Washington, it is clear that wide-ranging difficulties remain for the United States in Afghanistan and Pakistan and that the solution to these challenges in the region cannot be achieved through the use of military force alone.
"Unfortunately, our effort there continues to be all too dependent on the military as the vehicle to create stability in the region. This is especially problematic because we are not receiving adequate support from other countries in the region or with longstanding relationships with Afghanistan -- like Pakistan, Russia, China, India, and others -- which means that American troops are essentially left to go it alone. And this policy is not working.
"Moreover, Congress recently learned that billions of dollars in American funds are being used to fund warlords who are actively working to destabilize the very same Afghan government that the U.S. is dependent upon to help create stability, while some funds may even be being used to provide funding for the Taliban, against whom our forces are in battle.
"Meanwhile, America's ally in Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, oversees an Administration rife with corruption and has continued to alienate the United States at the same time that our Administration is trying to save his country. In fact, President Karzai is negotiating with the Taliban and other extremist groups as American soldiers continue to fight those very same groups. And there are reports that Pakistan is negotiating with Taliban. This, while American troops are dying. Undermining our troops in this manner is outrageous.
"Most recently, we learned that Afghanistan is as dangerous as ever, with over 100 NATO coalition service members killed in Afghanistan in June alone, including a record 59 Americans. Americans should not be asked to give one more proud life nor one more precious dollar for this war.
"We must change course -- we can no longer leave our troops in harm's way while the military effort there is not moving forward toward a successful conclusion of the war. That's why I voted today to end funding for the war, except to provide the funds necessary to keep our troops safe as we redeploy them rapidly and responsibly. While I am disappointed that we did not prevail on this vote, I will keep pushing to ensure that we bring this war to as expeditious conclusion as possible."